Tips to save time and money this summer

Forget about finding the “best time to book fares” this summer. Here are some tips for saving time and money.

• It’s best to check frequently on different days, and flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays hasn’t changed. It’s often cheaper on those days.

• Take advantage of the airlines’ 24-hour cancellation policy; you can lock in a price but search for a better deal.

• If you find a round-trip price for $300 or less, except to closer, competitive destinations such as Chicago, book it.

• Sign up for e-mail or Twitter alerts for fare sales.

• Fly after Aug. 25 to save up to 20 percent as demand dwindles.

• Bundle the flight with a car rental and/or hotel in a package deal.

• Book one month to three months out. Try Kayak.com for a price-trend graph showing price trends and the best time to buy.

• Consider paying a little more for a nonstop flight rather than a connecting one; full planes make it harder to rebook missed connecting flights.

• Check Southwest.com separately when comparing prices. Its prices are not followed by aggregators such as Orbitz.

Sources: Travel experts Christopher Elliott, George Hobica, Chris McGinnis and Carlson Wagonlit Travel

John Ewoldt