DON'T avoid flying on the actual holiday.

 

 

Changing your departure or return date by one day can save major cash. The biggest savings typically come with flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. The exception is if you're traveling over a three-day weekend around Labor Day or Memorial Day. Then, everyone is looking to fly on the actual holiday, so that's the perfect time to try and extend your vacation by a day.

 

 

 

 

DO jump on a hot fare when you see it.
 

Airlines are required by the DOT to offer 24-hour free hold or cancellations as long as you are booking your ticket 7 days prior to your travel date. Typically, you'll have to pay first, then you get the full refund. The only exception is American Airlines, which is transitioning to this policy, but still offers a free hold for 24 hours. The other big exception to note is that you have to book with the airline directly. This rule doesn't apply if you book your ticket with an OTA (online travel agency), like Expedia or Orbitz.

 

 

 

DO know when to be loyal and when to compare.

 

Keep a loyal rewards membership with favorite airlines to rack up points when it makes sense. Sometimes, it's worth it to book a slightly more expensive ticket when it earns you points. Many airline credit cards offer generous sign-up bonuses that are enough for a free flight, not to mention perks like priority boarding, free checked luggage and more. But, to make an informed decision, it pays to compare all available fares before booking.