Part of the fun, and challenge, of a vacation to Hawaii is planning your trip. For many, the hardest and scariest part of all is figuring how to book your airfare.
Booking your own airfare can, if done carefully, save yourself some money that you can, and likely will, use elsewhere on your trip.
Here are my thoughts on how you should approach booking your airfare to Hawaii.
- Coordinate the availability of your lodging with the best airfare deals you can find.
What this means is be as flexible as possible when it comes to the dates for your trip.
Often by flying midweek rather than on the weekend, you can save some money. Fly Mondays-Thursdays if possible to get the best airfare deals.
Also, unless you really want to be in Hawaii for the major holidays, you will want to avoid those peak travel dates.
- The earlier you book ahead the better the chance that you will find a lower price for the dates you wish to travel. Generally this is a good rule of thumb.
I still suggest checking the airfare for at least a week or two before booking to see which days work best during the time of year that you are flying.
- Check the websites of the major airlines and play around with their Quick Fare Finders trying different dates and times.
Unless you are set on flying with one carrier (such as being a member of their frequent flier plans) be flexible on your choice of airline.
Don’t reject the idea of using a travel agent. In many cases they have deals that you don’t know about and by booking airfare and hotel together they can save you considerable money.
- Pick your seat using the available seating charts. This is becoming even more important as several airlines begin to charge different fares for aisle seats versus window seats etc. It’s also your chance to elect a seat with more legroom – for an added cost.
- Avoid booking your flight by phone with the airline. You’ll pay more for this service. If, however, you must be sure to follow along on the Internet as they book your flight just as you have selected. Too often they make mistakes.
- Check prices for your flight to Hawaii with TripAdvisor.
- If you have sufficient frequent flier miles consider using them for your Hawaii trip. If you are lucky to find a saver award for your trip, you can make great use of those miles that you have been saving for years.
Keep in mind, however, that a travel agent cannot book trips using frequent flier miles.
- Remember to also book your inter-island airfare if you are planning to visit more than one island. Depending upon the carrier on which you have your miles, you may also use frequent flier miles for inter-island airfare as well on Hawaiian Airlines.
- Hawaii is one of the world's most popular destinations in the world. Plan well ahead. (But also, keep your eye out for those last minute deals if your travel dates are totally flexible.)
- Unless you're using frequent flier miles, be flexible as to which airline you fly on.
- Use frequent flier miles when possible to save money that you can use to upgrade your lodging or use for some of the many activities you’ll want to enjoy in Hawaii.