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Some tips to save a few bucks on costly summer travel plans

Whether it’s the major airlines or the federal government to blame for the high cost of travel — there is no disputing that getting on a plane in Canada can cost travellers big bucks.

A recent study by the Flight Centre suggests that some Canadians are even willing to skip rent and mortgage payments to hop on a plane this year, but there may be some less risky options to help people take that summer trip.

Omar Kaywan is a co-founder of Goose Insurance and says half of Canadians are committed to travelling this year despite the soaring costs of air travel and economic pressures many are facing.

For those who haven’t planned ahead but are still looking to take a summer trip, The Travel Lady Leslie Keyter has a few tricks up her sleeve.

She says people should make sure to take advantage of any points or Airmiles that they accumulate. Or even credit cards that give consumers companion tickets.

“That’s all going to bring the cost down,” she says.

Research shows Canadians tend to rack up travel points and hold onto them. It’s something Kaywan says can be a risky move.

“The value of those points can change at any time, so use them when you can,” he says.

Keyter also recommends skipping out on the cheapest fare and booking a flexible option instead. That way, if someone finds a cheaper ticket later, they don’t have to go through the hassle of swapping it out.

She also warns of the challenges of booking flights far in advance.

“There are so many schedule changes with flights,” she says. “Generally the airlines are pretty good with giving you options, but my recommendations is be prepared for anything.”

If you’re really flexible, you can always hop on a plane with little notice. Airlines will often drop their prices 72 hours before a flight in an effort to fill empty seats.

Summer is peak travel season and that means prices are going to be even higher. Keyter says if people are able to hold off and travel during a shoulder season they will feel much less strain on their wallets.


WATCH: WestJet’s plan to make travel more affordable


WestJet Airlines announced this week it has plans to introduce a new cheaper fare category that would be available to travellers willing to fly without a carry-on bag.

Travellers who purchase the cheapest fare will not have the option to put a bag in the overhead bins, though they will still be permitted to store a knapsack or purse underneath the seat in front of them.

Last month, the Calgary-based airline launched what it calls its “extended comfort” fare category, which offers passengers access to a number of perks — including preferential access to overhead bins.

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