Booking travel is so easy to do, yet all too often we wind up spending more than we wanted.
Thank fee-happy airlines for that— there's no limit to what they'll charge for, from meals to checked bags and flimsy pillows.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airlines made $3.3 billion in baggage fees alone in 2011.
With summer travel season in full swing, we've rounded up the best money-saving tips out there.
Check Twitter and Facebook
Airlines have been experimenting with blasting fares via social media, especially Jet Blue, reports the AP. But you have to be fast: Some deals can be gone within hours.
"If you find something, jump on it," says John DiScala, who travels frequently and writes baout it at JohnnyJet.com.
Some airlines announce special sales to Facebook fans as well.
Become a frequent flier
It pays to cozy up to your airline of choice.
Become an elite member of the airline's frequent-flier program or use a credit card that's tied to the airline says U.S. News' Daniel Bortz.
Likewise, if you're using a credit card that offers rewards, check to see if those rewards or travel gift cards, suggests Ask Mr. Credit Card.
Sign up for free alerts from AirfareWatchdog.com
With this site, you'll get pinged when prices fall and receive some excellent deals. The site uses real people to vet the deals rather than computers, so you're bound to turn up some offerings you wouldn't have found otherwise.
Says founder George Hobia: "We only send updates when we think we've found a good deal, whereas other sites might update you when a flight drops $2."
Use FlightFox to search for special fares
Much in the way AirfareWatchdog relies on a travel agent to sniff out the best deals, (called "flight hackers") to do the hard work for you.
It only costs $29 and the fee is fully refundable, according to the site's front page.
You can even rattle off a list of specific demands that a computer can't check, or travel novices wouldn't include to refine your search, says Money Talks News' Brandon Ballenger.
Park and fly
Some airlines have a monopoly on airports, allowing them to charge more, says the AP.
To counter this, check fares at airports 50, 75 or 100 miles from your destination. The car rental and extra travel time may be worth it.
Search the actual airline's site
This is an oft-overlooked tip, but one well worth repeating.
Airlines can host private sales, reserving the cream of the crop for their very own websites, says Bortz.
Even without discounts, these fares can be bargain bin-low.