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How to find deals on summer flights | What's the Deal?

Planning and price alerts are a must when it comes to saving on summer travel.

INDIANAPOLIS — Airfare is expensive right now, with prices recently jumping almost 18% from the same time last year.

That's why planning and price alerts are a must when it comes to saving on summer travel.

While the ideal time to book a flight is three to seven months in advance, don't panic.

Katy Nastro with Going said that doesn't mean you won't be able to find a good deal on that flight you're looking to take this summer.

"It just means that there's likely less availability when it comes to cheap or great air for deals," Nastro said. 

Nastro said once you figure out the date you want to leave, count backwards 21 days and mark it on your calendar.

That is sometimes the last day for the best price because of the airline's internal mandates. 

"Then a new, cheapest flight price will take its place. But that price is typically not so cheap," Nastro said.

You also want to set airfare alerts with options including Google Flights and Hopper.

Set the dates and destination, and apps will contact you with a price drop.

"Airfare is volatile, it can change on a dime. And a cheap flight can pop up out of nowhere," Nastro said. 

Google Flights and Hopper also offer insights as to whether or not the ticket is a fair price. 

If you are on a budget and don't care where you go, Google Flights lets you search for flights leaving your airport by price.

Finally, if you fly budget airlines like Spirit, Frontier, or Allegiant, buying your tickets at the counter can save you up to $45 round trip per person. That is because those airlines charge an electronic fee. The fee is waived if you purchase the ticket at the counter. 

For example, Spirit calls it the Passenger Usage Charge, and it's up to $22.99 per segment. A round trip flight consists of two segments. 

Tickets can be bought in advance, but make sure the ticket counter is open. Ticket counters are usually two hours prior to a departure of theirs.

If you need a passport and applied right now, expect it to take around three months to process.

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