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How to Save on Last-Minute Flights

Booking air travel just days -- or hours -- in advance can be especially pricey Pricey

Term used for an unrealistically low bid price or unrealistically high offer price.


Of, relating to, or being an unrealistically high offer. An offer to sell a security at $50 when the current market price is $47 is pricey.
. But you can keep costs under control if you're flexible.

I had to book a last-minute flight today. A representative from Genworth Financial Genworth Financial is an international financial services organization that offers a portfolio of primarily consumer-focused products through its various companies, including annuities, combination products, investment services, life insurance, long term care insurance, medicare  reached out to me and asked if I would participate in a videotaped roundtable discussion April 26 in Washington, D.C., about long-term-care planning and caregiving. Kiplinger's headquarters are in D.C., but I live in Kentucky.

So I went to -- one of our favorite travel sites -- to see how much a flight would cost from Nashville, Tenn. (the closest city to me with an airport), to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA, FAA LID: DCA) is a public airport located three miles (5 km) south of the central business district of Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia, United States.  (the closest airport to the site of the taping). I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but I wasn't expecting $885 to be the lowest price available (on a flight with two layovers, to boot). I mean, I could fly overseas for that amount.

I wasn't ready to give up, though. So I checked flights to Baltimore Washington International Airport, which is about 45 miles away from Washington, D.C. I found nonstop flights on Delta and Southwest Airlines This article is about the American airline. For the former Japanese airline, see Japan Transocean Air. For the British airline, see Air Southwest.
Southwest Airlines Co.
 (at for about $500 -- a savings of nearly $400. I can hop on Verb 1. hop on - get up on the back of; "mount a horse"
bestride, climb on, jump on, mount up, get on, mount

move - move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion; "He moved his hand slightly to the right"
 a commuter train in Baltimore and be in D.C. in no time.

As my example shows, being flexible about which airport you fly into can help you save big. And if you were planning on renting a car anyway, driving an hour or so to get from the alternate airport to your final destination probably is worth it. (If you weren't going to rent a car but will need to if you fly into an alternate airport, make sure the cost of the rental doesn't match or exceed the cost of flying directly to your destination.)

For more tips on cutting costs on airfare, as well as lodging, cruises and vacation packages, see 20 Secrets to Save on Travel.

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Author:Cameron Huddleston, Contributing Editor,
Date:Apr 22, 2011
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