If you're wondering what the answers were to the "2020" Smart Traveler Quiz, read on. The truths, and myths, may surprise you!
1. Coach class fares are always cheaper than first class.
There are more than 100,000 discounted first class airfares available, and many times they can be cheaper than coach. Prices can be down to $300 for roundtrip first class travel.
"There's this myth that first class is $1,500, $2,000 round trip. I just got through publishing up on my blog a $500 round trip, first class on Northwest from Dallas to New York City," said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, a Web site that helps people find travel deals.
So first class tickets don't have to bust your vacation budget. The problem is that most passengers don't even bother to check the first-class box when shopping for tickets, thinking that they're unaffordable.
These tickets can actually be booked well in advance or at the last minute. And for business travelers, these discounted first class tickets have an added benefit.
"The code looks like a coach class ticket, so it gets past the corporate policies for no flying in first class. But it's actually booked in the first class cabin," Seaney said.
2. Waiting for last-minute deals is a good idea.
"For the bulk of people that travel, the longer you wait ... most likely you're not going to get the best price," Seaney said.
That's because most passengers who book less than two weeks before their flights are business travelers, and the airlines know these people can afford to pay a premium.
3. You don't have to book a year in advance to get the best deals.
"The best time to start shopping is about three or four months before you travel. The reason for this is that the airlines begin to start managing those fare prices," said Seaney.
"Before that time, the prices are set at a midtier level. They'll sell you those tickets all day long, because they make money on those tickets."
The only time you should be shopping for tickets way in advance is for flights on peak travel days around Christmas or Thanksgiving. Seaney advises to shop for those tickets year-round.
4. The best time to buy tickets is at midnight, when the prices are lower.
The truth is that airlines are always adjusting their ticket prices -- sometimes three times a day for domestic flights and five times a day for international flights.
"Hundreds of thousands of airfares change each day. Hundreds of thousands of seats are sold each day. And on any given day, one price could be cheaper than another," said Seaney.
An airfare at 10 a.m. can go up, or down, by hundreds of dollars just a few hours later. So tickets at midnight aren't necessarily cheaper. You can get a good price just about anytime. And when you find it, be ready to buy it.
"Airfare sales, when they do happen, tend to be early in the week," Seaney added. "And airfare increases occur at the end of the week. So actually, the best time to start shopping is Monday and Tuesday."
5.Low-cost airlines always have the lowest prices.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the budget airlines don't always have the cheapest airfares.
"The legacy airlines watch them like a hawk," said Seaney, "and they will match their prices, and a lot of times, depending on which route and flight it is, they're going to be cheaper than the low cost airlines."
6. You can save money by flying on the weekends.
Budget-conscious travelers don't have to shun weekend flights.
"Saturday is actually a great day to travel," said Seaney.
That's because the airlines have special airfares that are only good on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays -- when the number of passengers dip.
"If you can travel on those off-peak days, you will always get a better deal," he said.
For even more savings, avoid flying on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, when prices are traditionally higher.
7. You can save money with a Saturday night stayover during your trip.
Years ago, the airlines used the Saturday night stayover rule to separate vacationers from business travelers, who can often pay more for their tickets. But when the budget carriers entered the market, that rule went out the window.
"Because of low cost airlines who don't have that rule, all the legacy airlines don't have that rule anymore," said Seaney.
"So there are very few Saturday night stays. For domestic travel, you just don't see it very often."
8. Using frequent-flier miles for your dream vacation is a bad idea.
Unless you're flying to an out-of-the-way destination on an off-peak day, your vacation plans may end up being trumped by airline economics. That's because the airlines make no money on seats purchased with frequent-flier miles.
"Just look at any airplane that you've flown on in the last year. It's completely full. Where are they going to stick these frequent-flier points mileage redemptions?" said Seaney.
"Back when the planes were not full, three or four years ago, when they had extra seats to give away, they could be more judicious about giving away cheaper prices and frequent-flier points. Very difficult to do nowadays."
9. Nonstop tickets are more expensive than those with connecting flights.
For the most part, prices are not tied to whether it's a connecting or nonstop flight.
"Off-peak times, off-peak days, those will be the same price or less than connecting flights, because they will have an advantage. A nonstop flight has $20 less in taxes," said Seaney.