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Saving on airplane tickets means doing more than just booking early

DENVER -- While airline ticket prices are lower than they've been in the past, you’ll still shell out a pretty penny.

Airline industry expert Mike Boyd of Boyd Group International said making sure plans are solid is the key to saving money.

“Your schedule had better stick to what you're planning because a change fee can destroy your vacation,” Boyd said.

The prime booking window for domestic tickets is three weeks to 3 1/2 months in advance.

A study by Cheapair.com of more than 921 million domestic airfares also showed where passengers are flying can determine how much the ticket will cost.

“The travel market in Orlando is very different than the market to go visit mama in Spokane. Fares between points will change constantly as airlines come and go in those markets," Boyd said.

Experts say there are savings on a trip to Mexico by booking two months ahead, to the Caribbean two two three months ahead and Europe at least three months ahead of time.

Once the ticket has been purchased, don't be afraid to go for a last-minute upgrade.

“Look at all three fare categories. Very often first class is a heck of a bargain,” Boyd said.