Great January airline sales, some seats under $50

But don't expect cheap Easter flights

Need a vacation after your Christmas vacation? You're not alone. January is travel booking season, as we start planning spring and summer vacations.

The bad news: planes will be more crowded than ever in 2018, thanks to the strong economy.

But the good news is that more discount airlines means you have a good chance of finding a cheap flight despite the crowds.

If you act fast, you can still get a good fare, according to FareCompare.com.

Book now for cheapest flights

The travel site says January and February are the slowest months for airlines, which means you'll find bargain flights through early March.    

Discounters Frontier, Allegiant, Southwest, Spirit and Jet Blue are all running January fare sales right now, offering many flights for $59 or less, each way, if you book in January.

Check their websites, or compare flights on FareCompare, Kayak, Google Flights or Momondo. (But note that not all airlines advertise on all sites).

Beware spring break price hikes

Unfortunately, if you are planning a spring break trip, don't expect to find those fares for peak spring travel season.

Roundtrip fares that regularly cost $100 can soar to $600 or more if you want to fly from late March through April, because of high demand.

FareCompare says try to book that spring break flight midweek, and stay away from Easter weekend if you can.

One last caution: With record numbers of people expected to travel this new year, flights, hotels and resorts will fill up fast.

So book early if you are traveling during a popular time so you don't waste your money.

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