I'm making plans for what I hope is becoming an annual visit to Liguria, Italy where a good friend hosts a revolving set of visitors in a vacation home the the use of which he has for two weeks every spring. This year the drop-in period is the first two weeks of June.
I find Pisa to be the most convenient airport for this region (the house is near the Cinque Terre on the coast near La Spezia) because there's a train station at the airport terminal, and because Delta offers non-stop flights from JFK at convenient times. Unfortunately, the flight is expensive — $869 round-trip leaving the first week of June.
Last year there were a few days when my friend and I were the only people in the house, so we took an ad hoc road trip to Florence and Lucca. This year I was considering spending a few days on my own touring another part of Italy — the time spent in Liguria is fantastic but there's so much Italy there, and this is the only time of the year I travel without my family.
My inclination, I'm not sure why, was to spend a week or so in Liguria then a few days traveling. Fortunately, however, before I booked my flight I noticed a mention on one of the many budget travel blogs I read (was it Arthur Frommer's excellent site?) about good fares for the period ending May 26th (I had been planning to fly May 30th). By moving my solo travel days to the start of my trip, I got my airfare down from $869 to $500. The savings will easily cover my hotel and transportation costs for the three nights I'll be on my own.
A good example of how a little flexibility can lead to a lot of savings. Unfortunately I don't have even that much flexibility with most family travel — school vacation is school vacation, and it's no good trying to move it backwards or forwards by more than a single day.