The only thing better than a fabulous vacation is a fabulous vacation at a great price. Given that airfare is usually the most expensive part of your trip, it is to your great advantage to try and get the cheapest flight possible.
*Buy your tickets well in advance, or at the last minute. I know that is a contradictory statement, but it’s possible to get a good price on your airfare by doing either one of those – depending on the flight’s current situation. Airlines are well aware of the fact that someone who really needs to get somewhere on short notice does not have much of a choice about stop-overs and fares, and will have to pay a higher price. To avoid high airfare prices, buy your ticket at least 21 days before the flight. If you buy more than 21 days in advance, chances are you will get an even cheaper fare. If you wait until closer to your travel date to buy, you will notice a jump in ticket prices. On the contrary, it is possible to find a good deal at the last minute. If you are only a few days away from the departure date and the flight still has plenty of seats left, the airline will usually drop the price of the tickets to attract business and fill seats at the last minute. They would rather sell cheap tickets, than have empty seats. Now you must have a flexible schedule in order to take advantage of these great deals. If you have some flexibility in your vacation plan, you can save a nice chuck of change, sometimes 40% to 50% off the regular fare. Make sure to sign up for email alerts to stay on top of the last minute deals.
*Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. With most major airlines, flying on these days are usually going to be the cheapest (except for certain holidays when all bets are usually off). Because of traveler traffic patterns, flying on certain days costs more than others, and the airlines have determined that to fly on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday, you will pay a premium because that is when most people want to fly.
*Research, research, research. Scoring cheap airfares will require a good bit of investigation on your part. Believe it or not the ticket price you looked up at 10am on a certain airline might not be the ticket price when you check it again at 1:30pm. Variations such as that aren’t usually explicable so you just have to keep checking until you come across a fare that you think is a good price – then snag it. You should of course be checking every airline that travels to your destination for a good deal, not just your preferred carrier.
*Talk to a travel agent. Even though the best fares will most likely be online, you should still talk to travel agent to check their prices, you never know what they might come back with.
*Fly on a Saturday. Typically people traveling either want to be in their destination on Thursday or Friday for a long weekend in order to accommodate their work schedule, so thus the prices on Thursday or Friday are going to be higher. Also, people traveling on business during the week usually want to be back home for the weekend, and therefore want a Friday flight. Again, another reason to make Saturday a day for cheaper flights in order to attract travelers.
*Be flexible in your search. Again, most people looking for a weekend or short getaway will usually want will want to travel on a Thursday or Friday and come back on Sunday or a Monday so they take full advantage of the weekend and take as few days off as possible from work. And of course the airlines know this. When searching, there is usually an option to leave or come back plus or minus one day. Or there is an option for “flexible days.” By taking a look at the flights these searches bring back, you might be saving a couple hundred dollars, or more, on your airfare. And you can decide if the savings are worth taking off an extra day or two from work.
Use one, or use all of these tips in your search for a great deal on airfare and you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.