Airfare can be one of the most significant expenses in your travel budget. The online capabilities of search engines and travel sites provide opportunities to compare prices, travel options and find good airfares. You can search for your travel fares by various dates, or based on using different airports, or by looking at various route options in search of the best fares. The sites also provide some helpful tools such as fare alerts, frequent traveler benefits, additional costs involved, etc.
Explore Your Options
In your search for the best airfare, it is always wise to investigate many different options. A diligent search does not require much time or effort. A few extra minutes in front of your computer or on your mobile device may surprise you with the number of options and different prices you may discover. You will never know about these options if you don’t look. Even changing up your travel itinerary can result in different pricing.
A quick internet search for airfare travel sites will turn up many different options in your search to find good airfares. I like to use Momondo, Google Flights, Kayak, and Skyscanner. So I start my search using Skyscanner. After finding the best prices for my planned travel dates and places, I then will open additional windows and check the same, or similar, itinerary on Momondo, Google Flights, and Kayak. My next steps will include a search on the specific airline websites (at times you will find the best prices on the airline websites) and a search on the sites of the budget airline carriers that do not submit their information to the travel meta sites.
Be sure to compare the total travel price offered for each option. Add up all the costs including the ticket, any seat preference costs, baggage costs, carry-on costs, boarding pass printing costs (yes some of the budget airlines can nickel-and-dime you to death and an apparent cheap ticket plus all the extra costs can end up costing more than other options).
This comparison only takes a few extra minutes and often can save you significant monies on your travel costs.
Be sure to sign up for travel fare alerts at each site you visit. Especially if you are planning your trip early and have plenty of time before you buy your ticket. You will be able to see how the fares change over time and often daily. As the fares change these travel alerts will let you know. After all the research you have completed, you will know a great price when you see one.
Also on the internet, you can find various websites dedicated to searching for the best airfare deals all around the world. They continually post fantastic bargain fares without regard to itineraries. When they find a great deal, they post it. You can get on the mailing list for these sites, or join as a subscriber, and get regular notices of the deals they find. Then when you see a deal for a location you would like to visit, you can quickly buy tickets before the deal expires. Many such deals are extremely time-sensitive. Check out Scott’s Cheap Flights and the Dollar Flight Club which are two of these airfare deal sites.
Each major airline publishes electronic newsletters. By signing up for these publications from the airlines you frequently fly, you can get notices of special discounts and promotions offered by the airline. Often they come in the form of a special offer or a special promotion code. If you are not on their mailing list you may miss these fare deals.
There is no exact time to book a fare for the best deal. Generally, the prime time to get buy is approximately four to ten weeks ahead of your travel time. Once you do your research and sign up for fare alerts, you will be aware of the available options and will know when you see a great price. By looking at the calendar prices many sites offer, you can see that it is often cheaper to travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. Pay careful attention, often the cheapest flights for the day are the red-eye, late-night flights.
Look at Airport Options
Another way find good airfares and save is to consider using alternate airports. If your destination has several nearby airports, you may get a better airfare deal to an airport a little further away from your desired location. Then just compare the total cost of the airfare plus ground transportation to find the best deal. Consider the time involved too if that is an issue for you. I once saved over $800 on a round trip fare to New Zealand by driving 10 hours to a different departure city from my home airport. Time was not a factor since I had a family to visit in the alternate departure city anyway so I got to see that family, save a bunch of money and still enjoy my trip to New Zealand.
These are a few considerations in your search to find good airfares. Taking a little extra time to do the research, planning ahead, starting early, and exploring various alternatives will help you find those good airfares and save the extra money to cover other expenses of your trip.…