Since airline tickets are typically the most expensive part of your trip, let’s start with some web sites that can offer you big savings on ticket purchases. SecretFlying. com, Airfarewatchdog.com and Google.com/flights are some of the best websites to find airfare deals. There are several factors that can help you secure the best deals on plane tickets.
The first factor in getting a great rate is flexibility. Always check to see what the cost of the ticket is a few days before or after your intended travel dates. This can dramatically reduce the cost of your flight. Typically the best days to fly to get better pricing are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can also check alternate airports within the cities to which you are flying since many of the budget airlines fly into smaller airports. Be flexible with the time of year you are planning your trip and travel in the off season whenever possible. In addition to saving money, traveling during non-peak times can result in better accommodations and fewer crowds. If your dream is to go to London or Paris but your budget won’t allow it, try another destination that is less expensive such as Barcelona or Amsterdam and then consider taking regional flights which tend to be more moderately priced.
The second factor in scoring the best deal is timing. Yes, there are sometimes last minute deals to be found but usually advanced planning gets you the best price. Per the Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to purchase a domestic ticket is 50-100 days prior to departure. An international flight is best booked at least 90 days in advance. If you are traveling for a holiday it is often cheaper to fly on the holiday itself rather than the day before or after. Sign up for alerts on your phone or email and book as soon as you see the fare you want or you risk losing the deal.
There are other little tricks to get better prices on flights. When you start your online planning, always search in the private browser mode and clear your cache history. Travel sites often track your visits and will raise the price because you have visited the site before. Another helpful tip is to split up your search. Instead of searching for four tickets at once, do two searches for two tickets instead. The airlines will show the cost of the highest ticket for the original four seats so it’s a better idea to split up your search.
For long distance flights, consider Fifth Freedom flights. A Fifth Freedom is where an airline from one country has the right to fly between two other countries. For example: Singapore Airlines flies from New York to Singapore via Frankfurt. The flight from New York to Frankfurt is the Fifth Freedom and often offers a lower fare price than other carriers that fly the New York to Frankfurt route. Another trick, if you’re lucky enough to find one, is to book an error fare, which is just that…a mistaken fare that is published incorrectly by an airline due to human error. If you do find a surprisingly low airfare, do not contact the airline. Once the airline realizes their mistake, they will quickly take down the erroneous fare.
Savings on hotels are also easy to obtain online if you know where to look. Aggregators such as Kayak.com or Vayama.com search multiple travel sites so you can compare rates. Hotels and resorts are not the only options for accommodations. Check out Airbnb or VRBO if you are open to renting a home or apartment. Hostelworld will show you hostels, some of which are deluxe properties in addition to those catering to backpacking students. Colleges and universities often rent out rooms in their empty dorms during the summer to traveling students and teachers. Discounts at many hotels are also offered to seniors, military personnel and airline employees.
Today’s travelers are faced with the potential for innumerable inconveniences such as flight delays, travel restrictions and expensive tickets. Fortunately, technology has brought us hundreds of websites to make the planning process easier and more cost effective. Many of these websites can save you time and money by simply doing a little investigative work on your own before you book.