Planning a Vacation? Save Money on Airfare

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Where to Get Cheap Airline Tickets

Where to Get Cheap Airline Tickets

The difference between a staycation and a vacation usually has to do with one thing: airfare. When gas prices are high, the cost of plane tickets is high. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay local for your next “getaway.” There are plenty of ways to keep the cost down so you can get out of town!

Check prices with Kayak. Kayak.com checks the prices on hundreds of travel sites. You’ll also notice that you can select other “Sites to Compare” – e.g. Priceline, Expedia, Delta, Travelocity, Hotwire, and CheapOair. Kayak will open separate windows to show you comparisons, which can be kind of a pain, but occasionally you’ll find a better deal – so why not give them a try too?

Look the flight up on the airline’s site. If you’ve found a good deal through Kayak or another travel site, head over to the airline’s website on which you found a deal. Often, you’ll find the same flight for $10 or $20 cheaper. Why? Because the other sites charge booking fees on top of the flight’s cost.

Go with a discount airline. Not all airlines are listed in the travel search engines. Southwest, JetBlue, and Europe’s RyanAir all offer some great fares that don’t always make it into travel search results.

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Consider alternate airports. For major cities, you may have multiple options on where to land. For example, New York has LaGuardia, JFK, and even Newark. Do a price check, but don’t forget to take into consideration the cost of getting to your destination from the airport.

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Fly on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. You’ll find there’s cheaper airfare on those days. Thursdays and Saturdays sometimes offer cheaper fares also. But generally, you want to avoid flying on the two most expensive days: Monday and Friday.

Don’t get fooled by “sale” prices. Sometimes they aren’t that great of a deal when compared to the rate of other airlines, even if those tickets aren’t on sale. When considering prices, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Some sites try to make their fares look cheaper by not including taxes and extra fees (like baggage charges) in their advertised pricing.

Buy your ticket early. Generally, the closer you get to the date, the more expensive the fare will be. They often change 21 days, 14 days and 7 days prior to your departure, so try to plan travel at least 3 weeks out.

Place a bid. Once you know the cheapest rate available, you can place a bid on Priceline.com to see if you can get it for less. But beware, you won’t know what airline you’ve booked with until after you’ve made the purchase.

Sign up for frequent flyer miles. Most programs cost nothing to join. It just takes a few minutes of your time to fill out the form, and then there’s a chance you’ll accumulate enough points for a discounted rate or a free upgrade to first class. It can’t hurt!

Subscribe to mailing lists. AirfareWatchdog.com and TravelZoo.com both send you the latest deals as they happen. Also, if there’s an airline that’s your favorite, it’s likely they have a mailing list as well. You can also sign up for Twitter feeds to get access to Twitter-exclusive deals.

Make it a package. Consider booking your flight, hotel and rental car as a package. Sometimes it’s a killer deal and sometimes it’s not.  So be sure to crunch the numbers before you purchase.

Opt for JetBlue or Southwest when all things are equal. Why? If the price on your itinerary goes down, they will refund you the difference – without any ticket change fees. But of course, the idea of checking everyday to see if the price went down isn’t very appealing, which is why there’s Yapta. You tell them your flight details and they send you an email if the price drops lower than what you paid.

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Trying to find the very best deal can make the process overwhelming and frustrating, which is the opposite of what a vacation is supposed to be about! So don’t wear yourself out hunting down the absolute lowest price or you might end up never pulling the trigger. Spend an hour or two searching, record the best deal you found and see if it fits in your budget. If it does, make the purchase and focus on planning the rest of your vacation.

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