Smart travelers no longer sit in a travel agency office to plan their vacations, but visit travel websites to find discounts on airfares and book their cheap flights. Air carriers are at war and smart consumers who know the secrets of finding great travel deals online can take advantage of this instability and save hundreds on their airline tickets.
Despite what you may have heard, tickets on flights are not sold at a fixed rate. Most airlines have a complex ticket pricing system. They have a certain number of seats that they have to fill for a certain price and a second block of seats will let go for a slightly cheaper ticket price and a third set of seats for another discounted ticket price. So at any time when you try to buy airline tickets online, you may find a number of different prices.
The secret to getting cheap flights dirty is knowing exactly when, where and how to buy tickets. Timing is everything when it comes to finding cheap flights. Should you buy tickets one, two or six months before the desired departure date? Will you save more by buying round-trip tickets or one-way flights? Should you travel in or out of season, and exactly when are the popular flight seasons? And finally, should you buy your flight tickets through a discounted travel site or through a popular travel search directory like Expedia or Travelocity?
Your first tip for finding cheap flights is to check several travel directories that offer price results for all the major airlines so you can compare ticket prices at a glance. My favorites are Expedia for their consistently low flight prices and easy two-click price controls, Cheaptickets, com for their extensive inventory of cheap flight selections and sidestep.com for their vast selection of customized flight results. As a traveler you need to access these websites and have an idea of how often prices change and add them to bookmarks for future use.
Airlines and travel websites offer greater discounts and cheaper flight prices to people who book online because they save on printing and managing a paper ticket. So make sure you use the e-ticket option when you buy your airline tickets online. Don't wait until the last minute, the best cheap airfare prices can be found about 21 days before the departure date.
The prices of the highest airline tickets are 14 days or less before departure, so don't wait for the last minute to buy the ticket if you hope to find discounted airfares. But keep in mind that many airlines offer low-cost airline tickets at around half an hour before take-off.
Make sure you buy round-trip tickets instead of one way, the best deals on cheap flights are usually offered to return travelers.
Cheap flights during the holidays can be difficult to find, the secret is to fly on the day of the holiday, not the day before or after when the flights are full.
You can save even more on the air ticket if you plan your vacation during the low season. Travel professionals say that the best time to book a cheap flight online is from mid-January to the end of February, from April to May and in the autumn from mid-September to mid-December.
The time of day when you book airline tickets is also important. If you checked the prices of airline tickets at 6am and then again at 6pm on the same travel website, you will be shocked to find that you have lost 20 or 30 dollars by waiting too long or not long enough. Another variable that is essential for finding dirty cheap flights is the day of the week when you buy tickets online. Most travelers buy tickets on Saturdays or Sundays, but is it the smartest day to get cheap airline tickets?