How to find cheap airfare
With lately economic up and downs many people need to save some money or find some ways to reduce everyday expenses. People prefer to spend less on things that are not essential or they pick a cheaper version of the product they have been using. Some people consider giving up leisure time or going out activities. Family vacation trips are under consideration. But you don’t have to give up everything. What comes to the travel activities, by reducing transportation expenses many travelers still can afford to go on pleasant vacation to exotic destination.
Travel activities for the vacation time need to be planned in good time in advance. That way there is a time to find an option that suite the best. Often people are looking for the last minute deals with hopes that airlines put out unsold seats for cheaper price. But is it really cheaper or just cheaper than last week’s price? Words ‘Sale’ or ‘50% off’ are doing magic on peoples’ minds. But check it out! Sometimes it is really a sale and you get special price with some specific terms attached. But mainly, if you would compare airfare for certain destination 4-5 month in advance and last minute deals, there will be not big difference.
7 tips how to find cheaper tickets for domestic and international flights.
1) First and main advice is to plan in advance. For domestic flights it's at least 3 - 4 month but for overseas traveling 5- 6 month. Start with checking up the price right now for next summer. If you have specific destination on your mind, find out which airlines are serving particular city.
Shop around the big travel booking engines like Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz to see the option and price range. Check out sites specializing on air travel only like Vayama.com – compare 100's of international airfares on one web site.
Then go to local websites of each airline and check out what are the prices they offer. Many airlines have special online booking discount or special e-offers for potential travelers if booked trough their website. For example: Take advantage of Air France US Economy sale fare to Europe!
2) Now you know the possible prices for your trip. Next I would suggest checking for big / special events like tourism industry tradeshows, exhibitions or other special activities in your area. These are the places where airlines will appear with some discounts for visitors.
Other ideas could be sales before / during Halloween or on ‘Black Friday’ or similar. I've seen Finnair offering big 30-50% discounts for certain international destinations at special 3-day sales event at some department stores in Scandinavia. Those are just examples but such activities can be performed by any airline worldwide.
3) When planning a trip, pay attention to the dates when changes of high/ low season are set for airlines. If traveling overseas it effects even more - end of May for many travel destinations is still a low season but beginning of June already high. In autumn it's same - Aug 31 still counts as a high season, but from Sept 1 you can get already a low seasons ticket price. Though, these dates can vary from country to country.
If you have some flexibility playing few days back and forth in your travel plans, it can save same money. But main indicator for lower prices is country's off-season times, national holidays or when school time for children begins. In US, traveling a day before Thanksgiving will cost you more than on a day of Thanksgiving.
4) Consider airports in surrounding area (though this suggestion mainly works in US destinations). There can be significant savings if instead of San Francisco (SFO) you fly into San Hose (SJC) or Oakland (OAK) or instead of Miami (MIA) will choose Ft. Lauderdale (FLL). Check out which airports are served by particular airline.
This advice will be not so useful for most trips in Europe. International / overseas flights often are served just in certain airports near the capital city (unless they are charter flights or served by low-cost airlines). Several airports in surrounding areas have just London (5), other European destination mostly has just 2 airports in area near the capital city (check out the distance and options how to get the city). Often just one is operating as a main international airport but other is more for a local flights. But in Russia, such a major travel destination as Moscow, international/ intercontinental flights are served just in Sheremetyevo airport.
Though, instead of searching for an alternative airport near your travel destination look for some other major European city in area. Often the distance from one capital to other big city is relatively small and you can find some good travel deals. For example - flight from New York to Brussels will be cheaper then NY - Amsterdam. Return train ticket to Brussels - Amsterdam is around $100 (local network). Total savings for combining flight and train will be around $120 (from prices shown at Air France.com) and that is reasonable connection.
What comes to the trips from US to Europe, good options is to fly at first to London and then take some local/ continental connection flight to other European destinations. London as a travel destination often has one of the lowest airfare. When I was checking the prices at Air France.com, airfare from New York to London and Brussels were similar, then was flight to Amsterdam and the priciest was Paris as a travel destination.
5) Check out multi-city option for booking your trip - it allows traveler to fly into one city and depart from other. This is my favorite travel planning trick if I’m going from Europe to America. For example, if destination is in Florida, I pick NY as a first destination and then put in Orlando as departure city on the way back. And buy additional one-way domestic ticket for NY – Orlando on the flight convenient to me. This is gives me lower airfare in total and option to visit two destinations for one price.
On route from US to Europe this will work only if both cities are in same country, like Frankfurt and Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona. If you will arrive in one country and depart from other, price wise it can cost you even more. From sample trip mentioned above, if you wish for Amsterdam as a European travel destination, it’s cheaper to get flight New York - Brussels and take train to the Amsterdam. It is easy to do because there is a train directly from the airport or you can go via Brussels and visit this wonderful city as well.
6) Look for national airlines of your chosen travel destination. They might be bigger or smaller, but often will have better flight fares. Mainly they are members of some airline alliance anyway, so you don’t lose frequent travel points. If you would like to visit Paris, plan your travels with Air France; for trip to Germany check out Lufthansa deals and so on.
National carriers are interested to bring travelers to the country therefore are offering better prices. These offers sometimes can beat even special deals from specialized travel sites.
7) Check out an option of bidding on flights at PriceLine.com. The best part of this is that you can set a price within your budget. ...at least you can give a try. This suggestion is not for the travelers who are looking for particular flight because system will pick the flight for you.