Air travel has become much cheaper in recent years. Low-cost airlines have focused on making flying as cheap as possible (much to the delight of travelers!) and made air travel much more commonplace. You can, though, still reduce fares further if you know how and are prepared to be brave, flexible and play the system.
The first you can try now. Delete your browsing history, including cookies, then visit a travel website or airline website, and pretend you’re looking for flights to Los Angeles or elsewhere. Get a quote and write it down. Once you’ve done that, close your browser down, open it again and go to the same site and get another quote for the same flights to Los Angeles. Notice anything?
Another way is to use comparison websites. The trick is to browse on them months ahead of when you actually want to fly. Again, find the flight you want and this time set up a price alert. These will give you regular updates on changes to the fare being charged. International flights are typically cheapest 34 days before departure, 20 days for domestic flights. When you see a price you like, you’re ready to book.
However, unless it’s using multiple airlines, don’t use the comparison site. Instead, go to the airline’s own website and check the price on there because they may well have a discount for a direct booking. But don’t forget to delete your browsing history before you do!
Still don’t book it. Go to the airline’s site in another country, check it on there and have a calculator ready to see if booking the same flight using a foreign currency is cheaper. Check out any credit card charges for foreign exchange purchases, but you might even receive an extra discount that way!
Hold on! Still you don’t have to book it. Some airlines are so small that they don’t appear on comparison sites. Go to the airport’s website and find out who else flies from there, and see if they do your flight cheaper. If an airline only goes there 2 or 3 times a week, you may be able to get a better deal directly from them.
Once you’ve settled on the best price from all the available options, you can go ahead and book it, and spend the money saved on something fabulous when you get there … or not so fabulous, depending on your tastes!
Being flexible on times, routes and carriers and playing the game means that getting to your destination doesn’t have to be costly. There’s nothing like a saving!
Image by Marcin Wichary, used under Creative Commons license.
Author’s Bio: Walt Garrison is a personal finance expert. He also loves the challenge of getting across the world as cheaply as possible.
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