Smart travelers no longer sit in a travel agent's office to plan their vacations anymore, they go to travel websites to find discounted ticket deals and book their cheap flights. Airlines are at war and smart users who know the secrets of finding great online travel deals can take advantage of this volatility and save hundreds of their airline tickets.
Despite what you may have heard, flight tickets are not sold at a fixed rate. Most airlines have a complex rating system for ticket prices. They have a certain number of seats that they need to fill for a certain price, and a second block of seats will allow for a slightly cheaper ticket price and a third set of seats for another price with a reduced ticket price. So at any given time when trying to buy airline tickets online, you could come up with a number of different prices.
The secret to getting a cheap plane ticket is to know exactly when, where and how to buy the tickets. Time is everything when it comes to finding cheap airline tickets. Do you need to purchase your tickets one, two or six months before your desired departure date? Will you save more by purchasing two-way tickets or one-way flights? Do you have to travel in or out of season and exactly when are the popular seasons for flight travel? Finally, do you need to buy airline tickets through a discount travel site or through a popular travel search directory like Expedia or Travelocity?
Your first tip for finding cheap airline tickets is to look at several travel guides that offer pricing results for all major airlines so you can compare ticket prices at a glance. My favorite are Expedia.com for their consistently low airfares and easy double-click price checks, Cheaptickets, com for their extensive inventory of cheap airfare selections, and sidestep.com for their huge selection of personalized flight results. As a traveler, you need to log on to these websites and feel how often prices change and bookmark them for future reference.
Airlines and travel websites offer higher discounts and cheaper airfare for people who book online because it saves them the overhead of printing and paper ticket. So be sure to use the e-ticket option when buying your airline tickets online. Don't wait until the last minute, however, the best cheap airline ticket prices are around 21 days before the departure date.
The highest airfare prices are found 14 days or less before departure, so do not wait until the last minute to buy your ticket if you are hoping to find a discount airline ticket. But keep in mind that many airlines give away dirty cheap airline tickets about half an hour before departure.
Remember to buy your round trip tickets, not one way, the best cheap airline ticket deals are usually offered to round-trip 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 packed.
You can save even more money on airline tickets if you plan your vacation out of season. Travel experts say the best time to book a cheap flight online is mid-January to late February, April to May, and in the fall from mid-September to mid-December.
The time of day you book your online airline tickets is also important. If you check airfare at 6am and then again at 6pm on the same travel website, you will be shocked to find that you just lost $ 20 or $ 30 by waiting too long or not long enough. Another variable that is necessary to find cheap cheap flights is the day of the week you buy your tickets online. Most travelers buy their tickets on Saturday or Sunday, but is this the smartest day to get dirt cheap airfare?