Shell DeMaria offers some tips for using the web to find good deals on airfare.
Just because the economy is in the doldrums, doesn’t mean we don’t still want to travel. But it does mean that we’re looking for a bargain. So, where can you find the best deal? Call your travel agent? Think again, budget traveler! Let your web browser do the walking and check out some travel search websites.
It’s easy to find an airfare search engine online, but not all travel booking sites are created equal. Most of these search sites ask the same questions, so getting started is easy. For example, if you’re searching for cheap flights to Los Angeles, you enter the departure date, return date, number of travelers and how many stops you are willing to make. Click search and your results will pop up in a few seconds. Pretty standard stuff.
Now that your Los Angeles flights are displayed, you’ll want to take a closer look at those prices. You may wonder why some searches come up with a price that is hundreds of dollars less than others. Most likely they have not included the taxes or other surcharges in that number. Before you make your selection, don’t forget to account for taxes, airport surcharges and baggage fees in your bottom line. Sometimes, that super cheap flight isn’t as much of a bargain as you first thought!
Airfarewatchdog.com, SkyScanner.com, Kayak.com and CheapOair.com are all easy to use travel search sites that tend to give good results. Some of the more popular (and most advertised) travel search sites are Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. New sites crop up all the time. Watch for ones that will save your desired destinations and update you when new deals come up.
A comparison of the fares for cheap flights to Los Angeles from London across three major travel search sites, showed that were all are within $40 of each other. Not a huge difference, but if you’re a budget traveler, every dollar you save on airfare can keep you on the road longer.
If you don’t mind an element of uncertainty in your travel planning, you can go to one of the travel auction sites like SkyAuction.com and see if there are any flights being auctioned for your destination. For example, a one way to London from many major US cities was on the digital auction block for a minimum bid of $1.00 with only 21 hours to go! Keep in mind that these auctions usually skyrocket in price at the last minute, so find something ending soon instead of wasting time on unnecessary bids that just drive the price up. Most of the time the departure dates are open, but you must check the fine print on these deals, as there can sometimes be some sneaky clauses in there.
Now that you are armed with some information on how to get a great travel deal, book your flight, print your e-ticket and discover the world!