Everyone who’s bitten by the travel bug knows how exciting it is to plan for your next vacation. Yet, not one everyone is as savvy as others in finding the best airline ticket deals out there. Even if you can afford to pay for a round-trip flight at regular price, it doesn’t hurt to save a few hundred dollars on airline tickets.
Here are a few tips on how you can get the best deals when booking airline tickets:
Sign up for alerts on airline fares
There are several websites such as FlightWatchdog.com and Flighthub.com that offer free email alerts sent straight to your inbox when the ticket price of your preferred flight drops. There are also several sites that allow you to key-in the fare details you wish to pay and alert you when they’ve been met. By signing up for free email notifications, you don’t need to scour for airline tickets everyday just to make sure you’re not missing out on the good deals.
Compare prices using the best flight search engines
All flight search engines or online travel agencies add a margin to the flight fares they sell to be able to generate revenue. It would help to know which search engines add a large profit margin in order for you to avoid them. You can’t really consider sale airline tickets to be a good deal if you know they come from a site that extremely overprices. Chances are, you can find them elsewhere for cheap. Always compare flights using multiple search engines before buying them. This way you get to make sure that you’re actually purchasing a good deal.
Search for one-way tickets instead of roundtrip tickets
More often than not, one-way tickets are much cheaper than roundtrip tickets. You can mix and match flights from different airlines to be able to make the most savings. As long as you’re not picky about the airline you’re flying, being flexible in this regard could help you score good ticket sales.
Identify the cheapest day and hours to fly out
Generally, it’s cheapest to fly out from Tuesdays to Thursdays and the cheapest flight schedules are the red-eye and the early morning flights. Keep this in mind when choosing your travel dates. Although this may not be the case all the time, you can also try to observe the pattern of the ticket rates when looking through the websites. To do this, check the monthly views of the fares and look at the pattern on which day of the week the prices drop and on which flight schedule. Chances are, the pattern will remain the same for a few weeks.
Follow private airlines on social media
Nowadays, we rely too much on online travel agencies when booking air tickets that we often forget that airlines can host private sales, as well. Even if you’ve found a flight for cheap from a consolidated flight website, it doesn’t hurt to check the airline’s website itself. You can even followi the airline’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, so you always remain on top of their exclusive private sales. Don’t block them to show on your newsfeed though, as you wouldn’t want to miss their seat sale announcements.
Check the inclusions of your ticket
Check the inclusions of the ticket you intend to buy before actually purchasing it. Many airlines keep their base prices really low only to make up for it via hidden charges. Does the price include carry-on and checked baggage, or do you have to pay an add-on cost to be able to bring with you a regular-sized suitcase? No matter how cheap the ticket is, verify what is included before purchasing it and compute the possible extra charges you will be incurring to know the total cost. It’s better to find pay for an average-priced ticket than a cheap one if you’re only going to end up paying more in the end.
Know when to actually purchase those tickets
If you’ve made up your mind that you need to go on a certain date, and haven’t found sale tickets to purchase yet, take note of the prime booking window which is between 42-57 days for travel within North America and 3-5 months for travel overseas. Remember that while you’re getting close to your intended departure date, the prices are also getting higher. Waiting for last minute deals may be futile if the airline is getting full without you realizing it.
Check the fares the day after you purchase your ticket
There are times when the fares go down the next day after you’ve purchased your ticket. If this happens, it is your right to be able to request for a refund, even for non-refundable flights. There’s a federal rule that states that you are entitled to get a refund within 24 hours of purchasing your ticket, as long as the departure date is seven days after the purchase or more.
Be aware of blackout dates
If you want to travel during the holidays, be aware that no matter how early you start waiting for a sale, it may never happen. Airlines know that they will most likely get all seats booked up on those dates, so there’s really no need for them to drop the prices and sacrifice their profits. What you can do instead is to book during the prime booking window for the best fares to avoid having to pay for too much on a roundtrip ticket.
Knowing a few tricks on how to score good deals never hurts anyone. All you need is a little patience in setting up travel alerts and scouring the countless flight search engines for you to be able to find that golden ticket price. Always keep in mind that even if you’re not able to find what you would consider the best deal out there, a good deal is better than a rip-off. Happy travels!