Get the Best Airfare Deals with These Tips
Planning to wait until the last minute to make your summer travel plans, think again. Airfares are increasing by 10% to 15% compared to last year in response to the escalating fuel costs. We want you to get the best deal possible which is why we, along with airline analysts, recommend booking no fewer than 60 days ahead. These changes are affecting the airline rules we have grown familiar with in previous years. Money Magazine’s April 2011 edition breaks it down in their “How to Find Hidden Airfare Deals.” Here’s a quick summary to help you in your planning.
Old Rule: Shop one of the major online travel agencies, like Expedia or Orbitz.
New Rule: Start with meta-search engines, like Kayak.com, Fly.com, and TravelAdvisor.com, which aggregate fares from a number of sources and direct you to sites where you can buy them. Many airlines have withdrawn from online travel agencies (OTAs) for various reasons. Don’t forget to also check the airlines that aren’t listed on meta-engines or OTAs, such as Southwest.
Old Rule: If you spy a good fare, jump on it immediately.
New Rule: Be picky about when you buy, using tools that help you find the best time. Bing.com/travel has a price predictor function that determines whether prices are likely to go up, down of remain the same. The predictions aren’t perfect, but if you’re willing to take the risk you may save a few bucks.
Old Rule: Be loyal to one airline so that you can rack up frequent-flier points.
New Rule: If the price isn’t low enough for you at the 60-day mark, try an “opaque fare” where you don’t know the airline, the departure time, or the number of stops until you buy. You know these sites as Priceline.com and Hotwire.com.