It’s flights and hotels that consume most of our funds when traveling. And it’s usually the plane tickets that we book first – because they set the beginning and end dates, as well as the intermediary stops during our itinerary. This is especially for traveling far away, but even on short routes, it’s often the air travel services that are most expensive. So, fining your way to save on flights, will obviously make your entire trip cost a lot less!
One of the cheapest ways is to book last minute flights! Although, it’s a bit risky, waiting until maximum a few weeks before the take-off might be worth it – there might be plenty of discounted offers. With this in mind, let’s look a bit into the concrete techniques that you can use and the web-based resources that will help you save when making late purchases.
Planning the Trip, Techniques to Use
One – Be flexible regarding you schedule: be ready to depart whenever the lowest fares pop-up and be ready for weekend stay-overs – this means constantly scanning the offers, staying alert all the time
Two – Be open to putting more effort while traveling: some flights might involve secondary airports, long (and sometimes a bit more costly) airport transfer
Three – In some cases low fares are detrimental to comfort: economy class or even cramped charter flights are less comfy, but if you’re lucky enough you might as well grab a discounted business class seat (for the latter, make sure to check the leading airlines’ sites directly)
Four – Join travel communities and agents’ websites (register for travel agents’ sites and members’ clubs) – some of the best offers aren’t published to the greater public, but sent out to a narrow group of people (sort of an “inner circle” comprised of their loyal clients)
Five – Consider buying a package – it helps reduce the price per service (hotel and flight or “fly and drive” and similar) if booked ”in one”
Overall – end season flights, as well as night flights and on business class the mid-week flights tend to cost less.
You must avoid the low cost airlines, as their offers are a bit vice-versa: the closer you get to the departure moment, the higher their fares will be.
Specialized Agents and Tools to Use
Don’t just stop at the first offer to buy fast and don’t just stick with a handful of sites that you usually buy from. Dig deeper. In addition to the 5 tips enumerated above, it’s also important to know where to look for the flights…
What you should do is try these sites out, but not necessarily book from them. Use them as tools to sniff out the best prices and plan your itinerary. Then, proceed to check the airline sites or just pick the lowest price from any of the travel agents (because: although it’s the same flight, the prices vary from seller to seller, which is mainly due to additional commissions applied per ticket).
Bing Travel uses a unique ”price predictor tool” – ingenious invention that can help you predict when prices will be lower. So: why book for a week from now, if two weeks from now you can travel for less?
Another handy site is Airfare Watchdog, which scans a database of offers for the particular routes typed in by the user. Of course, they tend not to have offers for all routes. So the tool is rather limited… But for North American users it’s one of the handiest tools out there.
Sites like LastMinuteSpider.com offer last minute flight price comparison services, intermediating between buyers and sellers. They also come with a plethora of practical advice, tips for the savvy travelers…
A fare comparison tool not to miss is SkyScanner’s engine – has a few regional sites as well. You might want to check this out to find routes.
Local Service Providers and Risks
Don’t miss checking the biggest travel agents and the local airlines in your country. They might bring the best opportunities. Also: the more airlines operate on one particular route, the cheaper the fares will be. It’s due to competition.