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How To Find Cheap Airfare

By Mike Barus

Air travel is no longer considered a luxury only available for the wealthy and is now almost essential to our way of life. Instead of driving hundreds of miles to visit friends and family, attend a business meeting, or enjoy a vacation hotspot, a flight can whittle your travel time to a couple of hours instead of a couple of days. Also, more and more individuals are seeking to explore all corners of the world where car travel is prohibited. Although air travel is a great deal less expensive today than in days past, everyone is always looking the best deals available. If you are in the market to find cheap airfare, consider your options before you buy the first ticket available.

In days past, the only way to buy an airline ticket was to either visit your local travel agent or purchase the ticket directly from the airline. The introduction of the World Wide Web rocked the airline industry, as well as the job stability of the travel agent, as individuals were able to book their own flights. Today, there are countless websites devoted to finding the cheapest flights possible, including favorites like Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, and Priceline. Additionally, all airlines have websites devoted to their fares and deals, which may beat the fares offered at the alternative sites.

When it comes to finding cheap airfare, consider the options, including time of travel, destination, origination, airport selection, and travel dates. If you have the luxury of a flexible schedule, consider traveling during the off season. Typically, flights around holidays, early spring when schools are on spring break, and the summer are more expensive than the other times. A good rule of thumb is that air travel is cheaper when children are in school. Often, airlines offer sales and special rates that end in late May and begin again at the end of August.

However, not everyone has the luxury of flying in these off seasons, so the next variable is the destination and origination. Depending on your location, you may want to look at several different airports in your area. Since different airlines use different airports as their hubs or regional operating areas, the airport of origination plays a large part in the final fee you pay. The same theory goes with the destination. Choose larger airports instead of smaller ones, since adding a commuter flight to your bill can greatly inflate the price.

Finally, look to the specific dates of travel. For most destinations, the prices for flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are less expensive than those leaving on the other days of the week. Also, ensuring you spend at least one weekend at the destination"known as a Saturday layover"can bring the price of the ticket down dramatically. Most websites offer flexible searches, which allow you to focus on the price of the ticket instead of the schedule of the flight.

When it comes to purchasing the actual ticket, using an Internet-based company is usually the best way to go. If you are in need of a rental car or hotel room, consider purchasing a package. Unlike traditional tours, packages include only hotels, rental cars, or both along with an airline flight, making it perfect for individuals who still want to travel on their own but save money in the process. Also, when searching for flights or packages, look to the airline's websites in addition to the afore-mentioned websites. In many instances, purchasing a flight directly off an airline's website can be cheaper. Additionally, many airlines run frequent flyer bonuses with online purchases, so you can earn the maximum miles for your flight.

One great way to get the cheapest airfare is to enroll in frequent flyer programs. Even if you do not intend to fly a great deal, these programs include other ways to earn, including popular online purposes, hotel stays, and car rentals. Furthermore, most airlines have associated credit cards that allow you to earn miles with each and every purchase.

About The Author
Mike Barus specializes in travel.

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