Whether you're looking for cheap airfares or bargain airfares for your next travel experience having the proper search tools and knowing how to use them will help you.
Taking an hour or two to look for bargain airfares can result in saving a lot of vacation money.
1. Determine what published fares are. Published fares are found on Travel Search Engines (TSEs) like Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.
2. Learn the high, shoulder and low travel seasons for your destination. Consider the low season unless your travel calendar absolutely eliminates this possibility. This alternative can save you 30% off a high season published fare, if not more.
3. Consider nearby airports or even alternative destination countries. Some close-by geographical alternatives can save you money as well as expand your travel experience.
4. Try a consolidator or "bucket shop". You may have to send an email or call to get a fare and make a reservation. Be sure you understand all the restrictions and limitations on any type of ticket you buy. Use a credit card - you may have some recourse through the credit card company.
5. Be ready to buy when you see a good fare. If you find an airfare for 30% off a comparable published fare don't try to find a "better" deal. Some offers "vanish" quickly.
6. Always go to the airline's website when you find a good airfare, you might get an even better deal.
7. Research the best travel day of the week for your trip. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are considered good travel days.
8. Some low cost airlines and foreign carriers are not serviced by some TSEs. Find by entering "airfares to Timbuktu"in your search engine. This will give more results than just TSEs. Be creative in your search. A few changes in the wording of your search can change your results.
9. Some carriers to your destination may only fly from "gateway cities" such as New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc. Check all gateway cities even if you have to backtrack a little bit.
10. Be aware of "code sharing". Code sharing is when a US airline shares a route (and a plane) with a foreign airline. Some code sharers will have different fares for the same flight.
Don't let being an Internet novice keep you from "searching" for bargain airfares. If you're not familiar with search engines and their function have someone show you how they work. An hour's searching can save you a lot of money.
Dwight Zimpel is a frequent traveler. He hosts www.YourVietnamTourGuide.com website. He assists all kinds of travelers in finding bargain (cheap) airfares. Check http://netinfostore.com/pdfdnld/SA3Airfares.pdf for more tips and tools for finding good airfares.
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I'm going to add a few of my own here:
11. Be sure to be ready to buy at least 34 days ahead of the departure date. If you don't you'll find the fares going up extremly fast! (I learned this one the hard way)
12. Don't be scared to use the phone. Call the airlines and travel agents directly. Sometimes they will quote you a fare that is cheaper than what is listed online or be able to find you a deal easier. Also I hate to say it but some websites are not truthful. Always call to confirm.
13. Be aware that some countries also charge Airport "gate fees and taxes". That is seperate from your ticket price. So be sure to inquire so your sweetie will have the money in hand ready to pay.