Book early, be flexible, and save a lot
This aspect of airfare has yet to change. The earlier you book, the better off you will be as far as price goes. For me, I typically can work around my dates a bit to save as much money as I can, although it’s not always that easy for most travelers. If you can book early, be flexible about your flight schedule, and this might be the biggest money saving option for you.
When I flew to Barcelona, Spain in April, I first booked a flight to London, England from the States and then took a $50 flight to Barcelona the next day. It gave me a 36-hour layover in London, where there are endless attractions and plenty of trouble to get into, and I saved almost $500 on my flight. Since the massive growth of budget airlines in Europe, it’s quite easy to play around with your options and to see what you can do to save yourself loads of cash as well. I also saved a ton on my flight home – I flew from London to Reykjavik, Iceland, and back to the States, which saved me almost $400, and I got to spend 10 amazing days touring around Iceland!
With that said
The best thing you can do is to simply search around. The internet is the greatest tool for travelers, as it not only connects the world together, but it also gives the user access to hundreds of different options for any given information. So, check out specialty websites (like booking flights with Teletext Holidays, Airfarewatchdog, or Skyscanner), budget websites (like Kayak, Expedia, or Travelocity), and of course the actual airline websites too. The more time you can invest into searching around, changing dates, destinations, transfers, and airlines, the best chance you will find a fantastic rate for your air travel.
Best days/times to book
There’s a lot made out of the time and day you book your flights, and while most airlines are sort of a random crapshoot, there is a little method to the madness – at least as far as the big airlines are concerned. Often, the airlines that sort of set the pace of flight prices release their weekly rates late Monday evening, and then all other airlines tend to follow suit after that. So, there’s sort of a golden window of time when searching for the best prices, where as the more rare, yet cheaper prices (which are used to lure customers in each week) is available to you. Typically, I’ve found that the best times are 12-3PM EST on Tuesday.
And of course, there’s also
Checking your reward miles, frequent flier programs, airline mailing lists, and if there are discounts that apply to you (student, elderly, travel agency, etc).
(Photo via 1hdwallpapers.com)