Smart Tips To Finding The Lowest Airfares

Introduction to Finding The Lowest Airfares:

Whether you’re traveling to the Middle East, South America, Europe, or wherever your travels take you (even Antarctica) good information and resources is crucial in planning an efficient and stress-free trip. In this age of the internet there is a wealth of information at our fingertips regarding flights, airlines, and the where to find the lowest airfares, but that also means sifting through and discerning what is good information and where to find the best value flights. This can be a daunting task, even for the most savvy travelers. So, I’ve created this guide with all of my best tips for finding the lowest airfares. 

Guide to Finding The Lowest Airfares

Guide to Finding The Lowest Airfares

Over the decades of traveling, being on the road, leading tours, teaching what Over the decades of traveling, being on the road, leading tours, teaching what I’ve learned to travelers, and learning from fellow travelers, I’ve compiled a list of top-notch flight search sites, online tools,  and good resources for finding the best deal and best value airfare.  And I’ve learned some good tips for finding flights are both a good deal as well as get you good service and comfortable routes. In this travel guide, I compiled all of my very best travel resources, planning tools and flight booking tips into this useful flight planning guide. This smart, savvy flight booking resource will help you easily and efficiently find the best value airfare to booking resource will help you easily and efficiently find the best value airfare to anywhere in the world.In this easy to use guide, I will cover smart tips for researching airfare, strategies for making the most of the airlines’ own airfare systems, and also good online resources for finding the lowest airfares and the best value flights.

 I look forward to helping you create a memorable and stress-free trip and finding that best value flight to take you on the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy this guide to finding the best flights!


Finding and Booking That Perfect Flight:

Flights can often be the largest expenditures on our trips. With an ever growing number of websites selling flights, a growing number of airlines and  a  quickly changing system for how airlines price flights; having a good system for finding the best route, lowest airfares or the best value is essential.  

Price is often most traveler’s main focus when chosing a flight. Though there are many other important factors to also consider when deciding which airline and route to use; such as important factors to also consider when deciding which airline and route to use; such as layover duration, total flight time, number of stops, akeoff and landing times, does the route require an airport change. extra baggage/seat fees that might be incurred, and accruing miles on desired airlines.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

I recommend picking the one or two flying factors (such as total duration, number of stops, etc) and beginning searching the flight search engines, further filtering by price or even airline.  When searching the many, many flights sites on the internet; start with 3 or 4. Most sites will give the same results. Most sites will give the same results. Take the possible flights you like and then compare the prices with the quote listed on the airlines’ own website. Also be sure to read the terms of service, benefits, and what is and is not covered on any third party or airline site you are considering booking through. This information changes often, so it is worth checking frequently.

Most site results on flight search engines are for third party sites. A few thoughts to consider when booking on airlines verses third party sites. Airline websites can offer more expensive flights (though not always), but booking directly with the airlines also often comes with many flights (though not always), but booking directly with the airlines also often comes with many benefits, such as more airline miles, the ability to pick your seat, better customer services, guaranteed rebookings if a connection is missed due to a delayed flight.

While booking flights on a third party site is many times cheaper, often there can be some disadvantages to weigh into your decisions. There can be little to no customer service. If you have to change your flight it can be expensive or even impossible to do. Sometimes 3 party sites book legs separately so if you miss a flgiht the airlines will not honor the ticket and rebook you. Also, more and more airlines are not letting fliers who booked on 3rd and rebook you. Also, more and more airlines are not letting fliers who booked on 3rd party sites choose seats ahead of time or access management of their ticket on the airlines’ website. Always check the fine print on the third party website and call the website to clarify the terms and to road test their customer service.

Third party sites can be great places to find discounted flights. I still recommend doing  some research to ensure they are reputable and the terms of service won’t cost you a lot of extra money down the road.

While no one really knows the algorithms airlines and booking sites use to release discounted airfare prices, here are a few general rules for finding the lowest airfares from both my experiences and other travel professionals‘ research:

* Booking flights on Monday and Tuesday, rather than on the weekends can often yield better airfare rates.

* The lowest fares are usually for flights departing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and sometimes Sunday.

* Clear your browsing cache each time you search (or use the incognito feature many browsers now offer). Websites are tracking these searches and can adjust prices according to how many times you search a specific location.

* Book about 60 days out often gives the lowest airfares.

* Generally you don’t save any money by booking a roundtrip flights and you can often find lower fares by booking each direction separately.

* Great advice from research conducted by Consumer Reports, “To increase your chances of finding the lowest airfares, search for flights multiple times and over multiple days, both with and without the cookies cleared from your browser (information on how to clear your browser of cookies can easily be found online).” [Excerpt from their article, How to Get The Lowest Airfare, by William McGee.]

*Flexibility can often give the best airfare prices. Search within a few days of your desired departure date to give the widest range of prices.

* If you know far in advance of a trip, set up a price alert. These can be great ways to know when the lowest fare is being offered and to also monitor the trends in pricing.

* Don‘t discount those smaller airports nearby. For example, sometimes you can find better fares flying into for example Gatwick rather than Heathrow. (Be sure to factor in any additional costs, such as additional transportation, that might be required from flying into these farther out airports).

* Picking your seat? Use seatguru.com to find out which seats are great and which are least desirable on the airplane.


Photo credit: Pexels.com

The following is a list of my favorite flight search engines for finding the lowest airfares. (I always recommend comparing your search engine results with the airlines’ own website.)
 
* KAYAK: A well known and large search engine giving you a lot of control over how you search for flights. Kayak searches will usually give the widest range of results. The site offers a wide range of filtering options. Disadvantage: They will have you book on 3rd party sites.  Some of the 3rd party sites are not the best so check the terms of service and call them to confirm your tickets will be booked on the say itinerary rather than split as difference purchases.

*EXPEDIA: Another well-known, large search engine. Good for bundling flights with services like car rentals and hotels. One of the better 3rd party booking sites, you can book directly on Expedia‘s site. Wide selection of flight options. Often the vendor handling the 3rd party booking is Travelocity. Confirm terms of service and any extra fees.

*VAYAMA: My favorite for searching multi-destination itineraries. I find they tend to give the best results if you’re looking to buy multi-leg itineraries on the same ticket. They include direct purchase with airlines in their search results and often have route options that don’t appear on other search engines.

* SKYSCANNER: Fast and comprehensive flight searching, flight searches can be filtered by month or even by year, cheapest flights out of any departure airport or even best flight routes to a destination. Disadvantages: inaccurate pricing can occur, sometimes questionable partner companies. This site is great for researching flight routes, options and long range cost trends . Some of the partner sites are not the best so check terms of service before booking.

* HIPMUNK: I love Hipmunk. It is a visual form of researching flight routes and costs. Travelers can filter by Agony (which is a combination of flight length, layover duration), Price, Duration, Takeoff, Landing. It’s easy to see the flights, cost, length laid out of the easy to read chart. Sometimes questionable partners (though this is rare). They do not include quotes directly from the airlines.

* Airlines’ Website: While not always the bottom barrel cheapest. This is the most reliable form of booking flights with greatest benefits. Always worth checking. When comparing prices be sure to factor in any additional baggage check fees, food costs, or seat selection fees.
 
Have a favorite flight search website? We’d love to hear from you. Email genevieve@archaeoadventures.com.

I hope that these travel tips and resources help you plan and enjoy a stress-free vacation, no matter where your travelers take you.

Happy travel planning!

Genevieve Hathaway
Founder, Owner, Chief Adventurista
ArchaeoAdventures: Women-Powered Tours
 

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