How to Buy Cheap Airline Tickets
- Plan in advance and sign up for email alerts about low-fare deals. To ensure you get the best deals, you should know at least 3 months in advance that you want to take a trip somewhere. If you have a specific destination in mind, sign up for a low-fare alert. Make sure you include nearby departure and arrival airports when you sign up -- you might get more emails, but it'll be well-worth the savings in cost.
- Know the best time in advance to book tickets. According to studies cited by The New York Times, international flights have been the cheapest 3-5 months in advance, but there is variation among different regions. Domestic flights are a bit trickier to pin-point, but it's a good idea to start searching 3-4 months in advance and see if they get any cheaper week after week -- there have been studies indicating a 6-weeks-in-advance sweet spot for domestic flight booking.
- Know when airfare prices are typically the lowest. Airlines generally release sales for specific routes Monday night because they want travel agencies to catch wind of sales early in the week. Deals are then matched by competitors Tuesday morning. Therefore, your best shot at these deals is by searching for flights Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon or evening.
- Use aggregator sites to search for fares. There are simply too many different airline and travel websites for you to make individual queries in each one, so use ITA Software by Google. It not only aggregates dozens of airline and travel websites to give you the best price, but it also has a low-fare calendar so you can see which are the cheapest days to travel in a 30-day period. You can also easily include nearby airports in your search.
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