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7 Tips for Finding Airfare Deals

Rising travel costs bringing you down? Here are a few expert tips on how to find affordable airfares.

 

The tourism industry bit the big one this past year—to the tune of $26.5 billion, according to a May 2008 survey commissioned by the Travel Industry Association. U.S. travelers avoided 41 million trips, and about 28 percent of travelers skipped at least one trip, mostly due to frustration with airline inefficiency. Add fare price hikes, checked baggage fees and more carry-on restrictions, and travelers are in for a world of airline woe.

But family vacationers can still satisfy their wanderlust—and save. Reasonable airfares do exist, if you know where to look. TravelMuse’s new Travel Tips column highlights a few of the easiest ways find cheap (or at least cheaper) airfare deals for your next vacation or family trip.

Finding Cheap-ish Flights

Getting the best travel deal requires a bit of foresight. Book far in advance, advise the travel experts at AAA, and be flexible with your travel dates. While rising airfare is unavoidable, there are carriers—and budget travel Web sites—that offer unbelievable deals: Hotwire.com, Sidestep.com, Kayak.com. And here at TravelMuse, you can also find flight (and air, hotel and cruise) deals on or near your travel date on our Book Travel page.

Here’s a list of other tips on how to find airfare deals:

  1. Sign up for fare-watchers and travel newsletters on travel search engines like Travelocity, Expedia and the budget travel sites to catch last-minute deals.

  2. While not always the case, booking flights as early in the day as possible can yield cheaper fares, according to Expedia Travel Trendwatch’s Chris McGinnis.

  3. Look for flights that leave during slow periods in the week (Tues.-Thur.). With less demand come lower fares.

  4. Consider traveling off-season when there’s less demand—and reduced rates on hotels, dining and entertainment at your destination.

  5. Take advantage of any available discounts, says AAA, whose members have access to AAA discounts at a variety of hotels and car rentals in the United States and abroad. Credit card companies, like American Express, also offer deals and discounts; see what you might be eligible for.

  6. Check out bidding travel sites like Priceline.com; they aren’t for every traveler, but bid low and you could be surprised with a killer deal. Of course, they’re non-refundable, and you may have to leave at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday and have three connecting flights.

  7. Find cheap flights within countries or regions using local carriers. Intra-European flights are still fairly inexpensive. EasyJet.com and Ryanair.com are two popular budget airlines. Several Asian airlines also offer great deals. AirAsia.com and BangkokAir.com run several international Asian routes in China, Malaysia and Thailand. Thai Airways, a major carrier, also offers inexpensive domestic fares: a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs about $45.

Find more tips and deals on TravelMuse.com. Check our Travel Tips, Travel Deals and Travel News columns regularly for the latest vacation planning information.  


Themes: Family Travel


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