Save On Airfare? You Betcha!

Save On Airfare? You Betcha!

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Travelers are discovering that there is some very good news when it comes to flying in 2009:  airfares are dropping thanks to lower fuel costs and price slashing by the airlines in a bid to fill unsold seats. The carnage of 2008 when fuel surcharges added significantly to the cost of flying is now over, resulting in some of the best flying deals seen in several years.

moneyAs always, there are some things to keep in mind when seeking the best fares including the following:

Search Online — I recently discovered Kayak.com a site which pulls together information from the best travel sites including Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia and Booking Buddy to help you find the lowest fares.  All airlines except for Southwest are included so you’ll need to check Southwest.com for their information.

Compare Airports — I recently entered information that would take me to Newark, NJ but also received fare details for a flight to Philadelphia. Though Newark is closer to New York City, I was intrigued to learn that Philadelphia had some excellent prices.  Something for me to consider the next time I need to visit South Jersey.

Forever Flexible — Traveling with family can make it difficult to be flexible, but when I travel on business, I like to compare airfares on different days of the week. I cut short a trip to west coast last year by one day as my return trip on a Friday would have cost me more than $100 more than on a Thursday. If I could have stayed an extra day, I would have saved money by flying on a Saturday too, but I needed to get home.

Book Online — Once I find the fare that suits me, I book directly on the airline’s website. These days if you use a travel agent, make a phone call or even purchase tickets in person, you’ll get slapped with a fee.  Go ticketless by buying and confirming everything online.

Carry It Onboard — If I don’t need, I don’t bring it. Checked baggage increasingly means a baggage fee which can add as much as $25 to the cost of your ticket each way. Familiarize yourself with each airline’s rules and pack accordingly. Use FEDEX to ship ahead certain business material that you don’t want to check.

If you’re very flexible when it comes to your vacation plans, check out Farecast.com to compare rates between various vacation spots. You may have your heart set on visiting Central America, but if Belize is cheaper than Costa Rica, you can compare the two spots to find the best vacation deal available.

Photo Credit: Arjun Kartha

Adv. — Out of control recreation expenses can mess up any budget. Visit Saylowerbills.com to get a handle on these costs and to find ways to keep your other expenses under control. You can still have fun without busting your budget!

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Categories: Consumer Tips

Comments

  1. Sinestro
    Sinestro 18 February, 2009, 18:13

    This is just wrong. Kayak doesn’t have information from Expedia, Travelocity, or Priceline. The only OTA they have data from is Orbitz (and CheapTickets, but both are Travelport companies).

  2. Matthew C. Keegan
    Matthew C. Keegan Author 18 February, 2009, 18:24

    Hi Sinestro. Let me clarify what I said: you can pull up competing information in different windows which makes it easy to compare what each site offers. Essentially, you’re off of the Kayak site when you do this, but all four windows are opened at the same time thanks to this nifty feature.

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