Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, there are techniques you can use to get the best deals on flights online.
Start looking early, but not too early.
It helps if you know your travel times at least 3 weeks in advance; you’re unlikely to find a good deal if you wait until the week of your flight. Budget travel sites may offer deals for last-minute trips, but you may be forced to leave at some crazy hour. For the best results, start looking early.
At the same time, don’t try to book a flight months in advance. Because airline prices fluctuate over time, it’s best to check back often to get an idea of the highs and lows in pricing. Some websites, such as Expedia and Orbitz, offer to keep an eye out for the best prices and deals for you.
Compare different deals.
Don’t rely on just one travel site; shop around as you would for any product you’re buying. You can either search different sites yourself or consult a search engine like Farechase, Qixo, or BestFares that compares what different travel sites offer.
Allow some flexibility.
If your trip allows it, see what turns up if you alter the arrival and departure dates. If you’re willing to take a flight at any time of the day, discount sites like Hotwire and Priceline offer interesting deals. Priceline even lets you name your price—but be aware that if the airline accepts your bid, your card is charged automatically and only then do you find out what airline and flight time you purchased.
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