Today’s travelers are savvy and money-conscious, which explains why they are flocking to the Net like never before to research, compare and book airfare. As they have found, bypassing travel agents and opting for online shopping for cheap airline tickets saves time, money and frustration – all the while ensuring they get exactly what they want and when they want it.
In fact, according to Juniper Research, 37% of online airfare travel consumers visit three or more Web sites per travel product. A further 20% of online airfare travel consumers report feeling empowered by researching flights online, although they only visit one or two Web sites to research airfares.
With tight budgets and little leisure time to look around, net shoppers are enjoying the many benefits provided to them when they purchase airline tickets online.
Of course, if online airfare shoppers can be flexible with their travel dates (just by a day or two) or even their airports (flying in a mere 20 miles from their final destination), they can save even more money, allowing their hard-earned dollars to be used for downtime and not airtime.
Additionally, there are other ways you can shop online for discount airfare and stretch your buck even further.
For instance, have you ever noticed that the closer you get to your actual travel date, the more you have to pay? Rest assured, that’s no coincidence. Instead, that stems from the fact that the brass behind the airlines know that many business travelers must fly on short notice and take full advantage of this, charging more for booking those last-minute flights.
Sure, this may make traveling more expensive for the executive who has to make a meeting in a neighboring state or another country, but it doesn’t have to be more expensive for you.
All you have to do is plan ahead. For the best travel airfare, plan in advance enough so that you can book your flight 21 days in advance.
Keep in mind that if you just can’t get your travel plans together that far in advance, you will see significant discounts for booking 14 days ahead. After that, you will want to research and compare, because the price for your flight is sure to go up – sky-high, in fact.
But Not Too Far Ahead
Keep in mind that it pays to be patient and if you are trying to book a flight months in advance and the prices are more than you bargained for, worry not. Airfares fluctuate and you may be able to book your flight at the fare you are willing to pay (and not a penny more) if you just wait.
Sure, airfares may also rise. So, the best strategy is for you to compare fares over a period of time to see what’s happening with rates. By doing this, you’re sure to know a good deal when you see it.
Be flexible in scheduling your flight. By booking on different days, you may be able to save even more money, allowing you to get really cheap plane tickets.
For instance, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are typically the cheapest days to fly. This means that by booking a flight on a Monday with a return trip on a Monday will typically raise the costs.
Also, late-night flights and very early morning flights are times when not as many people want to fly, which can provide you with another cheaper alternative – such as further discounted airline tickets.
In short, for cheap air travel, remain flexible
Think About Flying ON Holidays
OK, so you don’t want to fly on Christmas Day, but if you would consider planning your holiday trip around a flight on one of the slowest travel days of the year, you might save big bucks.
Likewise, plan your family vacation to Disneyland or Las Vegas after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. This way, you’ll save lots of money on airfare and you and your family will enjoy the shorter lines at the theme park, too.
Location, Location, Location
As mentioned above, think about flying in to a neighboring airport. This short 20-mile drive may save you a few hundred dollars. How’s that for a little extra pocket change when you’re on vacation?
Scour Off-Line, Too
You will save money when your book your airfare online, but to get an accurate idea of how much you should pay and how much you are saving, keep an eye on airfare prices off-line. Check your local and national newspaper and keep and your eyes open for fluctuations and even special airline deals, then hit the Net.