How to Find the Best Airfare: When and Where to Book

How to Find the Best Airfare: When and Where to Book

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, airline travel has become an important part of life for people of all walks of life. In either case you will be looking for economical and or most convenient flights on preferred airlines. This does not always come easy. Oftentimes if we find good airfares, flight times or connections might not work, especially when traveling with children or for business purposes.

So how can you find cheap flights with the best possible connections and times?

Unfortunately, there is no one formula, but there are several tips that will help you buy plane tickets with best possible attributes.

The main thing you need to know is when to book and travel and where to buy. You may find the best airfare if you look at right time or season and right places like travel websites / agencies or airlines.

Timing and Flexibility

Timing can often be tricky in booking flights, but it is crucial in getting the best travel deals. You will most likely find the low airfares if you are flexible on travel dates and arrival or departure times. Take into consideration the popularity of a destination you fly to (e.g. travel to Italy or Aspen during summer months?) and what is the highest (most traveled to) travel season in that destination. If you can, avoid the highest travel season. As a rule, if you fly domestically, airlines usually have several airfare tiers, that is 21, 14 and 7 day advance purchase fares to include the very last minute deals (if flights are not fully booked). This means that you may find lower cost tickets when booking (= purchasing) a flight this many days before the flight. So keep an eye on what is going on with the flight. When you need transoceanic flights, it is recommended to book flights several months in advance. The trick is that most airlines release sales couple months prior to the travel season change (e.g. summer season specials usually start in April/ May). So if you plan in advance or have very specific and inflexible dates, you can buy tickets a lot earlier. However, if you are flexible, you may wait until a month or 2 before your travel dates; this way you will know you’re getting the best flight deals. Airlines usually do not have good last minute deals for transoceanic flights.

Where to buy

You have two options where you can buy plane tickets. You can contact a travel agent or book flight through an agency website yourself or contact an airline, the flight carrier. For domestic flights, airlines might have better rates if you purchase flights last minute. However if you make your travel arrangements in advance, a travel agency or its website might provide you with better flight deals. Similarly, if you lets say need to fly to Europe, you might be better off with a travel agency that specializes in that destination country or region rather than airline. Agencies often times have lower negotiated (so called consolidator) airfares for international flights. Note, travel websites might have the lowest airfares because this usually does not involve the live person and agencies can save of commission or extra service fees for a live agent.

Therefore, be travel smart – check several airlines, travel websites and different dates/ times – and you’ll be able find cheap flights with best connections and times.