Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My *Personal* Secrets for the Best Price on Airfare

When I logged on to Yahoo! a few days ago, I saw an article that caught my eye… “How to Get the Cheapest Price on Airfare.”  It had some good advice, most of which I already knew, but one thing stood out to me: it’s cheapest to book your airfare 18-28 days before your departure.  That’s something I will keep in mind.

I took this picture right after the flight attendants told everyone
to shut off their electronic devices.
But my own personal best airfare buying tip ever is “BUY ON A TUESDAY.”

Several times in the last few months this wisdom benefitted me. 


First, I had been tracking airfares to Italy and couldn’t come across anything cheaper than $1,200, a price which was climbing slowly.  I made a decision to check on one more Tuesday, about two months before my journey, and all of a sudden, the price was down to $960!  I snatched that ticket up instantly.


I was planning a trip to Philadelphia.  Prices were about $350, so I waited for a Tuesday and checked the prices at about 4pm.  Sweet!  They had gone down to $289.  I had some things to attend to, but went back about 9pm to buy the tickets.  Drats, the price had gone up to $300.  Still better than on a non-Tuesday, but I could have saved even more!  Moral of this story - after you've done the research and found the *best* price, BUY!


Right now I’m looking for tickets from Miami to Dublin for December.  I checked on Sunday and the cheapest thing I could find was $817.

I checked again on a Tuesday evening, and the price is down to $693!

That’s a savings of more than $150, just by booking on the right day!

But don’t waste time… I checked again just a few hours later and the price was back in the $800 range.


You can pick whatever search engine you want to use, but I’ve had the most luck with Kayak.  If your dates are flexible, I like to use Cheap Tickets and choose the "Flexible Search" option.  It allows you to search for the least expensive price by weekends, within three days of your travel dates, as well as within a month period of time.  I am usually flexible enough that I can look at a few weeks of time.

This is what a screenshot looks like from the "Flexible Search" on Cheap Tickets.  I see what days are the cheapest, then
I use those dates to see what Kayak has to offer.
Sadly, if you want the best deal, you have to put in some work.  I like research, so I'm okay with doing that.  I also booked a trip to Ireland less than two weeks ahead of time and paid out the wazoo.  I ended up getting engaged on that trip, so I’d say everything works out in the end.

Total Cost: $960 for two one-way tickets, Miami to Rome and Milan to Miami

Best Deal: $693 for Miami to Dublin, I need to book that ASAP!


What are your secrets for cheap airline tickets?

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