The old adage that there’s no free lunch is certainly true when searching for the lowest airfare. Basically, you have to put in the time to find the best airfare every time you book travel. However, with internet speeds increasing every day, a few clicks of the mouse and a few minutes of you time can literally save you hundreds of dollars.
There are three types of travel websites: Airline Sites, Aggregator sites, and online travel agent sites. Airline sites offer their own flights and generally at the lowest price or at least comparable to other sites. You may then ask the question, why not just book with the airline directly and even get 2x the points or miles for doing so? The answer is easy: Airlines sites will never give you competitors fares and they only offer inventory on their own airline. That’s where t traditional travel agent sites come in. They provide a good result of the top carriers who fly to your destination. Now the drawback is that some low cost carrier airlines like Southwest and JetBlue don’t give their fares to these sites. So in come the aggregator’s sites. Aggregators perform a search that is the best of both worlds and search the travel agent sites as well as the airlines sites directly. So when you begin the booking process, start with the aggregators to get a good “feel” for the airfare and then check the airline sites directly. Lastly, check the low cost carrier sites directly like Southwest.
Finally be sure to mix and match you flight options. Perhaps a one way fare on Southwest is the best option and then a one way on another carrier home is better. Also if you take a look at surrounding airports, it can save you a bundle as well. You never know where the best fares will appear. Although you may have your heart set on say Kauai, HI, if you find a good flight for Maui, HI instead, you might want to book it. Keep your dates and times flexible. You may save a bundle by changing your itinerary by a day or two or being willing to travel at odd hours and also avoid weekends. Be sure to check out a flight plus hotel package from the travel sites. The best ones offer savings on airfare and lodging without pushing a whole entire tour package. Lastly, be sure to book early, keep your dates flexible (non-weekends) and do some searching and you will surely find the best airfare every time you book!
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