Now I am no travel expert when it comes to the best travel secrets out there. In fact, truly speaking I’m still a bit of a travel novice. Sure I’ve been to a few countries, and even lived in Brazil for four months but in terms of backpacking, hosteling and all that jazz I’m still preparing for my first big RTW trip. However, I’ve been blogging for a few years, believe it or not and I’ve read a lot of articles on travel and listened to hundreds of suggestions and I’ve come to learn one thing. What I am good at is organizing those suggestions and tips from other travel experts.
I’ve written about how I am using a private Google sites page, to store my documents and important links. Well now I’d like to share what I’ve come up with so far so that if you are getting ready to travel you can benefit from some of these useful tips.
1. Double Check Every Flight
Search for flights on multiple sites, there are a million and one travel sites out there so spend some time searching out which gives you the best deal. If you know sites that offer specific routes or target a certain region/country then check with them too. I’ve listed a few below for your convenience including some that are specific to where they serve. The big name search indexes, basically the ones you see commercials for, only list those airlines who will buy into their program so you may miss some cheaper deals with smaller airlines. Which is why it’s recommended to search through multiple sites because different sites may have different partnerships with various airlines.
|Orbits Flexible Dates Search||http://www.orbitz.com/App/ViewFlexSearch||World|
|I Want That Flight||http://iwantthatflight.com.au/||Australia/New Zealand|
|Fare Compare – Flexible Dates||http://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/flexible-calendar-flights-search/||World|
2. Triple Check Directly with the Airline
If those search engines tell you that you can get a flight for $99 through Southwestern, Continental, or another airlines, then go directly to their website and verify yourself. Maybe you can even get it cheaper or the airlines charge less for baggage which ends up costing you less when you buy direct. Nomadic Matt suggests that you check the airlines foreign website as prices may vary and exchange rates may play to your advantage.
3. Airline Alliance Programs
There are airline alliance programs that may provide more options and cheaper rates due to partnerships when booking directly through these programs. The three largest are Star Alliance, The Sky Team and One World. Utilizing these options may provide lower costs when looking at purchasing Round The World Tickets or a Continent Pass.
4. Start Your Search Early and Do Your Homework
There are a million and one search engine sites to help you find those last minute deals, which means there really aren’t any last minute deals. In the age of the internet, everyone is their own travel agent. So start acting like one by doing some research. I get weekly emails from airfarewatchdog.com on flights from my local airport so that I know what the average price is for a flight and know when I truly am getting a good deal. This way I give myself plenty of time to check the cost of flights. The closer you get to your departure date the less likely you’ll get a good deal, especially during the holidays.
5. Be Flexible
The more flexible you are the better. Sites make you select a specific date but most give you a ± 3 days check box. Yet, even better than that some give you a flexible dates option where you just select a month you would like to leave. The more flexible you are the better because sometimes a day’s difference can mean hundreds of dollars more or less for your trip.
Additionally, if you look at nearby airports you may be able to find a significant difference. Smaller airports sometimes have great deals, my local airline is a tiny little one but has the best deals to Florida, so why drive an hour to the closest major airline only to pay more for the same flight?
6. Time of the Week Matters
If you just Google tips on when to or how to purchase cheap airline tickets you are going to hear the same thing over and over. So pay attention because it isn’t a coincidence. Flying is cheaper if you leave on a Wednesday or Saturday, the next best options are Tuesday and Thursdays. Why is that? Well most people want to travel over the weekends and don’t want to take days off work, when they must they are more willing to take a Monday or Friday and just make it a long weekend. Those mid week flights or Saturday flights don’t fill up as often so airlines are going to give you a better deal on those days.
Also, when you buy is important. Most airline deals go off on Monday night and by Wednesday morning they start to rise again. So shop on Tuesdays to get the best deals of the week.
7. Go Old School – Use a Travel Agent
As previously stated, everyone is there own travel agent nowadays. Which means those who are travel agents have to do better than what you can do on your own. Do your homework first, but then talk to a travel agent to see if you can find a better deal. There are also sites like FlightFox.com where you list your trip and multiple travel agents compete for your trip.
8. Connect With Airlines
Many airlines offer rewards programs or, even if you don’t want to sign up for a credit card there are loyalty programs that you can sign up with no obligations. Once you sign up with one of these programs you have the option to get on an mailing list to learn about deals or special offers.
9. Be Patient but Not Greedy
You started your search online, connected with airlines and made sure you are well informed. You have plenty of time to purchase your airline ticket and see the price you were looking for but want to wait for a better offer when all of a sudden prices shoot up. Just like at the gas station prices can fluctuate, and you may have been caught off guard waiting for it to keep going down when in reality it was back on the rise. Know the price you will feel comfortable paying and when you see it, or something close to it take advantage of it.
10. Get A Refund
Check with your airline because some airlines offer refunds if the price of your flight drops below what you paid for. >Yapta.com is a site that not only helps you track flights before you purchase but after as well. Additionally, they offer to help you with getting your refund and list which airlines are know to issue refunds and for how much.
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