1. Be patient. A good price on flights is required. Now, don't let that deter you, because saving $ 100 + on flights might mean getting more money to spend on seeing, hotel, eating out, tours, etc. This means that if you want to travel in Spring, you must start checking prices in late Fall or Winter. Sometimes there are deals at the last minute, but more often than not, you will find the best deals at least 21 days before the departure date.
The first thing in the morning (around 9:00 AM, and in the evening, after 6:00 PM) I like to browse travel websites to see if there are any shows being offered that day. I also like to delete browser history and cookies, because travel websites and airlines will sometimes remember your search and this may actually increase prices.
My favorite website is Skyscanner. One of the great features about this site is that you can check to see the best price for the day is to travel around the world from your preferred airport. For example, I live in Toronto, so I will enter flights from Toronto (YYZ) to everywhere. This is a great feature because it will tell me where on that day, i.e. date, month, etc. It is cheaper for me to travel anywhere in the world. (I recently used this site to help me get tickets for my flight to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines were charging $ 1,000- $ 1,500 for flights to Seoul, but Delta was promoting it and was able to get back and forth flights for only $ 850 CAD / 770 USD with the exchange rate.)
Another great feature of Skyscanner, is that you can set your destination and travel dates and subscribe to "price alerts" so they send you an email if the price goes up or down for your specific travel dates. (My sister just used this feature to help her get a trip to Edmonton, Alberta to travel in May. Round trip prices ranged between $ 300 and $ 400 and I was able to get it for CAD 269.)
Another site I like to use is Expedia. Every day they will offer travel deals available to the largest domestic and international tourist destinations. It will also include deals deals for "Trip + Hotel". This helps me feel the average cost for example, a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let's say that the price of a 4-night trip and hotel to Vegas over the sector ranges from $ 500 to $ 600 per person from Toronto, I would like to try to monitor with deals that are equal to or less than that price – that's how I know I'm saving money and getting the best rates.
One thing about Expedia is that the advertised price is not always available. If you've been looking at their flight offers for last-minute vacations, I might see round-trip airline tickets to Miami for 250 Canadian dollars (departing from Toronto), but once the deal is clicked on, he might say the price went up to CAD 350 instead. This is not always the case, but it does happen occasionally which is something to keep in mind.
Other websites I like to use are: Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor and Airfarewatchdog.
2. Check out the airline's direct website. Although third-party travel websites can be great, sometimes the best unannounced deals are found directly on the airline's website. I recommend signing up for email promotions provided through your favorite airline. For example, since I lived in Canada, I have subscribed to Air Canada travel offers. This let me see special offers available as soon as they appear live on the Air Canada website.
I really wanted to take a weekend trip to New York City with my sister in February to celebrate her 21st birthday. In addition to checking out third-party websites, I also like to play with dates by entering travel in Air Canada. They didn't announce this deal, but I was able to find direct flights from YYZ to LGA for $ 199. This was so much that I was so happy to find Air Canada. Sometimes, Airline also offers promotional codes, so it's helpful to take a look.
3. Check the departures / arrivals from alternative airports. This is not always convenient, but sometimes many major cities have more than one airport or there is another airport near it in another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport that provides domestic and international flights and Billy Bishop Airport that provides specific flights within Canada and the United States of America. There is also the option to drive across the border and exit from Buffalo Airport as well. Traveling from Buffalo Airport is always less expensive than Pearson or Billy Bishop. But the downside is the most, (if not all flights) is not straightforward, and you will have to pay for parking because most people leave their car at the airport while traveling. Flying from Buffalo is always my last resort, because it is 90 minutes' drive from Toronto (you have to think about gas fees) and depending on how long your flight takes, parking costs may raise that discount flight to or around the same cost of the flight if She had left from YYZ or YTZ. However, sometimes there are significant savings you can have when traveling from Buffalo, which will definitely make it worth your time. (When I dealt with the airline travel company in my previous job, flights occurred at the last minute often, and if there was a group of two or more that needed to travel to the United States of America, an airline from Buffalo saved the company with more than $ 300 to $ 600 Dollars per airline ticket.)
This can also be said not about the departure airport you choose, but also the arrival airport. For example, when traveling to New York City, there are three primary airports that you can choose to reach: LGA, JFK, or EWR. Sometimes you can get a better price when you get to one airport over another. One thing to keep in mind is traveling from the airport to your hotel. If you're transporting public transportation, you can get to Manhattan from LGA for less than $ 2.50 when getting on the bus and train. However, the price is a little more when arriving to Manhattan than EWR because you have to use New Jersey, then switch to Manhattan's transportation system. If you're taking a taxi, the rates you get from each airport to Manhattan may vary. This is an important point to keep in mind and I recommend that you do your research before traveling.
4. Follow airlines and third-party travel sites on Twitter (social media) and subscribe to their mailing list. One of the great features about social media is that airlines can use this to advertise special travel offers through some social media. Sometimes, an airline offers a special promotional code through a Twitter or Facebook page that is not advertised on other websites. West Jet introduces Thursdays Blue Tag, a special promotion that is offered only on Thursday afternoon (unless they have another special offer during this time). You can find this on their website, or watch that advertised on Twitter or their Facebook page. When subscribing to the mailing lists of the third-party site or airline, they will occasionally send special promotions to their subscribers that give you secret access to their sale.
5. Don't be afraid to book your flight and hotel separately. Sometimes, you can get a lot more on sites like Expedia when you bundle your vacation and book flights and hotels at the same time, but that's not always the case. If you see an exceptional package on a flight, book now, don't wait! You may be able to find a better rate at the hotel later. I also recommend that if you really see a lot on a flight, please book it now, rather than wait until later in the day. Let's say you see a lot on a trip to San Francisco in the morning, but wait until you get home from work to buy tickets, and this may not help you.
I'll give you an example: I grew up in San Francisco and I was looking for flights to return and return (this was in October 2012), but they were about $ 600 and wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later, Delta had sold and offered flights from Toronto to San Francisco for CAD 437. This was an unbelievable price, given that all I could see was $ 600 + in previous weeks, so I didn't wait and immediately bought tickets. I checked later that afternoon to see if the deal was still alive and the price had returned to $ 600. I highly recommend booking when you see a price you feel a lot about, as it may disappear sooner than you think.
Sometimes, if you are booking multi-city flights, it may be more costly to book them separately than for the airline itself. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to travel from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles to home to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily to get the best deal. She eventually managed to get a sale through Air Canada for flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles to Toronto. I waited when booking a local USA flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Air Canada obviously didn't offer that and the prices were around $ 100 USD for this one-way trip at the time. About a week later, I was on Southwest.com and saw that they had a "Getaway" deal for $ 49 USD for the trip I needed from LAS to LAX. This was great, so of course booked it right away. The price for a multi-city airline ticket has ended completely at a cost of $ 515. (YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost me $ 466 Canadian and Southwest trip from LAS to LAX cost $ 49).
6. Find out what time of the year and which days are cheaper to fly. Travel is usually cheaper on Tuesday and Wednesday than on any other day of the week. (In general, midweek searches for flights also result in the best deals). From experience, I also find that Thursdays and Saturdays can sometimes offer better prices as well. Of course, this doesn't happen all the time, and you'll have to try dates, which is why Skyscanner is great for deciphering the least expensive day to leave and return. The days that tend to be more expensive are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place from Monday to Friday, which is why they tend to be more expensive to leave than Monday and return on Friday. However, business travelers started flying on Sunday instead of Monday in the hope of getting affordable fare, but that doesn't always work. Obtaining the cheapest departure time per week is of course dependent on the flexibility of your travel dates.
The time of year also helps. It is usually cheaper to travel to Europe in off-season and shoulder seasons (late fall, winter and early spring). Last year (2013) my parents traveled to Paris in April on direct flights with Transat Airlines from Toronto for CAD $ 671 each. This isn't the best price I've ever seen, but it was definitely the best deal at the time for non-stop round trips. Traveling during the shoulder or shoulder season is not always negative. Sometimes due to bad weather, you will not want to travel during the off-season, but generally the season is less crowded and offers better rates.
I find that now (early spring) traveling to Las Vegas is a little more expensive (around $ 400 to $ 500 Canadian) because most people prefer to go there during the spring before it gets very hot in the summer months. (I compare this to the flight offers that I saw last winter at about $ 350 CAD). It is always wise to check events that happen during the dates you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes they can spend a great vacation or conference meeting prices. I always suggest setting the average price of trips to your favorite destination, then observe the extent of price fluctuations.
7. Save money on your luggage. Most airlines now charge $ 25 per way to check your luggage. You will be charged an additional fee if your luggage exceeds the airline's weight limit. You can avoid this by filling in the light and making sure that your luggage does not exceed the allowable limit (check with the airline to confirm the weight limit and to obtain checked baggage prices). Also, if you are on a short trip, consider sharing one luggage with your travel partner (s). This can save you $ 50 on travel costs, because it costs $ 25 per way to check your luggage.
If you are taking a shorter trip (weekend trip) then just consider carrying the luggage and forgetting the specific bag. Most airlines will allow you to bring a small amount of fluid onto the plane. If you are going for a quick weekend trip, you may be able to drop by carrying a bag. I did this for my trip last month to New York City. I went to my store in local dollars and bought a small travel bag of transparent plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night / day cream, foundation, etc. Also included are adhesive stickers, so I knew everything. I realize this is not practical for everyone, but for a two night trip, I prefer to spend $ 1 on travel bag in Dollarama and then $ 50 to buy a specific bag. It also saves me the hassle of waiting to retrieve my checked bag in Luggage Claim.
8. Walk around for travel / health insurance. I always recommend getting travel or health insurance (additional) for your trip, but sometimes you don't get the best rate when determining the insurance package offered by the airline when booking your flights. Your work insurance usually provides some type of travel or health coverage when traveling. Talk to HR about this if you are unsure. You can also buy insurance through your bank – where I tend to find the best rates. This will also be cost-effective in the long run in your plan and travel multiple times during the year. (Instead of paying for the insurance each time you book a flight, you can get coverage through your bank or any alternative venue for the year for a specific fee.) If you are over 40 years old (or have a record of health problems), I recommend purchasing additional health coverage (even if I was already covered by work). Unfortunately, we can never predict what might happen while traveling, and if the sky allows anything, you will be happy that you have purchased the additional health insurance. This is something unique to everyone, so I cannot tell you what is the best option, and this is something you need to discuss with your HR, your bank and your family in order to find the best option for you.
9. Avoid paying for a seat selection (if you can). Some airlines require an additional fee for pre-seat selection, sometimes included in the price – if that's the case, then that's great, but if you had to pay $ 20 or more to make a pre-seat selection, I would check. You can usually check in early (24 hours before leaving the flight) and make a free seat selection. You may or may not get the seats you want. It's a hit or miss. If you do not have a preference for where you sit, or do not want to take a risk, you should avoid paying the additional fees for choosing a seat in advance.
10. Take advantage of travel reward programs. There is a lot of competition between airlines and credit cards today, so sign up for their travel rewards programs. Talk to your bank and see which travel reward credit card suits your needs. Many of them allow you to collect points on your daily spending so that you can exchange them for free trips. Some of these credit cards have conditions, such as you can only book flights through your bank, or there are travel break dates. However, given the sheer amount of travel rewards credit cards offered today, it is improving and you can find one that does not have any of these conditions. This means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards come with a slight annual membership fee, but the rewards alone are worth it.
The same applies to airline frequent flyer programs. The more you travel with one airline, the more traveler points you collect. This is great for business travelers because while their company pays the cost of their flights, they are able to accumulate frequent flyer points so they can exchange them for their trips during personal holidays. Some companies even allow employees to book their own trips, then send receipts to retrieve them. This allows the employee to earn points on their travel reward credit card in addition to the frequent flyer points.
I hope these tips will help you when booking your next vacation or trip. Please note that these tips have worked well for my own experience, but they may not work for everyone. The main thing to remember is that the key to getting the best deal on your trips is to be patient and flexible with your travel dates.