Posted June 29, 2010 by Jaclyn LiechtiWritten by Ed Perkins
- Time of the year: Try offseason, which varies by destination. It'll be fourth quarter to domestic warm-weather areas; when schools are in session for theme parks; fall, winter, and spring for Europe; and days within extended holidays, avoiding dates immediately before and after major holidays. Remember, destination cost seasonality may differ from airfare seasonality.
- Day of week: The consensus for domestic travel includes Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
- Time of day: The consensus for domestic travel includes early morning, overnight red-eye, late evening, mid-day.
- Check Hotwire for historical fare patterns on busy routes.
Where to Fly
- Fares to or from nearby airports may be lower than those to/from a preferred airport.
- Fares to or from airports with lots of low-fare service are lower on all lines than fares at monopoly airports.
- Fares on connecting flights are often lower than on nonstops.
When to Buy
- Look for periodic "sales."
- Some mavens say Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Some say Wednesday at midnight or afternoon. Some say Sunday.
- Not too early. Promotional fares are usually not posted more than four-to-five months ahead.
How to Shop
- Be flexible. That's rule No. 1 for getting the best prices.
- Compare all the options by searching multiple sites.
- Include the fees for whatever extras you want.
- Consider air-hotel or air-car packages.
- Consider a travel agent.
- Consider "opaque" buying if you're flexible about schedules.
How to Stay in the Know
- Sign up for email, RSS, Twitter, and other fare alerts.
(Photo: iStockphoto/Tomas Bercic)
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