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This Simple Step Can Save You a Bundle on Airfares -- But Most People Don't Do It

Aug 18, 2007
You may have noticed that airfares aren't as cheap as they used to be. Ever since fuel prices went through the roof, airlines are really struggling to keep prices low.

But the price hikes are worse than you know. While the Internet is still a great place to find deals, the airlines have finally become Internet-savvy. If you're not careful, you'll pay more than you have to for that vacation.

Does that mean you have to drive everywhere now? Or worse, not go on vacation at all? Hardly. There's still a way to save on airfare. But there's one very simple thing you have to do to make sure you're getting the best deal.

The most important thing to remember when searching for an airfare online is never search just one website. This may sound obvious, but most people assume that the discount airlines or discount sites (such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Sidestep, and Expedia) have the best rate. That's not always true.

The discount sites have exclusive deals with certain airlines, but not others. So they may have the cheapest fares, but you won't know for sure until you've checked JetBlue and Southwest (which don't deal with the discount sites). And the discounters all have different deals with the airlines, so they don't always have the same information.

You'll also want to make sure you check each of the airlines' own sites in addition to the discount sites -- even if they work with the discounters. Many airlines don't advertise some of their best fares. You'll find them only if you stumble onto them on their websites or know where else to look.

One great website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, does this search of all the airline and discount sites for you. It's quick and easy to use. And what I like about it (in addition to the great fares) is you have to input your travel schedule only once (instead of multiple times at every site).

But as valuable as Airfare Watchdog is, I wouldn't assume that it will necessarily find the best deal. You never know when a one of the airlines will offer a special web deal on its own site. Or give a special deal to one of the discount sites. So search around and make sure you've saved all the money you can. There are still great deals to be had, but you have to know where to look -- and now you know.

(Source: Donna Rosato, "5 dirty secrets of airfares," Money magazine online www.money.cnn.com, September 9 2006.)
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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