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3 Steps to Find the Lowest Online Airfares Every Time You Travel

Feb 25, 2008
It seems that every few months a new airline ticketing site is announced with new and improved airfare search tools. It is clearly a maze of online booking sites out there. So, how can you be sure that you are paying the best price available for your ticket? Follow these three easy steps to be sure that you get the absolute best airfare whenever you fly.

#1 Begin your search at booking sites with metasearch capability. These sites search multiple (often hundreds) of airline ticket sites at once and deliver the results back to you in an easy to understand chart for easy comparison. Here are the most popular metasearch sites: KAYAK.com, FARE CHASE.com, QIXO.com, MOBISSIMO.com, SIDESTEP.com and MOMONDO.com

I use KAYAK most often as their format allows the selection of dates, times of travel, number of stops, and class of service right in the beginning of the search. I also like the chart feature that lets you see if the fares presented that day are historically high or low. Give MOMONDO, a Belgium company, a try especially if you are searching for European airfares.

I usually price my journey on at least two sites. You will need to pay particular attention to the conditions of the lowest fares offered. Sometimes they will involve leaving from one local airport and returning to another, or may have an unusually long (and undesirable) lay over, so check the flight details very carefully. Avoid tickets that involve a mix of airline carriers if you will be traveling with luggage. Not only will it be a challenge for you to change terminals, but you will be increasing the odds that your luggage will be lost in transit.

If the lowest fare is offered at an airline web site, always purchase the ticket there. It is far better to have a ticket issued by the airline you will be flying with in case of delays or cancellation.

#2 Search the low cost airlines and auction sites. Many of the low cost airlines do not allow their fares to appear on other booking sites; you must go to them directly. Southwest, Spirit Airways, Midwest Express, and Frontier Airlines are all low cost carriers who may serve your area. For auction sites, give Priceline.com and Hotwire.com a try. If you are looking for low cost airlines flying within Europe, have a look on DoHop.com and WhichBudget.com.

#3 Enter your trip in a fare tracking system.
Kayak and Orbitz have excellent airfare tracking systems. Simply enter the cities you are traveling between and the ticket price you wish to pay (or the price you have just paid). They will email you whenever airline prices match or drop below that fare. Last year I saved a bundle when tickets prices dropped for a sale. I was able to call the airline as soon as a sale was announced and have my tickets reissued at the lower fare, what can be better than that!
About the Author
Susan has worked in the travel industry for many years, and writes a daily blog of great travel tips at http://www.WickedGoodTravelTips.com. Wicked Good Travel Tips is a community of avid travelers sharing insider tips about traveling the world. Come visit us for the best travel tips on the web.
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