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In order to find the lowest price ticket you should know:

 

Savings for each Continent

 

Each continent of the world is unique and so is the method of finding the lowest airfare. This section is divided into seven segments, six for continents and a special section dedicated to Emergency and Bereavement fares:

 

Searching the Travel Booking Engines

Each of the travel sites listed in the left margin offer unique programs which are identified in detail later in this page. The web links open in a new window so you may easily compare prices of major competitors. It is possible one company may offer a substantial discount over the others for a variety of reasons including specially negotiated fares with individual airlines.

 

Days of Week

Usually the least expensive days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and sometimes Monday is included in the least expensive fare days.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday are usually the most high-priced but many times the differences are not very significant.

 

Minimum and Maximum Stays

 

The minimum stay requirement to receive the lowest fare is usually seven days and one Saturday night is also a requisite. The maximum stay allowed for the lowest fare is usually thirty days.  If you need to exceed the thirty-day maximum it may be best to get a quote from a consolidator able to circumvent the restrictions. One Travel and Discount Fares offer consolidator fares and may be able to help with travel plans for extended stays.

 

Special Note: Many of the airlines have recently lifted this restriction however we still see maximum stay restrictions and we are uncertain how long the no Saturday night stay will exist.

 

Time of day Requirements

Some of the Search engines are geared to deliver fares for specific times of day if you receive a particularly high quote try a different time. To see the best fare for any day displayed do not use time constraints options in travel sites. Usually you will find the lowest fare on early morning and late night "Red Eye Flights".

 

Seasonal Surcharges

 

Traveling in "High Season" can significantly increase the price you pay for a ticket. Usually high season for international travel is summer.  Finding out when summer begins can be a bit tricky and vary from one airline to another. Last year a check of seasonal surcharges between Europe and North America for three different airlines yielded three different dates. One airline instituted surcharges on 31 May, another was 15 June and still another was 30 June.  Sometimes starting the journey just a few days earlier can offer substantial savings.

 

When to Book

 

Airline seats are capacity controlled and what it means is if an airline has too many seats on a routing they will lower the fare to attract customers. Many times " fare wars" to attract  new customers will erupt six months before travel is to commence so if you are considering a trip in the future searching within six months of your anticipated departure date is a good policy.

Airfares have a notoriously short life, especially sale fares.  Sometimes between the time it is displayed and the time you try to book the fare is withdrawn. If you find an incredible fare jump on it because the number of "sale seats" are usually very limited.  Be aware of the rules for the fare because cheap fares also carry the most restrictions, and are very seldom refundable.

Usually booking within 21 days will display a higher fare at most travel sites. However if the planes are not full you can expect some reasonable fares in the last few days. North American last minute departure is usually least expensive at Hotwire. For other tips and for short notice travel see Emergency fares

 

Which On-line Booking Engine is Best

This is a lot like asking which ice cream taste best. Everyone has a different opinion. We have provided links to most of  the major booking engines to make a quick comparison of the prices offered by the various companies.  Which firm is offering the best price changes frequently.  One company may get priority over another for a particular sale and seeing what each has to offer is usually the best strategy.

 

Orbitz

 

Orbitz can only display and book tickets for travel, which include U.S. Cities.  This site makes the promise the fares available listed at Orbitz are the lowest available.  We have seen many instances where the fares on Orbitz have been lower than the airlines own web site so we have not reason to dispute the claim. For travel that originates in the U.S. this site usually returns very low fares. The fare search engine allows the checking of nearby airports within a seventy mile radius and this option can display some impressive options for those willing to be more flexible.

 

Qixo

Qixo is an interesting site that checks the major airline booking engines and sometimes returns internet fares other major competitors do not find. The site claims to search the databases of low fare airlines like European discounters Ryanair and Easyjet as well as US airlines JetBlue and Spirit but recent searches which should have returned the results for these airlines were incomplete. Qixo is the slowest of all the search engines but many times it is worth the wait.  

 

Cheap Tickets

Cheap Tickets offers a function we really like for fares in the U.S. and Canada which searches the lowest fare during a time period using flexible dates. If your travel plans are flexible, the least expensive fare with no time constrains this can be a great search option.

 

Airtimetable

Travel Now is co branded with Airtimetable and has a nice feature which allows searches of nearby cities and gives information for finding fares in other less expensive airports.   We love the destination guide included in the site. Invaluable information about getting to and from airports, and ground transportation options.

 

Expedia

 

Expedia has some fun options available at its web site: the fare compare, Fare Calendar, and airline fare list are very useful tools to find the lowest fares available in all markets.  This site offers a wealth of information and once familiar with it can help you plan your travel at the right time.

 

Travelocity

Travelocity has two features we absolutely love!  The Dream Maps section will display sale fares to many worldwide destinations from U.S. major cities.  The fare finder can be used to find the lowest fare in a particular time period and can display very  low fares on certain restricted dates.

 

One Travel

 

One Travel offers a feature the other major engines do not utilize; it has access to a database of consolidator fares. The fares may not carry the normal length of stay restrictions some other fares have.  The consolidator fares while not usually able to compete with airline sale fares, are many times less expensive and restrictive for those seeking more flexibility and longer stays

 

Discount Fares

Discountfares is a consolidator company specializing in negotiated fares.  These fares can be significantly less expensive if you expect the stay to be more than thirty days and may be more flexible in allowing changes and other considerations.

 

Opodo

 

Opodo  was founded by several major airlines in Europe and offers some great discount fares for travel which originates in Europe. Many of the European carriers which participate in this program have agreed to offer lowest fares at this site.

 

Mobissimo

 

Mobissimo: Worldwide discount airlines are now searchable with this handy tool. This site offers some great options including the ability to search all fares for a seven day period. This site searches the most discount airlines but not all discount airlines have fares in the system. This is one of our favorite sites.

 

Discount Airlines

DiscountAirlines Look for worldwide discount airlines on this search page.

 

Hotwire

 

Hotwire like Orbitz is also owned by the major U.S. Airlines but Hotwire offers tickets in a unique manner. It is selling airlines excess inventory.  If an airline has many seats on a flight they will list those seats at this site at deeply discounted prices.  This site is best for last minute bookings and the restrictions are very peculiar.  You will not know until after you purchase the ticket what airline you will be flying and what time you depart or arrive at your destination.  You will not receive frequent flyer miles for flying but you may get the biggest discount available.

 

Priceline

 

Priceline has long engineered extensive consumer savings, but be aware of what  price to offer.  If you have tried all the methods above and are still not satisfied with the lowest price  submit a bid to Priceline. You could try a bid as low as twenty-five percent below the lowest price you are aware of, but seldom are these bids accepted.  We have seen bids ten percent below the lowest price accepted, and it is worth a try. A great site to determine what your bid should be is Bidding for travel, where information about recently accepted bids is available.

 

Auction Sites

SkyAuction.com is a great site and many times offer airline and packaged deals for travel to European destinations.  This site has offered some tremendous savings packaged travel for destinations throughout the Europe. 

E bay has expanded its travel section recently and sometimes offers outstanding values and Europe is an area where many discounts are offers.

The above sites are auction sites and your bid is binding, you will be required to pay the charges once the bid is accepted.  Make certain you know how much the airline tickets are worth before you bid at the above sites.  Remember your bid is not an inquiry like the other sites mentioned above.  Your bid  is a binding contract to purchase the tickets!  

 

 

 
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