Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Finding the Best Deal on Travel (Updated)

Are you looking for some easy ways to save money on your travel? Well in my experience it takes work and luck to save any real money. There is no magic web site, phone number to call, or person to talk to. Its all the above, and its all about research.

General advice for getting the best discounts:
  • Reserve your ticket as earlier as you can (about 4-6 weeks) to get the best price and seat availability.
  • Indirect flights are generally cheaper then direct flights, but varies from destination to destination.
  • Be flexible about the dates you travel, traveling during the week can be cheaper then the weekend. Also being willing to stay over on a Saturday night might help reduce the cost.
  • If you're older then 55 or have a child under 12, check for senior or child discounts.
  • If you fly a lot leverage your frequent flyer miles when you purchase your tickets.
  • Sometimes choosing a different airport depending on the destination can save you some money.
  • According the following article, the best time to buy tickets is: "Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's 'home base.'" Read the article for more information.
Below are sites that you can use for finding the best deals related to air travel:
  • Farecast: General airline price comparison site.
  • Kayak: General airline price comparison site.
  • Mobissimo: General airline price comparison site.
  • Wegolo: Airline price comparison site for low-cost European carriers.
  • Priceline: Bid on your tickets and hotel. (General rules of advice for using this site, bid close to the date that you want to go to your destination. Also search the lowest price and then bid 30%-40% below that.)
  • Airfarewatchdog.com: Uses real people instead of computers programs to find you the best deal.
Below are some additional travel related sites that may help you to prepare to get to your destination:
  • FlightAware: Get free live flight tracking.
  • Wikitravel: A free worldwide travel guide. If you're traveling in Europe and looking for the the cheapest flights, check out the following Wiki page called "Discount airlines in Europe."
  • National Traffic and Road Closure Information: The title says it all, but only applies to the U.S.
  • TripAdvisor: Provides recommendations for hotels, travel guides and more.
  • VirtualTourist: A travel community where travelers and locals share travel advice.
  • EuroCheapo: Reviews of cheap hotels in Europe.
  • Check out this article about 'Rule 240', if your flight is delayed or canceled find out what your rights are. (they might not tell you)
  • SeatGuru: Find the best seats on a particular type of airplanes flown by different carriers.
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