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Dirt cheap flights are still to be found, even in the world of ever-rising airline ticket prices and add-on fees. You just need to know how to search for cheap flights online, or what to ask your travel agent.
Common approaches to finding a cheap airline ticket almost always include performing multiple searches. It would be nice if we could just search one time and find the absolute cheapest flight possible, but that’s just not the case. It takes persistence and patience when you’re looking for rock bottom, dirt-cheap flights online so get used to the idea of searching and then searching again before you find the best fare for your flight.
Here’s some of our favorite destinations right now, where you can find blazing hot flight deals if you know where to look and which dates to pick.
Tips to get you started in finding cheap flights
Search multiple providers
The single most important factor in finding a cheap flight online is to search multiple providers. Airlines offer different rates for any given flight through a number of providers. These may include major travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity which are known as Online Travel Agencies, or OTA’s for short. Consolidators, on the other hand purchase tickets in bulk and receive a lower rate than the published fare found on most OTAs. The historic intention for a consolidator was to purchase tickets for a group of travelers, but they soon found that they could sell left over inventory to the public and make a substantial profit. A savvy flier will search consolidator sites and compare travel prices. However, it is important to note that on many domestic routes consolidator tickets may not exist, so generally speaking this search is usually only beneficial for international travel.
Select less popular travel days and dates
Patterns exist in many things in life, and especially so in travel, just look at “rush hour” traffic. The same concept applies to flights. Generally speaking, people travel during the same times. Everyone wants to leave on a Friday and come back on Sunday night or Monday for their weekend trip. With this being said, flights are usually less crowded – and cheaper – when your travel days are Tuesday through Thursday or on Saturday.
Dates that fall on “unlucky” days, like Friday the 13th, October 31st and September 11th can also result in savings, anywhere from 5 to 14 percent.
Similar to travel on weekend days, traveling on the actual day of a holiday can sometimes result in better prices as they tend to be days that people are spending with their families rather than traveling. So if you’re traveling close to a holiday such as Easter, Christmas Day, New Years Eve consider searching on that day also.
Search unpopular times of the day
5am (at least for most people) is hardly a time of day they want to consider getting on a plane, and it’s no easier due to security now days which usually warrants showing up at least an hour early, if not two. That being said, there are deals to be had when you pick times of day others don’t want to travel. Consider combining off times with off days when you search, and you can sometimes find substantial savings.
Search nearby airports
If you live in a city that has multiple airports in the metro area, consider searching for flights departing from the ’smaller’ or ‘less popular one. The same can be applied to searching for your destination city. For example, you might consider flying into Orange County or Long Beach instead of Los Angeles proper.
Tips for cheap flights to specific airports
Each location can have its own quirks that can help to finding a cheap flight. This can include anything from airlines that have a hub in the city, or the number of airports within the metro area. Select one of the destinations listed on the right to find cheap flight tips and information about the specific destination’s airport infrastructure.