7 Tips For Getting Cheap Flight Deals

7 Tips For Getting Cheap Flight Deals
Airfares can be a huge part of any vacation budget, but experts often know hidden ways of finding the cheapest flights. A little research can often save hundreds of dollars per ticket. While cruises depart from over a dozen homeports across North America, your desired itinerary may not be within driving distance. Getting a low airfare deal can make the difference between taking the vacation of your dreams or settling for something else closer to home.

If you’re looking for a fantastic airfare deal for your next vacation, here are seven insider tips for finding a great cheap flight:

1. Check These Flight Search Sites. If you’re looking for the lowest price airfares, check out sites known for yielding low prices such as Matrix Airfare Search, Google Flights, Skyscanner.com, Momondo.com, Kayak.com, AirfareWatchdog.com, Priceline.com and FareCompare.com. Apps from Hopper, Airfarewatchdog, Jetradar and Skyscanner can be helpful for mobile users, too. Compare any prices you find to fares available directly through the airlines. If the fares are the same, book directly through the airlines. It’s also helpful to consult with experienced travel agents. They can often find excellent fares and can assist you with the rest of your trip as well.

2. Sign Up for Newsletters. Newsletters can be a great source of information on short-term low fares, flight deals and airfare sales. If you’re searching for cheap international airfares, check out Scott's Cheap Flights (scottscheapflights.com.) The site sends out bulletins several times a week with incredible airfare steals, like New York City to Copenhagen for $309 round-trip or Philadelphia to Quito for $328 round-trip. Travelzoo.com also sends out newsletters with great domestic and international airfare deals. It’s also wise to sign up for airline newsletters, which will alert you to quick-moving flash sales. Watch for these sales by following your favorite airlines on Twitter and Facebook as well.

3. Get Flight Alerts. Looking for cheap airfares on a specific route and have several weeks to shop? Register for flight alerts on Airfarewatchdog.com, Kayak.com, Yapta.com and FareCompare.com. These sites will notify you when flight prices for your itinerary drop substantially. If you have bucket list travel dreams just waiting for low airfares, sign up for multiple flight alerts.

4. Use Flexible Dates. If you’re considering several different dates for your vacation or cruise, check the flight costs for all options before booking. In addition, consider arriving a day or two before your cruise or leaving later in order to save on airfares. Arriving at your embarkation port a day before your cruise is strongly suggested to avoid missing the ship and other potential problems caused by cancellations and flight delays.

5. Fly On The Cheapest Days. Typically, the cheapest flights can be found on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you have some flexibility, check flight costs on these days and compare them with any other travel dates you have in mind.

6. Include Alternate Airports. Consider driving to an alternative airport, especially if it is served by a low-fare airline. A one-hour drive can often deliver savings of several hundred dollars per ticket, making your dream vacation suddenly affordable. Examples of alternative airports might include checking flights to/from Baltimore/Washington International airport in addition to Washington Reagan and Washington Dulles or Fort Lauderdale in addition to Miami. If a major international airport is within a low-cost bus or train ride, it might be worth checking those alternative flights as well.

7. Consider Low-Fare Airlines. Low cost airlines such as Spirit, Frontier, WOW air and Norwegian can offer some incredible deals on flights, particularly during their sales. It’s important to be aware that these low-fare airlines typically charge for "extras" such as seat reservations, checked and carry-on luggage and other items. Advertised cheap fares typically cover only the most basic service on these carriers, which is great if that’s all you need. When you’re comparing flight options, make sure to compare the total cost of flying on these airlines with fares offered by other major carriers. Southwest Airlines offers a number of "extras" free of charge, such as two checked bags and no change fees. Southwest’s flights and prices do not show up on most airfare sites, so make sure to check out their fares at Southwest.com before booking alternatives.

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