In our company’s policy, once you are 60 days out from the leaving date and have 90% of all your affairs in order, you can purchase tickets. When we got our ‘Green Light’ we were stokes!! My Love had already shopped the market and had narrowed ticket choices down. He has traveled for three years with his company before this, so he knows a thing or two about where to look and how to get the best prices. Today, he is going to show us how to shop.
Okay, so the most important thing to remember is that you have to get a little creative when shopping for plane tickets. Online travel agencies are not typically set up to make it easy to find the cheapest or best options out there (contrary to what they want you to believe).
1. Look Thoroughly
When purchasing tickets I will typically look on no fewer than 10 different websites for the best pricing. This is important because they all have strengths and weaknesses and those vary from region to region, season-to-season, or particular services and packages. For example, I have found Orbitz to be a great option when searching for vacation packages (flight + resort), however I cannot remember the last time I purchased just flights from them because they are typically not competitive.
2. Be Flexible
The second thing to keep in mind is that you can often save a lot of money by flying in or out of different airports and I have seen the difference save me thousands of dollars in the past. There are many legitimate reasons for this and plenty that just don’t make sense, but it is important to keep in mind. One great tool I have found is Kayak.com’s “Explore” option that allows you to input an airport to leave from and then see the ticket prices for places all over the world. And the same rule goes for the days you travel. If you can be flexible up to a week it will typically save you a couple hundred dollars on an international flight.
3. Join the Club?
Another question many people have is whether the frequent flyer programs are worth it on particular airlines. To this Isay that it really depends. For us, we are going to be living in Africa for the foreseeable future and will be making trips back to the U.S. every couple of years or so. I found that most of the flights on our particular route are with one particular airline and their affiliates, so I chose to buy tickets only on that airline. However, I know other international travelers who did not have the same situation where they lived and they just bought the cheapest tickets possible every time. It is really a judgment call.
4. Watch the Flux
And lastly, when you are ready to purchase a ticket I would recommend waiting for a week to see how the price fluctuates. I have found that most companies are more expensive over the weekends and cheapest midweek so I typically buy my tickets on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it may vary company to company.
Thank you, My Love! He is pretty good at this stuff. 😉 Well there you go, four tips to help you shop for your next airplane tickets. Have fun shopping!!