Airfare

Flights

In the past, trying to find reasonably-priced airfare may have caused you anxiety, frustration, and a powerful urge to pull out every strand of hair on your head. However, today’s competitive travel market has companies stumbling over each other to provide consumers with the best deals. We compared dozens of websites promising the lowest prices of airfare, and we’ve come up with some resources and advice to help you navigate your way through the world of bargain flights.

The Realities of Air Travel

The key to getting a fair price on flights is to be savvy and shop around. Some travel websites advertise outrageously inexpensive deals, but these rates are often the exception. The company may have been able to arrange a flight at that low fare for one or two people, and then they advertise that amount to draw you in. After calling the company, you may find that the flights that they can book for you are actually around the same price as any other website.

Keep in mind that your ticket prices are determined by several different factors, and you’ll need to purchase tickets based on your priorities. Consider the following:

  • Flights that are non-stop are typically going to cost more; the cheapest ticket prices usually have two or more layovers, and you will take longer to arrive at your destination.
  • Ticket prices are different depending on where you’ll be flying from. For example, it’s far less expensive to travel to Argentina out of Miami than out of Indianapolis.
  • Recognize that you might need to be flexible with your travel dates in order to find the absolute lowest price. As an example, returning on June 3 may set your airfare rate at $2000; if you return on June 5, it may only cost $1700. Several websites provide charts that display the difference between leaving or returning a couple of days outside of your original plan.

Typically, the cost of air travel is under $2,000 through most of the year, but this rate can rise up to $2,500 during the summer and the Christmas holiday periods. If your first price quote is $3,000 or higher, don’t worry; you should be able to find something more reasonable.

Helpful Tips

These are some of our tips for finding good deals on airfare:

  • Monitor flight prices. We find that the best time to buy tickets is about three months in advance. Airlines often have cycles related to the seasons; February would probably be a good time to buy tickets for a flight in June, when most people aren’t thinking of summer plans. If you book too early or too closely to your departure date, you may find higher rates than if you plan appropriately.
  • If your ticket prices go down after you’ve already purchased them, a lot of companies will refund you the difference, so keep an eye on rates even after you’ve acquired your tickets.
  • Many companies only have a select number of seats available, and they may all be reserved if you wait too long to secure your place on the flight.
  • If you receive a price quote through a company like Priceline or Orbitz, you may be able to save money if you go directly to the airline’s website and book the flights there.

Resources for Airfares

A couple of the places that we look to first are Orbitz.com and Kayak.com. These websites are standard, reliable sources. Although you probably will be able to find a better deal somewhere else, you can begin to get an idea of your price range by looking at rates through these or other conventional travel companies. If you choose to look here, booking flights through these websites may also be easier and less time-consuming than other routes because your arrangements are already taken care of. You don’t have to coordinate with the airlines yourself, which can be a hassle if you end up flying with several different airlines. Another perk to using companies like Orbitz or Kayak is that they often have connections with travel insurance companies and you can purchase an insurance plan while booking your flight.

If you are willing to wiggle your arrangements around to get where you need to be, Travelzoo.com is a great place to look for deals. They connect you with discount prices to select locations during select dates, so be aware that you may not be able to find a flight to your country that fits your schedule. If you do find a flight, the departure airport may not be the closest one to you. For example, you may find a great deal on Travelzoo.com for a flight from Miami, Florida, to Lima, Peru, but you live in Colorado. You’ll have to arrange your travel from Denver to Miami separately. In the end, the cost of your flight from Denver to Miami added with the discounted price of your flight from Miami to Peru may end up costing the same as if you went through a travel company to get you straight from Denver to Lima. However, it may end up saving you hundreds of dollars instead; the trade-off is that you have to put in extra time and research. Southwest Airlines has excellent prices if you are flying within the United States, so you may get a deal through Southwest that will open up your options for flights from other U. S. cities.

One source to consider for airfare deals is an airfare discounter. These companies contract with airlines to sell tickets at discounted prices. A couple of these organizations that we use are justfares.com and asaptickets.com. You usually need to contact the companies directly by phone in order to purchase tickets and organize your flight information. We also advise that you look at weflyhome.com, a discount site for Lufthansa Airlines, if you’re program is in India or Poland. Although this website does offer flights to other countries, India and Poland are the only two that ELI has programs in.

For students or teachers, we suggest that you research flights through STA Travel and Student Universe. These two companies focus on providing airfare information for students and educators.

Airfare Watch and Compare

There are some websites that focus on helping you to find the best rates by offering different kinds of services.

  • FareCompare:

All of the available travel websites ask for the airports through which you’ll be travelling and your ideal departure and return dates. Farecompare.com inputs this information into several travel websites at once so that you can see the rates through different companies and only enter your information in once. 

  • Airfarewatchdog:

This company follows deals regarding your flights and emails you when exceptional prices become available. Some airlines offer great bargains, but for a very limited time. Airfarewatchdog scours the airlines for deals and notifies you with details.

  • Yapta:

Yapta offers similar services to FareCompare and Airfarewatchdog, but all within the same site. You can enter your information and choose different travel websites to compare, and Yapta will also notify you if your ticket price drops. 

 

studentuniverse

Students in the U.S should always check students sites for deals.
You can check StudentUniverse's fares here:

 

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