Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Make sure you get the best deal for summer travel

Sure, the discounts aren't as deep as they were last year, but airlines have continued to offer deals in one form or another just about every week.

Air fares in general are pretty high right now. In fact, airlines have successfully raised domestic fares six times already since the beginning of the year. Plus, they have significantly increased fuel surcharges on international flights, to the tune of $400 per round trip ticket for some flights from the U.S. to Europe! Over the next six months, odds are good that average fares will continue to rise.

Here's some tips and advice that can save you some money.

1. Check early, check often.
While now may not be the right time to buy, it is definitely the right time to start searching. Start checking fares at least once a week, so you get a sense of what the market?s like and whether fares to your destination city are rising or falling.

2. Day of the week matters.
For domestic travel, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the least expensive days to fly; Friday and Sunday the most. If you are flexible and can schedule your trip on these less expensive days, you can often save $40-$100 per ticket.

3. Do your searching on Tuesdays.
Believe it or not, some days are cheaper to buy flights than others. If you are checking for fares every week, your best odds of finding a good deal will be on Tuesdays. Second best: Mondays.

4. Be Realistic

Fares in 2011 are higher than in 2009 or 2010. If you wait around to find the same deal you got last year, you may be out of luck. Fuel is almost twice as expensive and the economy is in at least somewhat better shape. So expect to pay more. On average, the lowest possible fare in each domestic market is $40 more than it was a year ago.

5. Don’t Wait too Long

The ideal time to buy an airline ticket is usually about 4-8 weeks before your trip for domestic travel — and 6-10 weeks for international. One immutable fact, though, is that once a flight starts to fill up, it gets more and more expensive and there is nothing you can do about that. So don’t wait too long. Especially for domestic flights where many of the sales are flash, one day sales that are limited to only a handful of seats per plane. If you do suddenly see a good fare on a flight you’ve been watching, we suggest you grab it before someone else does. If you can’t buy it immediately, at least try to come back that same day, in case the fare increases overnight.

To search for airfares: http://booking.queertrip.com/

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