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As we all think about the possibilities of holiday travel, as well as planning for our annual vacations, we discover that the friendly skies are no longer offering travel bargains. Prices are up over 15% from the same time period last year. With the still-high cost of fuel, increasing labor and insurance costs and tightening credit, airlines are squeezing every possible dollar from flyers.
So, is it possible to find cheap fares? Here are five Better Change tips to help you control the cost of travel.
Use your computer to monitor fares. Sign up for fare alerts and special offer newsletters from travel sites, such as travelocity.com, kayak.com, orbitz.com and expedia.com, as well as the airlines you use. Compete4yourseat.com is a site that encourages travel agents, who may have negotiated contracts with airlines, to “bid” to sell you tickets. Airfarewatchdog.com not only tracks and alerts you to low fares, it posts the codes that permit you to sign up for private price cuts. Farecompare.com displays the lowest prices for over 200,000 destinations, along with fares over the next eleven months. They also offer a 30-day history chart so you can gauge trends and volatility. If you see a deal, grab it. Timing is everything
Buy one-way tickets. I recently booked two one-way tickets on two different airlines and saved over $800 compared. the round trip purchase on one airline.
Buy packages. For years, I have used packages to go to Vegas, San Diego, Los Cabos, etc. By purchasing the air and hotel together instead of separate purchases, I have found deeper discounts. In some cases, a package that includes air and hotel is less than the air alone. If you don’t want the hotel, you can sell it to someone else and only use the air. Try travelworm.com. They specialize in resorts, leisure destinations, and casinos.
Be flexible. If you want to save money you need to be able adjust your travel dates or times. Zuji.com offer flexible date searches that offer lower airfares. The search engine also allows for destination searches as long as four months in advance.
Buy it now. Like a closeout sale at the mall, if you decide to buy later, it won’t be there. Quit worrying about overpaying. If you find a fare that is affordable, book it. You have no guarantee that the price will drop or, if it does drop, that you will be able to purchase it.