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Tips to Find Cheap Airfare

February 27, 2008 | Posted in: Airfare News,Tips and Tricks

I love to share my tips and tricks on finding cheap airfare, and I’ve been doing it for years.

Now, I’ve gathered together my 5-best tips (what I consider to be an essential list), and present them to you here.

Some of these tips are very “basic”; others are a little more sophisticated. But one thing they all have in common is, they work.

But don’t take my word for it. Test them for yourself.

Just click “more” for…THE LIST.

Tips to Find Cheap Airfare

The Essential List

TIP #1 – Be Flexible

  • Be willing to travel outside the typical weekend-to-weekend “box”
  • Fly less popular times of day (Noon, early afternoon, red-eyes)
  • Switch from your home airport, if you can get a better deal at a neighboring airport (even if it means driving an hour or two)

HINT: Instead of asking the boss for “the last 2-weeks of July” off, see if the boss will allow you to find the best airfare deal within an agreed upon period of time (maybe June, July or August); this way, you won’t get stuck frantically trying to find a deal for an inflexible period of time


TIP #2 – Fly the Cheapest Days of the Week

  • Wednesdays are usually the very cheapest days of the week to fly
  • Next best days: Tuesdays and Saturdays

HINT: Many airline sales require you to fly on Tuesday or Wednesday


TIP #3 – Avoid Flying During Holidays and Major Events

  • Remember, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest flying day of the year (and can be the most expensive)
  • Avoid traveling to a city when a major event is taking place (tickets to Phoenix during the week of Superbowl XLII were 3 and 4 times the normal price)

HINT: Forget visiting family at Christmas; have a big reunion after the New Year, when it’s cheaper and less hectic


TIP #4 – Fly Hub Cities (Usually)

  • If you’re in a smallish city, it may pay to drive to the nearest big airport. Example: flying from Los Angeles is usually always cheaper than Burbank
  • WARNING: this isn’t true everywhere; Cincinnati, for example, can be much more expensive than Dayton, Columbus or Indianapolis

HINT: When shopping for airfare online, look for an “option” button that allows you to compare prices with “nearby airports”


TIP #5 – Book Multiple Tickets One-at-a-Time

  • Traveling with a friend? When asked “number of passengers” while shopping online, put down 1 and not 2. Computer systems seek out multiple-seats that are the same price; if there’s a seat for less, but only one, the 2-passenger shopper won’t get it.

HINT: If you’re traveling with at least 8-people, some airlines offer “group travel” discounts (and they need not travel together: American will work with you on getting discounts for guests attending a wedding). NOTE: you should still do your own research; you may find deals that are cheaper than the airline’s discount


5 Responses to “Tips to Find Cheap Airfare”

  1. Ram Suntha says:

    My wife and I plan to travel to Sri Lanka in May. Could you please advise if we should consider round the world tickets and if so how to search for one.

    We will have a total of 15 days to travel.

    Should we buy these tickets overseas? in Singapore or Hong Kong ot Manila, etc.


  2. Joe - LA to NY and back says:


    I think you have a great site by the way, excellent work. I fly frequently to Los Angeles from New YOrk. What is and how can I find the cheapest airfare for this, it is expensive and I would like to try and make it as economical as possible?

  3. Rose says:

    Hi Rick,

    I’m from Toronto, Canada and I’m looking for 6 tickets that are either direct or 1 stop flights from Toronto to Barcelona, Spain for the middle of August 2009.We will be gone for 15 days. When is the best time to book? How should I go about booking, should it be online or with a company directly?

    Thank you for your assistance,


  4. Hello Rose,

    We appreciate you using Farecompare.com for your travel needs.

    Well Rose, I could bog you down with technical jargon but I won’t. OK, straight to the point— according to the technical data the best time to buy is usually 4-5 months in advance. Take into consideration factors that may affect you finding the lowest fare including airfare distribution time, variance in flight schedules, and airline seat inventory. At this point, we can only provide data for fares for an 11 month period, so you may want to start searching early September 2008. We suggest you set up fare alerts—alerts will notify you of any changes in price for your preferred flight. The quickest way to set up an alert would be to follow this link to My Trips: Email Alert to Anywhere Cool in Europe

    There you will find directions on how to set up your alert. Once you find the fare you desire you can book online with the airline or booking agency you are redirected to, or you can call them directly when you determine which airline or booking agency is offering the fare. We hope we have answered your questions and please feel free to email any additional questions to customer.service@farecompare.com.

    Thank you,
    Customer Care Team

  5. Linda Yamashita says:

    Hi Rick:

    My family wants to fly to Las Vegas from Kona, Hawaii. Can you tell me when is the best time to look for airfare. We can leave around December 11th and return to Kona January 3 or 4 2009. I love to read your sight. Thank you for all the hard work you do.


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