Tips For Finding Cheap Airfare

Image Have you ever gone to look at airline ticket prices one day, and then check them again the next day and they’re either $300 cheaper/more expensive? I know I have! What gives? I was curious enough to do some research and discovered that the airline industry has a crazy pricing system that changes fares daily using algorithms and data I’ll never understand (nor want to).

I am in the midst of planning a cross-country trip, and am trying to find the cheapest way to get there. Although a road trip would be fun, I’m not sure my faithful Toyota Highlander from 2001 would make it there with me. So, flying it is…

Just last night (Sunday), I had checked ticket prices for a roundtrip fare from Boston to San Francisco, and the cheapest flight was over $700! Now, today, the prices have come down to the low $600 range. I checked out a few articles online for tips and tricks on finding the cheapest flights possible and here is what I found:

  • According to this Wall Street Journal article, “Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, the three big online ticket-sellers, all say their busiest day for bookings is Tuesday and the slowest day is Saturday. Expedia says Saturdays have about half the volume of Tuesdays.”  So Tuesday is your best bet for finding the lowest fare.
  • Kayak has a tool called Explore that lets you set your desired fare. That way, you can plan your trip around what you’re hoping to spend and not change your entire itinerary because a round trip ticket is upwards of $800!
  • FareCompare.com suggests booking departing flights on Wednesday. According to the website, mid week is the least expensive way to fly.  “The day with the most seats is likely to have better supply, and thus … more empty seats that require discounting to fill the plane—meaning they’ll have to release more seats at their cheapest price point.”
  • Check Twitter and Facebook for travel deals. I follow JetBlue’s twitter handle @JetBlueCheeps that regularly announces sales- last year I was able to book a flight to California for under $300, which is basically like seeing a unicorn, these days.
  • Download SkySkanner– a mobile app that lets you check and compare cheap flights at your convenience.
  • Lastly, check out this Business Insider article which offers creative ways to find the cheapest flights possible! Don’t forget to check on Kayak, Expedia, or Travelocity.

Update: I practiced what I preached and checked out the flight prices on Tuesday around noon- down to $370! I am now the proud owner of a round trip ticket to San Francisco! Can’t wait to land in the Bay area next Tuesday 🙂

If you have any other travel tips for saving the big bucks on fares, please send them my way! -L

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