Strategies for Securing the Lowest Airfare Online

While the average cost of airfare has fluctuated dramatically over recent years, you can still save a tidy sum by seeking out the best deals online. The explosion of online shopping has helped reduce airline costs. Savvy shoppers still have a number of strategies that they use to find the best deals across the Internet.

If you are a price-conscious shopper, remember that you can find a significant range in prices for the same flight. Consider these money-saving tips to help you secure the lowest fares possible.

Price-comparison tools

A number of Web sites help customers easily compare prices online. With a host of different operators, visiting every single Web site can be a real chore. Airfare clearinghouse sites do the work for you. Simply enter your basic flight requirements, click search and the Web site will go to a variety of airlines to find the best deal for you. The best thing about many of these sites is that they now also offer a mobile app so that you can search on the move. Keep in mind that all airlines don't always participate in these types of Web sites, so you may have to do a little additional research if an airline you like to use isn't included.

Online promotions

Sign up for email alerts from airlines you prefer so you can get information about new promotions or special online deals. Airlines want passengers to book online, because it is more profitable for them. Some retailers also offer promotions or loyalty programs that allow points from shopping to be used for travel. Visit the Web sites for your favorite retailers, and add your name to email mailing lists or sign up for promotional programs.

Book early

The price of most airfares increases as the availability of seats decreases. That means that when flights are first released, they are likely to be cheaper (in some cases considerably cheaper). If you know that you will be traveling at a certain time, try booking fares as early as possible to get the best deals. Subscribe to email alerts from the top airlines to ensure that you are notified when a new batch of flights is released.

Last-minute deals

While the best flight deals are available to those who can plan ahead, last-minute deals can also be good money-savers. Sites like www.lastminute.com, for example, can do all the work for you, finding out if it's cheaper to mix airlines or to change dates in order to secure the best deals. Last-minute deals are not a good strategy if your schedule is not flexible. But if you can be spontaneous, you can save a lot of money.

Don't fall foul of cookies

Cookies are text files of information placed on your hard drive when you visit a Web site. They can make life a lot easier if you visit the same site on a regular basis, because they remove the need for the site to keep looking up or asking for your personal information. The trouble is, however, that cookies can sometimes display outdated information to you simply to ensure that the page loads quicker. That could mean that when you are browsing, new and cheaper fares are omitted from the search. Make sure that you delete your cookies every time you return to the site.

Online airfares have greatly reduced the cost of travel, but you still can find good deals. Be prepared to spend time researching your options, and you could save even more money.

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