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Airfare savings

Travellers cling to all sorts of incorrect approaches to getting the lowest airfares. "The sites of the airlines are always cheapest." "Southwest Airlines is always cheapest." "Tickets to Thailand are always cheapest on the Internet." And, on and on.

Websites of airlines like Air Canada, American, and United may at times be as cheap as any site if you are booking far ahead.

However, I can nearly guarantee you that airline sites are not the cheapest—sometimes by hundreds of dollars—if you are ~

  • booking at the last-minute,
  • booking international travel,
  • booking when you're not staying over a Saturday night, and especially
  • booking where the airline picks your departure time.

These pages give you the basic skills needed to make money-saving Internet and other travel reservations.

You'll master a variety of techniques to save both time and money, including combination fares, open jaw travel, and circle trips.

Three basic tips

In addition to these tips,

  • In order to find the best regular fares available, always check out an airfare search engine such as

    There are two major reasons for using sites like these—

    First, too many travellers make the mistake of just checking one or two airline sites, and therefore miss cheaper alternatives.

    For example, do you know that

    Cathay Pacific—a great airline—will fly you nonstop between New York (JFK) and Vancouver?

    Alaska Airlines travels nonstop between Washington, DC (Reagan National) and Los Angeles?

    Air New Zealand serves London Heathrow nonstop from Los Angeles every day?

    Second, sites like Expedia negotiate special deals with airlines to sell seats that would probably go empty at the usual airline rates. This is especially true if you're missed advanced purchase deadlines. They have huge buying power with the airlines.

    Except for a few certain last-minute weekend specials, discussed elsewhere, major airline sites seldom offer the lowest fares if you're booking within several weeks of departure or if you're travelling from Canada or the U.S. to another country.

  • Nevertheless, always include Southwest and JetBlue sites in your U.S. fare research and WestJet in your Canadian research, as these budget airlines set the pace of the market on the routes they serve.

    You won't find Southwest fares in search engines like Travelocity, and you'll seldom see JetBlue's in these.

  • If you've missed advanced purchase deadlines, your best chance may be on a site like Hotwire.com.

    Look for Hotwire Limited Rates, not its regular fares. You may have to check more than one date.

    With Hotwire Limited Rate discounts, you won't find out your airline (a major one) or flight times until you pay.

    You may not think that you are flexible about when you can leave—but—but—but make that decision after you find out the price difference!

    o on to Finding cheap fares or to Last-minute fares.

    For more airfare savings tips:

    Go to >> Airfare savings introduction
    Go to >> Finding cheap fares
    Go to >> Last-minute fares
    Go to >> Combining fares
    Go to >> Open jaws & circle trips
    Go to >> One-way (single) airfares
    Go to >> Bereavement flights
    Go to >> Weekend internet fares
    Go to >> Budget airlines, or Southwest Airlines
    Go to >> Bucket shop fares
    Go to >> Visit North America fares
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