Los Angeles Hotels Blog

June 28, 2010

Tips for finding cheap flights

Gas prices are soaring, the dollar is falling, but affordable international travel and cheap flights are within reach. Great deals on tickets to international and domestic destinations are out there. The key to mastering a cheap flight search is in a little planning and flexibility.

The Off Season

Cheap airline tickets can be easily found by going against popular demand. Around Thanksgiving in the US, everyone is looking for a ticket home, but not many are planning trips abroad. Consider visiting a favorite Caribbean destination in the summer when many islands experience their off season. Popular skiing destinations, such as Park City, Utah, have a whole new charm in the summer, when hiking and river sports are popular. The brilliant website Farecast.com can calculate demand on tickets to destinations worldwide. Its prediction device offers users advice on how much and when airfare may rise or fall. It is a new way to track travel that can be planned in advance.

Cheap Flights to Europe

With the state of the economy, Europe may seem the most intangible worldly destination as exchange rates continually fall out of American’s favor. However, a few simple search techniques will help mitigate the financial blow. Most airlines are affiliated with a specific country. Cheap flight to the UK? Try British Airways; Looking for a week in Munich? Go with Lufthansa. Generally, using the country specific airline is a good way to get a cheap international flight. Carriers will often run specials directly through their websites rather than third party sites, such as Travelocity. Booking well in advance, roughly a month if not more, directly through the airlines will usually provide a choice in dates and seats on these reduced fares.

Alternate Airlines

It is also a smart idea to fly into a major European hub and then continue your journey on a smaller airline. For example, to get to Florence, Italy, it could cost roughly $1000 easily on Alitalia. However, there might be a special on flights to Paris. Connecting at Charles de Gaulle to a discount flight to Pisa, a 40 minute car ride from Florence, will save you a few hundred dollars. Travel time may increase, but budgets are a precious commodity and an extra Euro in the pocket may be worth an extra hour of travel. These airlines include easy Jet, Ryanair, Air Berlin and a host of others.

A New Airport

Alternative airports are always an excellent idea to score a cheap ticket whether traveling internationally or abroad. They are usually just a few more miles removed from a city’s center than their more known counterparts, but do the job just as well. Also, many discount airlines leave from smaller ports. Here are a few alternative airports to try for popular US and European destinations:

New York: LaGuardia, Newark

Los Angeles: Long Beach, Burbank

Chicago: Midway

Paris: Orly, Beauvais

London: Gatwick, Stansted

Rome: Ciampino

Madrid: Cuatro Vientos

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