Whether sports or events, a key factor is buying tickets that stand out or are different in some way. You’re right on about being as careful and aware as possible about supply factors, such as promoters discounting tickets or announcing additional showings/concerts. You also make a very good and fair point about having capital tied up in inventory.
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After experiencing an economic setback during in the late 2000s, the live entertainment industry now looks stronger than it ever has before. Just last week, World Series ticket prices on StubHub and eBay soared to new heights, with some tickets fetching over $20,000 a pop. For an eye-popping example in the music industry, Adele’s world tour is rumored by some industry insiders to have grossed over $200 million.
No matter how good it sounds, you should never book the first fare you see. Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers such as Travelocity, TripAdvisor Flights or Kayak. SmarterTravel’s sister site, Airfarewatchdog, is another good source of cheap airfare. Checking these sites will give you a preliminary idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply. Armed with this information, you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any cheaper (some airlines guarantee to offer the lowest possible fares on their own websites). While you’re there, check to see if the airline is running any sales or promotions to your destination.
Why pay a fare at all when you can use your frequent flier miles? Although redeeming miles has gotten more difficult in recent years, it’s still a good option to consider, particularly if you’re booking early; airlines designate a limited number of seats on each flight as eligible for award travel, and these seats go quickly. Some credit cards can help you build up miles more quickly; see How to Choose the Best Travel Credit Card to learn more.
Now, there are caveats, so don't go booking out an entire planeful of tickets just for shits and giggles. First, with most airlines, you can cancel/change your ticket up to seven days before you’re scheduled to travel and still get a full refund. (The notable exception is American Airlines, which instead allows you to hold a ticket up to 24 hours at the price you see.) Second, you need to book directly with the airline's website, and not through a third-party booking site, although big ones like Expedia or Travelocity offer policies similar to those of airlines. But the big takeaway: You can have buyer's remorse for up to a full day. And some airlines -- like Southwest -- have even more generous refund policies that let you change plans up until right before you take off.

Stick to the major players. In addition to StubHub and TicketsNow, established resellers include Razorgator, Vivid Seats, and ScoreBig, which all offer money-back guarantees in the unlikely event a ticket is a counterfeit. (Fake tickets are a potentially bigger problem if you buy from individuals on sites such as eBay or Craigs­list.) You can shop on individual websites or use SeatGeek, a search engine that scours dozens of resale sites. When shopping, you should also:

This works for your arrival airport, too, but a note of caution – if you’re unsure where the airports are and how to get to and from them, do your research before booking. Sometimes the cheaper airport can cost you more in transportation costs, eliminating any savings you might have made on the fare. The fixed-fare price for a taxi into the city centre from Rome Fiumicino Airport is €48 (per vehicle, not per passenger), compared to just €30 from Rome Ciampino Airport, so bear this in mind when deciding on which flight to book.
No matter how good it sounds, you should never book the first fare you see. Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers such as Travelocity, TripAdvisor Flights or Kayak. SmarterTravel’s sister site, Airfarewatchdog, is another good source of cheap airfare. Checking these sites will give you a preliminary idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply. Armed with this information, you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any cheaper (some airlines guarantee to offer the lowest possible fares on their own websites). While you’re there, check to see if the airline is running any sales or promotions to your destination.
As their nickname suggests, discount airlines can save you a bundle, but they’re not always easy to find. Luckily for consumers, discounters are cropping up more frequently on aggregators and booking sites (Kayak now offers fares for JetBlue and Spirit, for example) — but there are still a few holdouts, such as Southwest and Allegiant Air, whose fares can’t be found anywhere but their own websites. If you’re traveling outside the U.S., don’t forget to check the international discount airlines as well.
Thanks for your reply, Mike. You make some very fair points. To be fair to me, I think I at least alluded to a number of them. And this is not intended to be a deep dive on ticket reselling (although recall that there is a Part 2 coming Saturday). I can’t imagine anyone would stick with any reselling activity (tickets or otherwise) if it had a less than 50/50 profit/loss rate. Of course, overall profit margin is the more important factor. When I first got started doing this, it was tough to get over the losses (and they will happen – as I highlight more in Part 2).
Getting a cheap flight is really about timing. Prices fluctuate heavily and often on all routes. Booking a flight today from London to Bali could cost £600, but tomorrow it could be £300 on the same airline. These unannounced sales – when an airline suddenly drops its prices – are triggered because airlines release tickets 11 months in advance and predict what percentage of tickets will be sold as time moves on. For example, after five months they may expect to have sold 30% of the tickets but if sales are not as high as anticipated, it will announce a flash sale. Prices will plummet (by up to 60% on occasions) for a few days until demand catches up.
Airline credit cards generally lure you in with promises of free bags, but other credit cards offer this perk, too -- take five minutes and call your credit card company to see if this applies. Many companies also automatically offer travel insurance, which means you won’t need to buy that from the airline either. Just remember travel insurance isn’t “I decided to sleep in” insurance, and only applies in situations stipulated in the policy. So maybe read up on that.
When the pre-sale tickets for The Tragically Hip’s final tour went on a sale, many of the fans were shattered after realizing that the tickets, which were sold out instantly, appeared on reseller sites like StubHub at up to 10 times the original price. Similarly, in December 2015, the tickets for Adele’s US tour on Ticketmaster got sold out in a few minutes. Many of those tickets were up for sale on resale sites such as eBay, StubHub, etc., where even the floor tickets cost about $4000. These are just the tip of the iceberg as many such ticketing websites have fallen prey to ticket scalping attack.
Online travel agencies, such as Kayak, Travelocity and Orbitz, have made the search for inexpensive airfare easier than ever. Perhaps because of that, many travelers begin and end their search for airfares with one of these sites. Yet there is more a traveler can do to find moderately priced airfares with fewer stops and/or better timing; stopping after the initial search means missing out on these opportunities.
When searching for airfare, most travel sites (Travelocity, Kayak, Priceline, etc.) allow you to make travel dates flexible by one to three days in order to guarantee the cheapest options. Some sites also have a calendar tool that highlights which days in that month or the upcoming months have the lowest fares. Switching your plans by a few days or to a different weekend might be inconvenient, but it can end up saving you hundreds in the long run. I’m a huge fan of Google’s Flight Explorer.  Staying flexible is one of my top travel tips!

Fly out early. The cheapest flight is typically the first flight of the morning. "Yes, that means you have to get up at 4 a.m.," says Rick Seaney, chief executive of FareCompare.com. The next-cheapest flight times are during or after lunch or at the dinner hour. "There's a general rule of thumb, which is 'fly hungry,'" Seaney says. That's because flyers tend to not want to travel at inconvenient or uncomfortable times, he says.

You’re not crazy for thinking that a flight price has changed after searching it a few times in your web browser. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher. Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.

Hello, i’m buying tickets for a sold twenty one pilots show in Tulsa. The tickets were all sold out on the site originally where you he the tickets from, but I found some other tickets on vivid seats and some other cites. I haven’t bought a ticket yet I’m planning to, it’s just I’m scared the tickets are fake and they won’t be able to let me on the show I really want to go.
Thank you! It’s Tuesday and they still haven’t dropped. I’m still seeing lots of T and S fairs, etc. even when I search other places keeping my origin the same, not even to Hawaii, it’s only giving me W fares (even though other tickets are available to the other destinations). It’s weird, but I guess I’ll wait. Worst case I’ll have to drive 4 hrs to a big airport, but then the ticket is only $450, not United though. Thanks again!
Typically, booking a whole trip with different airlines would be risky. For example, let’s say your first flight with JetBlue was delayed, and you missed your connecting flight with Norwegian Air. Because the airlines have no association with each other, Norwegian Air has no obligation to reschedule your flight for free, so you would just lose your money. Kiwi.com instead offers their own guarantee, which covers schedule changes, flight delays, and cancellations. As long as you contact Kiwi.com as soon as you’re aware of the delay, they will provide you with an alternate connecting flight, or a full refund, at your discretion. We haven’t used this guarantee ourselves, but it certainly sounds like an appealing way to take the risk out of a thrifty flight hack!

We have lots of thoughts about airlines like Norwegian, Spirit, RyanAir, and Wow Air. But sometimes, those $69 transatlantic flights are just too good to pass up. The key here is to keep an eye out for fees, since most of these airlines run unbundled fares that tack on fees quicker than basic economy, where everything from meals to seat selection to carry-on luggage costs extra. Those fees can add up—and make the budget flight cost more than a traditional flight—so read the fine print (again), think through what you're willing to sacrifice to save, and do the math before you book. If it's still a deal, and you're comfortable with the experience you've selected (or not), go ahead and book it. It won't be first class, but it'll get you where you want to go.

Moreover, it’s always cheaper to fly during the middle of the week than on a weekend, because most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. Prices are also cheaper if you fly after a major holiday as are early-morning or late-night flights are cheaper because fewer people want to travel then (who wants to wake up early?!).
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Sounds funny how it is your vocation yet you say it’s a bad idea for people to do the same thing you do. I’m sure we’re all adults here and any intelligent person will know there are risks and research further. You’re never going to stop the idiots from making a mess of their life even with good advice. I do agree though, that there are more safe ways to MS. I think the blogger isn’t promoting this as the only or best way.

I agree that ticket reselling is probably not the most efficient form of MS. But it can be a profitable reselling endeavor, not unlike other reselling approaches. As with any business venture or MS strategy, clearly one needs to become educated and decide what works best for them. And as Shawn always advocates on this blog, start small. If it works for you, do more. If it doesn’t, stop.
Almost all search engines, airlines, and OTAs allow you to sign up for price alerts. You simply enter your departure and destination cities and when ticket prices plunge, you’ll get an email immediately. You can even set-up your alert to notify you only when an airfare drops below a specific amount. A favorite among travelers is Kayak Alerts and Airfare Watchdog.
I’m not sure why it’s a good idea for some, but not others. Certainly there are risks, as I start off the entire discussion by pointing out. But if people do some research, start small, and follow some of my other tips (from today’s post and part 2), then it can be profitable (it’s a career for some!) or at least a low-margin (overall*) MS opportunity. I say overall, because anyone who does this WILL have occasional losses. If someone tries it and finds that the losses outweigh the gains, then they obviously either need to quit or figure out what they’re doing wrong. Again, it is clearly not for everyone, but there are LOTS of people doing it (as anyone who does it knows) and can be a good venture and/or tool.

I strongly recommend buying what’s referred to as an open-jaw ticket. This means you arrive-at and depart-from different cities. For example fly New York to London on your outbound trip, but return Paris to New York on your inbound trip. You save time and money by not having to return to your arrival city (where you’ve already been). The main downside to this is that the very cheapest deals in the airline industry are often tied to the same city (e.g. a return Los Angeles-Hong Kong ticket) but excluding the very cheapest deals – which most people don’t get anyways – the cost of an open jaw ticket can be fairly similar to a more standard ticket. Be sure to check this out.

Any more time and you might want to consider a more unplanned trip that utilises budget airlines and cheap off-season one way tickets. It’s not unreasonable to be able to do an around the world trip using the buy-as-you-go method for half the price of a true RTW ticket.  And the freedom you get from having an unplanned itinerary is fun and liberating.
Few products are so underpriced that an entire subsidiary industry exists to take advantage of the discrepancy. When there is excess demand for a new car or phone, some people might sell theirs at a markup on eBay, but there’s nobody across the street from the dealership or Best Buy offering it right away for double the sticker price; there certainly isn’t an entire corporation built on exploiting companies’ failure to properly price items initially. Yet concerts and sporting events consistently price their tickets low enough that street scalpers risk jail time to hawk marked-up tickets, and StubHub makes hundreds of millions a year in revenue.
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