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.


John Breyault, vice president for public policy, telecommunications and fraud with the National Consumers League, says “legitimizing the resale market has been a win for consumers” because it has reduced the incidence of fraud. He acknowledges, though, that it hasn’t necessarily helped in terms of lower ticket prices. The best hope for consumers outraged when they see a ticket selling for many times its face value, he says, is a thriving legal resale market and federal anti-bot legislation with teeth.
Most airlines – especially east Asian ones – get their business from local passengers. This means prices are set according to national holidays and in Asia this means that flights around western holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are often underpriced – as the airlines don’t anticipate demand then. This is when good deals can be available. For example, last year AirChina had flights from the UK to Australia over Christmas in the low £400s. Garuda Indonesia also underpriced its flights to Bali and across Indonesia during the Christmas and New Year period. All east Asian airlines, and in particular Chinese airlines, are worth watching for this.
My first ticket purchase (for resell) was four tickets to a show for the Eagles in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I had no idea why I picked this event to resell, and I had no idea what I was doing. I set up my first sale as an auction on eBay and lost about $25 on the first pair of tickets. Thinking this business was for the birds I put up the remaining pair of seats a few weeks later and ended up making about $50. Hmmm….maybe there was something to this. Next, I bought some tickets tickets for U2 in Detroit, thinking that any seats anywhere would make money because it was U2! I bought about 16 tickets at $90/each and had to sell them for $50! Ugh. I never thought I could lose money on a U2 concert, but that day I learned how important market size, day of the week, number of shows, supply of tickets, etc. were to the true market value of an event. After losing about $700 I was crushed and figured I would never make any real money selling tickets, so I had to start thinking about finding a 9-5 job.
If you book a flight plus separate hotel or car hire together from the same travel website in the same transaction, you get full ATOL financial and legal protection, just as with a traditional package holiday. If you book these elements from the same site, but in different transactions, you'll only get financial protection, even if they're not part of a formal package.

Qantas American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines and LAN, and has additional commercial agreements with Aer Lingus, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Air North, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, El Al, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jet Airways, Jetstar, and Vietnam Airlines.
Best time to buy: Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST. If you don't find the discounts you're looking for in the early morning, a study by FareCompare.com says the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for travel (domestically) is on Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST. However, George Hobica, travel expert and journalist, argues that the best deals vary frequently, so there's not one specific day or time of the week to buy.
Airline rewards programs are a great way to get free flights, free upgrades, and free companion tickets. No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for the airline’s reward program. I stick to US-based airlines since they are involved in all the major alliances and you can earn miles on their partner flights. For example, if I fly Singapore Airlines, I can earn United Airlines miles because they are partners. Likewise, if I fly Air France, it’s credited to my Delta rewards account.
"Cheap" is always relative, depending on your budget and needs, but we have a few guidelines in the Traveler office for what counts as a good deal from the U.S. Flights to Europe at or under $400 round-trip are a go. Getting to Northern Africa for less than $500 is a steal. Round-trips to South America at or under $500 are also great, a number that applies to flights to Asia, too. Going farther afield, anything under $1,000 is a stellar deal for southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. That said, if you see a flight that's cheap enough to make you want to book, go for it. The "grass is greener, flight is cheaper" mentality of waiting for the least expensive flight will make you miss out on some great (and yes, cheap) flights.

Especially during peak travel periods, making reservations late in the game can cost you a lot of money. Airline ticket prices typically go up in the last two weeks before flying, so if you’re planning ahead, try to make the call before this deadline. And if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to book even earlier — from three to six months in advance — for the best deals. For more on specific booking deadlines and recommendations, see Want the Lowest Fare? Here’s When to Book.


I never even considered the VPN bit. I’ve noticed a large difference between prices I can get here in South Africa and those a friend who lives in the States is able to get. It seems so unfair but it’s understandable. I think there’s actually a site that you can go to that gets you low prices by skipping middle layover routes, but cannot recall what it was called.
In my experience, the easiest tickets to buy and resell are in your local market.  You probably have some local knowledge of what is in demand in your city.  In fact, the VERY best tickets to resell are for shows you plan to attend yourself (buy 4 tickets and sell 2 – and you will often times pay for your own 2 tickets that you use!).  It is also easiest to sell via Craigslist if you are selling in your local market.  Some sports teams frown upon people buying simply (or primarily) for the purpose of reselling, but if you live locally it’s tough for them to identify you as a “broker.”  And, if the tickets you have are local, the worst case scenario is that you can use them yourself or find a friend to go to the game or show.

For the sake of convenience, we’d all like to live near a major hub like New York or Toronto, but the fact is that river cruisers come from different parts of the world – and chances are your hometown airport doesn’t have direct service to places like Budapest or Prague. But it’s equally likely that you have more options than you know about. Wikipedia can be a great resource for researching your airport, as most have a complete listing of airlines that serve each airport along with their respective destinations (check out this page on Vancouver International Airport to see what I mean.)
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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.
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.
So there’s the two ways of doing it, one, a market research type, which we discuss on the Amazon by varying prices. Or second, I feel that the front line really has a lot of intuition on what customers are willing to pay. And that front line has a lot of market research that they can share with the people who set prices to help set the right price.
The latest research from the comparison site Momondo* found it's generally best to book 60 days ahead (last time it did the research it was 56) and that booking then can be up to 30% cheaper than booking on the day of departure. The last cheap booking date varies by destination, though, so you can use Momondo's 'Flight Insight' tab on many routes to see the data for it (see Flight Insight for info).
Sign up for free alerts. Almost every major online booking site offers airfare alerts that ping you when fare prices fall. Popular digital resources such as Hitlist, The Flight Deal and Secret Flying offer quick alerts on good deals, Hobica says. If you sign up for fare alerts from Kayak or Google Flights, you can specify certain routes and travel dates, Hobica says.
Finally, in many cities, legit ticket resellers have store fronts close to the venue. They are always a worth a visit before you turn to a scalper as they often have deals on last minute tickets. The rule with them is never take the price they first offer unless it is within $10-15 of face value. If it is more, being willing to walk away never hurt anyone and usually net’s a price cut.
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!

Hi, Great article. A question please. We are planning on going to Orlando from the Uk on the 20th October 2017 for 2 weeks (3 adults and 1 child). I have booked the flights out already to Miami for £759 for all of us from Manchester airport which is a great deal with Thomas Cook Airlines, then will drive to Orlando, but the return flights aren’t out yet. However the return flights are from Orlando International airport to Manchester are out for £1800. Which would mean we wouldn’t have the drive back to Miami. Should I wait for the return flights back from Miami to come out and risk the other going up or do you think the £1800 might go down in price? Thanks, Nicki Johnson
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.
Hi David, I’m looking to fly to Rome 5/28/18 to 6/4/18 from LAX. I’m currently looking at Norwegian Air’s direct flights — their lowest tier is about $850 and LowFare+ (with seat choice, checked bag, meals) is about $1k. The list of tips recommend I wait a few more weeks before buying but I was just wondering if you think it would still be a good idea to wait? Is it likely to drop in the next month? Thank you!
These websites are a breeze to use. Ok, that may not be true for all, but even the less user-friendly among them aren't rocket science. So, do not brush these sites off if you want to search for and compare air fares. For the most part, all you have to do is enter your preferences and keep experimenting with different combinations and options until you are satisfied. Easy peasy!
However, you can earn a lot of miles through credit card sign up bonus, online shopping, surveys, special offers, and more. I earn over a million miles a year – without flying or spending extra money. That translates into dozens of free flights (often in business class) for myself and my family. If you are smart with your money and collect points and miles (the art of “travel hacking”), you can travel around the world for very little (and often free). Here are some articles on travel hacking that can help:
Lots of us research our holiday plans during the week, then discuss the options with our travelling companions at the weekend. But if you go online on a Saturday to buy your tickets, you could be paying over the odds. Airline pricing models are fluid, so a price you see one day (or even minute!) might increase or decrease the next. The airlines keep their pricing model data close to their chests, so there’s no set rule about when is the best time to whip out your plastic.
We had really good seats in the 5th row but as we got closer to a game we couldn't attend we would negotiate a really good deal with someone vs them not getting used. We would snap a picture of the tickets and sometimes our account to let the buyer know we were legit. They could pay by paypal which most people have today. Then we would email them directly to the buyer from our ownership account so they knew they were the real deal.
The simplest way to sell tickets is also not surprisingly the most expensive.  You are probably familiar with StubHub.com. Much like its parent company, eBay, it has become the de facto market leader in its space. This is both good and bad. The good news is that buyers know to look there and are generally confident to buy there, given its “Fan Protect” guarantee. Unfortunately, as a seller, you pay a steep ~25% to sell there.
Our detailed how-to guide spells out how to find mistake fares easily on your own. Basically, AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying are great resources to stalk for finding mistake and sale pricing as they conglomerate slashed ticket rates all in one spot. Another great approach is to search for flights for an entire month using Skyscanner (Tip #3 in this article). This will allow you to easily spot a significantly reduced fare against what’s displayed that month, and has twice helped us stumble on error fares ourselves.
To find cheap flights, price trackers are the ultimate tool—just search once, and you can be done. Using services like Google Flights, Hopper, or Kayak, you can set an unlimited number of price alerts for countless destinations. You'd could set alerts and receive emails about every place you're considering for your next vacation, and if one of them miraculously drops below your price threshold, you'll be notified. Sometimes the dream destinations are cheaper than a flight one state over.
So buyer, beware. People have been ripped off by scalpers even before the internet was invented, and many states have laws against them. Even though these laws are haphazardly enforced, scalping tickets carries some risk. But if you really want to get into the building and it’s only an hour before showtime, you’re going to have to go nose to nose with some of the best negotiators in the business world. Make sure you follow the steps below to get the best deal.
No one likes to clutter up their inbox, but by signing up for mailing lists from airlines and search engines, you’ll be able to get updates about all the last-minute or special deals that are happening. This is one of the best ways to ensure you find a cheap flight. Why? Because they do all the work for you! Many times, the cheap flights are only available for 24 hours, and if you aren’t always checking the web for them, you will miss out on many of the super cheap deals. I would have missed out on a round-trip ticket to Japan for $700 USD (normally $1,500) or $500 flights to South Africa! Additionally, they offer frequent flier bonuses, and those deals have also gotten me free business-class tickets. These three websites are the best to stay on top of travel deals:
Take advantage of presales. Presales allow select consumers (such as members of a fan club or people who carry a certain credit card) to buy tickets—usually by using a special password on the ticket sales website—before they’re offered to the general public. You can also get passwords and alerts to presales free of charge at ticketcrusader.com or by paying a small fee at presalepasswordinfo.com. Watch for credit card promotions, too. American Express, Visa Signature, and MasterCard offer some cardholders first dibs, preferred seats and unique access, and discounts to various events.
If you don't want to put in the leg work, you can let the deals come to you. Condé Nast Traveler shares many of the best flight deals on social media, but for those even more obsessed, it's hard to beat the convenience of flight deal blogs like Scott's Cheap Flights, Airfarewatchdog, SecretFlying, and TheFlightDeal, which are constantly posting deals from around the world. Follow them on social media or sign up for their newsletters.
While ticket scalping happens almost anywhere this is a venue where tickets can be sold, the laws surrounding the practice vary. About 20 states prohibit ticket resales or require broker licenses. For example, in Mississippi, there are only restrictions on state-owned property and college sporting events; Texas has no restrictions; and Massachusetts says residents cannot sell tickets for higher than face value, including fees plus $2 for tickets to events taking place in Massachusetts. However, ticket brokers licensed by the state are able to charge a fee to cover the expense of getting the ticket.
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).
It's often cheaper to buy an air/hotel package rather than airfare alone. When we say "cheaper" we mean that the total package with hotel is often less than the airfare without the hotel component. Site59.com (www.site59.com) is the online leader in this field. Travelocity owns Site59, so you'll often see "TotalTrip" options on Travelocity just above the airfare-only search results. Don't ignore these deals. Usually, they work best only if there are two of you traveling since the hotels are based on double occupancy. They're especially useful for last-minute travel. Tour operators and your local travel agent also sell packages that might save you money, although not necessarily on last-minute deals.
A few weeks ago, I met Barry Arakelian a minute after he got scammed at a Tom Petty concert. Arakelian had paid a scalper $375 for two tickets (face value: $135) outside the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. The tickets, however, turned out to be fakes, and Arakelian, who was getting the evil eye from his girlfriend, approached a nearby police officer for help. But the officer said that he couldn’t do anything unless Arakelian could locate the scalper in the crush of people. By that point the scalper was long gone; Arakelian was embarrassed. Naturally, a minute later, he turned and shouted to no one in particular, “Who’s got two tickets?”
The first thing to know about finding a cheap flight is that there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick to doing so. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights. In fact, you’ve probably come across a ton of them on your search to find the best flight deal! They are all lies. They will lead you astray. Most websites hire terrible reporters who recycle common and outdated myths. Here are the most common that are 100% not true:
Book seven weeks in advance. Passengers pay the lowest price, nearly 10 percent below the average fare, if they buy 50 days before their flight, according to data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation. The data was compiled by examining 2017 ticket sales from online and corporate travel agencies in the U.S. for the top 500 origin-and-destination markets. But the seven-week rule isn't necessarily a surefire strategy for snagging the cheapest fare. "This is just a trend," explains Chuck Thackston, ARC's managing director of data science and research. "Airlines will make valuable deals available all the time. But, on average, we see this [50-day] approach works."
However, looking at three years’ worth of data (2015-2017), we found that travellers who bought their tickets on a Saturday paid on average 5% more than those who went online to make their purchase on a Monday. On a £500 flight, that’s £25. While it might not make a huge difference for the cheapest fares (after all, how much lower can a £9.99 flight go?), for group trips or pricey flights, it could be worth the wait.
You need to use more than one flight search engine for every flight search. Two of my favorites are Google Flights and Momondo. They are both extremely to use and consistently find some of the lowest prices. Google Flights will comb through the listings directly from the airline websites, although they will also list the prices of a few third-party booking sites as well.
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.
From Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta, the best deal was found on Kayak: $1720.96 for four travellers. The most expensive was found on Air Canada’s website with a grand total of $5,250, a difference in savings of $3,529.04. Kayak’s website gave a “hacker’s deal.” The company has trademarked the phrase, which are roundtrip fares pieced together from one-way flights on a number of airlines. Typically consumers are not able to purchase that on most booking sites.
Having a baseline fare is a good starting point. Not only can you work this expense into your budget as a line item and save for it, you feel like you have your bearings when it's time to research fares. Budget $1,000+ for international fares, and around $400 for domestic fares. If your fare ends up being higher, you can adjust other trip expenses accordingly, like cutting what you spend on souvenirs and gifts.
It is January! How can I tell if my September flights are cheapest now or will be best 4-10 weeks before the trip? Is there a site that shows the flight costs for different destinations for a previous year? (I have tried to find one without success) How does one know that Boston to Dublin for $614 is a great deal without spending years researching and travelling as you have done? Thanks!
The first thing to know about finding a cheap flight is that there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick to doing so. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights. In fact, you’ve probably come across a ton of them on your search to find the best flight deal! They are all lies. They will lead you astray. Most websites hire terrible reporters who recycle common and outdated myths. Here are the most common that are 100% not true:
Unfortunately my main scalper that I used (before stubhub days) retired--he even gave me his phone number. I'll still scalp at A's games sometimes, but it's pretty rare that I do it for the Giants. Unless I'm downtown and I suddenly need to see the Giants (it happens....)--I use stubhub. That said, here are some general tips that take into account personal safety--
Aim to buy higher quality tickets. Unlike selling online, you are probably not going to be able to sell to a large amount of buyers while scalping in person. Realistically, a dedicated scalper may only sell to a few parties in one night, so it's important to make those sales count with higher quality tickets. Buy your tickets early, and make sure the tickets themselves are part of a tier that's bound to sell out fast.
1. Get familiar with your product: "If you're just starting out, choose a team or an artist that you know really well and know will make money on the secondary ticket market," Menard says. "Think about all the factors that contribute to their success and why fans are willing to pay big bucks to see them. Now start applying that same knowledge to other artists and teams and follow the market." Some scalpers choose an emphasis, such as basketball or hard rock, to suit their interests.
Monitor price fluctuations.The lowest fare for a given flight changes an average of 71 times between the time the flight is announced and the day it departs, according to the CheapAir study. Each change (up or down) averages $33. Before holidays, prices can fluctuate wildly, says George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog.com. So set price alerts for your destination with several tracker websites. Sites like Airfarewatchdog and Kayak let you monitor flights by airline and will send text or email alerts when prices for your desired time frame drop.
While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route. Here’s how:
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.
My go-to sites when I arrange personal travel are Kayak.com (I love using its flexible month and flexible weekend options) and two Google offerings: Google.com/flights/explore and Google.com/flights. The "explore" site allows you to choose a trip length, departure city and an arrival city or region (such as "United States," "Europe" or "Boston") and then displays a selection of the lowest fares available over the next few months. It's perfect for anyone with flexible travel dates and destinations. The "flights" site asks you to choose origin city and destination along with specific travel dates so it's more geared to those with less flexibility. However, none of these sites include Southwest Airlines, so you also need to compare at Southwest.com. If you're date-flexible, use Southwest's low-fare calendar option.
This is your first step, and it’s probably the most important. Ticket brokering can be fun and extremely lucrative, but it’s not for everyone. There are a lot of unpredictables, a lot of tough decisions, and a ton of organizational work that goes into this business. If you’re just learning about ticket brokering and you need an introduction on how it all works, this is not the career where you can simply “learn on the job.” What will end up happening is you’ll buy thousands of dollars worth of tickets that you can’t sell and you’ll just get discouraged.
If it doesn't really matter when you fly (Aunt Mary will be just as happy to see you in August as in September), you can sometimes save hundreds by adjusting your travel dates, often by just a day or two. Travelocity used to have the best flexible date search option in the industry for two reasons: it searched 330 days ahead, and it included international flights both between the U.S. and international destinations, and also flights between international cities. Thanks to an edict from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Travelocity no longer lists fares internationally (because they neglected to include all the fuel surcharges and other add-ons), but they're still a valuable source for domestic flights. And if you really like Travelocity and miss its full flexible search functions, visit its Asian affiliate Zuji.com (www.zuji.com) where you can search flights in U.S. dollars (apparently the U.S. DOT's reach doesn't extend to Asia).
Codesharing flights are included in comparison site results, so you'll find them using the sites above. You won't spot them if booking directly with an airline. It should be clear on the comparison site, eg, if you book with Virgin, but it's a Delta flight, it should say so. This works best on popular medium or long-haul routes – simply book via a partner airline to grab a seat on the same plane for less.
Hi What a fabulous site! Love it! I am planning a trip from London to Denver in July 2017 to visit family. I enquired with my local travel agent as to prices who told me that they weren’t out yet, but as soon as they were, I needed to book as we wanted to go in peak season. I have just looked at British Airways who fly direct and the price is £4883(family of 4 – 3 adults 1 child ). After reading your advice I am tempted to wait – it is 9 months away – and just keep an eye on prices. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks. Sara
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