“I always set alarms on Skyscanner to places where I need or want to visit in the near future. It lets me know when prices go down, so I can take advantage of great deals and save money on flights. It also lets me know when prices go up, so I can either catch them before they increase any further or put that trip on the back-burner for now.” —Inma Gregario, 34, a travel blogger who takes at least one trip a month
Though common decency would dictate that the money you paid to check your bag, get some extra legroom, or board early would also be refunded in the case of you getting bumped or severely delayed, airlines don’t always offer it up. Make sure to mention the fees you paid when negotiating any compensation or refund. If you’re nice, and your agent isn’t having a bad day, they’ll sometimes give you that stuff gratis on your rescheduled flight as a gesture of goodwill. Again, the key words here are “if you’re nice.” Be nice.
Remember that it’s all in the timing. SeatGeek’s Flaherty said that no matter the event, a better deal is likely to emerge the longer you delay your purchase (see “Patience Pays Off,” below). Optimally, the time to act is within 48 hours of showtime, according to SeatGeek’s statistics. “Tickets are perishable goods,” Flaherty explained. “On the resale market, the price typically decreases the closer you get to the event, though you might lose some flexibility, like the ability to get five seats together.”
“Hostelworld.com is my go-to site for finding somewhere to stay. It has a huge inventory of hostels, bed and breakfasts, and hotels, giving travelers tons of affordable options to choose from. The site also includes reviews from other travelers, so you can see which options are the safest, cleanest, and most welcoming.” —Trang Pham-Nguyen, 29, a travel blogger who used to live abroad and now takes full advantage of her vacation days
Be sure of your dates before you book. Changing or canceling your ticket can be very expensive, as airlines can be aggressive about change fees, with most charging around $250 per ticket per change. Unexpected circumstances can happen to anyone, so understand your ticket's change policies before you buy. (While nonrefundable tickets are cheaper and the most restrictive, even certain types of business and first-class tickets have penalties for changes.)
Also, for those who haul around the world with a baby, many of the airlines jack up the price if you search with a lap infant. You can, however, book the flights online using a low fare finder and then call up and have them add the baby at 10-40% (depending on age and airline) of the fare you paid… I saved £250 that way as the algorithms used arbitrarily jack up the base fare for parents…
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:
One danger you face by buying from scalpers is that you may be getting counterfeit or bogus tickets. That danger is even greater today as a ticket holder can sell a “hard copy” ticket on Stubhub by entering the bar code number. The person who buys the ticket gets an email with a new bar code that they use to get into the game. This leaves a perfectly legitimate looking hard copy ticket that can be resold to an unsuspecting fan just outside the arena.
You probably already get bombarded with emails from every store, website, and vacation spot you’ve ever so much as looked at, but when you’re cleaning out your inbox don’t be so quick to unsubscribe from airline or travel site emails. While they might seem like just another empty marketing tool, airline emails can tip you off to flash sales or special deals you might otherwise miss. I recently scored half price tickets to Thailand because of a flash sale e-mail notice, true story!
First, sign up for airfare price drop alerts. Many websites now offer these at no charge, sending out lists of unusually cheap fares (some of them "fat finger" mistake fares), that while valid for travel over several months, usually expire quickly. Take a look at theflightdeal.com, hitlistapp.com, secretflying.com, exitfares.com and Fly4free.com. They often have the same deals but I suggest signing up for all of them and to follow them on Twitter if you use it. Other sites, such as Kayak.com, Yapta.com and GoogleFlights.com, will track fares on specific flights and dates and alert you to price drops. When you see a great deal buy it (you can always change your mind and cancel within 24 hours, per U.S. D.O.T. regulations).
Pick a seat as early as possible. Most airlines let you choose your seat when you book, and most charge extra for roomier seats. If your first choice is not open, select another seat and try to change it later. If seat assignments aren't available at booking, ask about the earliest possible date that you can request your seat (for example, 90 or 30 days before your flight) — and put it on your calendar. A week before your flight, airlines will sometimes release extra seats or change equipment: Check to see if you can get a better seat. And try to check in online exactly 24 hours before your flight, when even more seats may be released — including bulkhead and exit-row seats.
Nevertheless, it is entirely up to you whether you prefer to splash out on regular air tickets or put in the effort to score some of the amazing deals out there! But even if you're a very busy person and don't feel the savings are worth your time, you can still use a concierge service like those you get with good credit cards to do all the grueling work for you. You can never be too rich to save money.
It looks like both scalpers and ticket brokers are here to stay because neither show any signs of slowing down. About 30 percent of concert tickets are sold on the second hand market, according to USA Today, who says scalpers and ticket brokers take in more than $1.5 billion a year reselling concert tickets. So make educated decisions when dealing with scalpers and ticket brokers.
“A lot of hotel chains have a ‘best rate guarantee’ policy; if you’ve booked a room and find a cheaper rate for it on a hotel aggregation site like Hotels.com, Expedia.com, or Priceline.com, the hotel might credit you the difference, give you cash, give you points, or offer you a discount on your stay. Every hotel is different, so familiarize yourself with the policy. Typically, you only have 24 hours to find and present them with the better rate.” —Mona Molayem
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.
Southwest Airlines actually is a pretty good budget airline to fly with. It’s actually my favorite airline to fly with, even if I have to pay a little more to fly with them. They dont charge fees for their first two checked bags nor do they charge fees to change flights. They now offer electronic boarding passes you can scan on your smartphone. They offer complimentary snacks (usually peanuts and some sort of crackers or pretzels) and drinks. They also fly to many major airports especially after merging with AirTran Airlines!
When buying tickets in ebay, there are many things that one should look out for. Anyone can run an ebay auction, but if you are going to buy tickets, such as a concert ticket, on ebay then you will need to make sure that it is from a reputable seller. The way to do this is to check their member profile rating. This will allow you to view how many good ticket transactions they have had, as well as if anyone suggests that the seller ripped them off. If a seller has more than a year of expereince selling at least 100 tickets on ebay and has had no complaints of any being fake, then you should feel comfortble buying tickets through them.
If it's happened to you, contact the airline or booking site straight away to see if you can get it amended (see How to Complain for help). Let them know it's a known fault others have reported too. Yet sadly you've few rights if the airline refuses to correct it, as it'd be difficult to prove it's their error, and it may charge you fees to amend or cancel.
Several great comparison sites help you find the best tickets. The AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia aggregates most airlines and prices, and you can narrow your search according to date flexibility, number of stops and so on. Kayak is particularly good as an aggregator of airline fare sites. It will open several windows to show you what Expedia, Priceline and others offer. Once you know these prices, check the airline websites; occasionally, airlines have sales they don't post on comparison sites. Also, check the sites of discount airlines like Southwest, jetBlue and RyanAir, whose fares aren't necessarily included on comparison sites. Finally, be sure each quoted fare includes taxes and fees, and read the small print on any "sale" price for your ticket.
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.
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.
This is because they structure their business around package holidays and, often left with undersold capacity, will offload their last-minute seats for low fares. If you’re keen on a last-minute one- or two-week getaway somewhere exotic but where the specific destination is not that important to you, I’d look there to score the biggest savings. Here is an example of how to spot them on Tui, showing fares such as Cancun at £229 return.
This list wouldn't be complete without the mention of social media. The best way to stay on top of the latest in just about anything these days is social media. Find out what the best deals are right now in real time by following your preferred airlines on social media. Additionally, following #airfare on Twitter will provide you with the latest in flight deals from all of the major airlines and airfare sites.
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.
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.