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There are three basic rules to being the traveler with cheap-seat bragging rights: patience, persistence and flexibility. Find out what that entails with these 7 tips to keep your airfare low and your deal-hungry head held high.

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Know when to book:
Like they say, the early bird catches the cheapest worm. In the case of flights, Tuesday morning has become the traditional deal day. One airline will announce a sale, blast an email and maybe post to its social media sites—and the others will match it or one-up it for obvious reasons: They all want your money, no matter how little. The two caveats here: The best prices are often for travel within the near future, even that week; and the seats disappear fast. So if you see a fare that fits your budget, grab it.

Get the message: Register for email fare alerts from discount sites, airlines and even airports and you’ll have the inside track to the latest travel deals. For example, CheapTickets offers extra discounts on hotels when booking a flight, special promo codes and a heads-up on fare sales. Clicking through links indicates that you’re an active traveler, which can lead to bonus deals. Boom–the scales in your inbox love-hate relationship just tipped.

Flexibility stretches your funds: There are times to dig your heels in and there are times to let things slide a little. Like travel dates and times, departure and arrival airports. First of all, midweek flights are typically cheaper than Fridays or Sundays. Can you manage the overnight or crack-of-dawn flight? You’ll save there too. Could you take a connecting flight instead of nonstop? Annoying, maybe, but budget-friendly, almost always. Also, search for flights leaving from airports other than your closest option, as long as you factor in the cost to get there. It’s even possible that departing from and returning to two different airports can bring down the price.

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Check early. Check often.
If you know where and basically when you want to travel, start planning well ahead of schedule. First, research peak travel times and try to book outside those dates. Even a day can make a difference. Then, do a price search a few times over the course of a few weeks to get a sense of the average cost—so you’ll know when a deal’s a deal. Armed with the knowledge, start checking daily or even twice a day. The morning after you book your flight, search again. If fares have gone down significantly, you can usually cancel penalty-free and re-book.

Be social. Add airlines and discount flight sites to your Facebook and Twitter circles, and you may just catch a deal that other company outlets don’t promote. These are often short-lived, so act fast.

De-clutter. We’re referring to your website history. It remembers things,like your latest airfare search. If you clear your cache, you’ll do away with any stale data and get the freshest information.

Take the package deal. You might think that packages are devised to trick you into spending more. Think again. Booking flight, hotel and car rental at once can save you loads, particularly if you’re not picky about where you’re going. For instance, you planned on Florida, but there’s a mind-boggling deal to South Carolina. If it’s technically the beach you want, both oblige. So why the heck not? On that vein, try searching for the type of trip you’d like (ski trip, cruise, family) and see what comes up. You might be pleasantly surprised at an unexpected destination deal.

Tips and information for this article were sourced on HARO including experts from Barcelona Experience, Adventure Tasmania Online, H.E. Freeman Enterprises, The Travel Tart, and Travel with Kevin and Ruth.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Flights

Elisa Drake

Elisa Drake

Elisa Drake

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