Find the Best Airfares

  
     
August 03, 2008

Thinking of doing some traveling soon? Airfare hikes have made national headlines recently but it is possible to travel economically with a little planning. The web is crammed full of web sites and services that purportedly assist you cut the cost of air travel. The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana has some great tips for finding top fares but remember all deals come with a snag; now is an important time to get to know the rules with each different format or company.

Smart strategies can improve your odds of becoming a wise consumer and traveler before you've left home. Remember start with trust; trust the travel company first.

The wonderful world of the web is the information source but a word of caution; it is often the place for schemers and scammers. Offline or online, consolidators (businesses that market total packages) have long been a good source for travel deals; just remember check them out first with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. Some of these sites hide the exact itinerary and airline until after you've bought the ticket. A word of warning: consolidator fares sometimes carry hefty cancellation fees (up to 50% of the ticket price), so be sure to read the fine print before you buy.
The rules for traveling have changed but d
on't overlook airline sites. Not only do they often have great last-minute specials, but also you can avoid forfeiting frequent flier miles as you do on some travel sites. You can acquire big savings by flying on low-demand days of the week. If you're going on a weekend trip, flying Thursday and Sunday is sometimes cheaper than Friday and Monday. For trips of any length, fly midweek, Tuesday-Thursday. The time of day you fly also can dramatically change the price of a ticket. By selecting "anytime" (when given the option on a website) for your preferred departure time, you'll increase your odds of finding the best deals. Another tip includes flying into less popular airports like flying midweek; flying into alternative airports can increase your savings.

Many people have the misconception of increased costs when dealing with travels agents; it is totally untrue. Often an experienced, capable, and trustworthy agent can save you both time and money. If you have worked with an agent before, they often know your family’s likes and dislikes, they will save you the time it takes to find the best deal and they usually know where to look and often much faster. As a smart consumer compare the values from one agent, website or company to another.

Bidding sites are also very popular currently however occasionally itineraries and airlines remain hidden until after you've purchased. Should your bid be accepted, your credit card would often be billed automatically, making it difficult to do any pre-purchase comparisons of fares with those found on other sites. This is a great time to know the rules and cancellation policies before you buy! Take advantage of special discounts; are you a student, senior citizen or traveling with a large party? Then you likely qualify for special deals. And above all just don't forget to do your homework; a little time spent now will save much in the end.

Receive information on local companies by calling the BBB’s Smart Call 981-3497 24 hours a day; up to date information on local and business scams, identity theft, general consumer tips and alerts. To find reports on businesses in thousands of industries, consumers can search BBB’s database of more than four million reports free of charge at www.bbb.org.