Finding cheap airfares is easy to do if you follow some basic guidelines and use the best travel sites. With the internet anyone can be their own travel agent and save themselves a lot of money in the process. Before I touch on the best websites to use I will first go over the most important guidelines to be thinking about before you start doing your online searches for the cheapest airfares.
The first thing to think about is how far in advance should you try to book your ticket. If you will be flying in high season then the earlier the better, probably at least three or four months in advance if at all possible. If it will not be high season then typically you can get your best deals somewhere between six to eight weeks in advance. At a minimum you should try to buy your ticket at least three weeks in advance, because this is often a requirement by the airlines to get their best fares.
The next thing to be aware of is that you should be as flexible as you possibly can. Do searches for different dates if your schedule allows it, and know that it generally tends to be more expensive to fly on Mondays, Fridays, or Sundays which are typically heavily traveled days for business people. Likewise try to be open to different departure times. And if possible be open to flying from and/or to different airports, especially those that are served by budget airlines.
The last thing to keep in mind is what day of the week you make your purchase. Several experts believe that on average you get the best prices right after midnight on Tuesday nights. The reasoning is that this is when the airlines put back on the market all of the un-purchased reservations for sale priced tickets from the previous weekend.
Armed with these basic guidelines you can now start using the best travel sites to find the best fares. First try searching the best aggregator sites which are search engines that search multiple travel websites at the same time. The best aggregators for airfares as of now are Kayak.com, Mobissimo.com and Momondo.com.
After you have found a great fare with an aggregator you should also check directly with the airline's website to see if you can get it even cheaper there. And you could also do a search on Google for 'promotion codes' along with the name of the airline. Sometimes you can find a special running for the itinerary that you want, and you can only use this code on the airline's website.
Now it is time to check to see if the aggregator sites missed a budget airline due to the fact that many budget airlines do not allow themselves to be searched by the aggregators. Southwest Airlines is a prime example. You can do this by using Whichbudget.com. If you discover that a budget airline that wasn't covered by the aggregator sites flies the route you need, then go to that airline's website and get a price. Sometimes it will be lower than anything that you found in your other searches.
If you follow these simple steps and use the recommended best travel sites you can easily save yourself a lot of money booking your own airline tickets. And in these difficult economic times, who doesn't want to save money whenever they can? Good luck!