Plan AheadFigure out a rough draft of the travel itinerary at least two months before searching for airfare. Purchase tickets between five to eight weeks in advance of the trip. Airline prices spike up progressively during the last 14 days before a travel date. Airlines change rates based on expected occupancy, so buying too early isn't a good idea. Planning far in advance also allows travelers to remain flexible and adjust travel plans by a day or two to accommodate a budget-friendly airline ticket.
Fly Off-PeakIt's cheaper to travel on certain days of the week. Peak days tend to be Sundays (after a long weekend), Fridays and major holidays. Departing and returning on a Tuesday or Thursday often results in a less costly airline ticket. When traveling abroad, find out the months considered "off-season" by the local tourism industry. Tickets to Europe, for example, are typically much more expensive in the summer than the spring or fall. Picking dates wisely will add up to a less costly fare.
Compare FaresThe Internet is a traveler's best friend when searching for cheap flights online. The Web is filled with travel sites that offer free comparison search engines. Pick several and search to find the lowest fares. Prices on the same day can sometimes have differences of several hundred dollars, depending on the airline. Comparing fares via the web also allows passengers to see if changing flight times could result in a cheaper overall ticket. Include flights with one or more stops in the search. Often, flights with one or more stops are cheaper than nonstop flights.