How to Find Cheap Flight Tickets

1.

Scan current offers on deal aggregators. Airfare Watchdog, TravelZoo and Smarter Travel staff scour airlines' websites and sales to cull the most recent deals. Look for current offers for your destination and time frame.

2.

Search with a booking site. Kayak pulls real-time fares from airlines and allows you to narrow or widen your search to certain times of day or to regional airports to find the best deal.

3.

Look at fare trends. Kayak's charts will show historic prices for your route, allowing you to see if fares are increasing or decreasing. For U.S. domestic flights, Bing Travel will use a complicated analysis to predict if fares will increase or decrease.

4.

Check regional and low-cost airlines. Southwest Airline's fares do not appear on booking sites, so you must check their site. Flights on European, low-cost and regional carriers are included on Momondo. Cleartrip aggregates the smaller Asian and Southeast Asian carriers.

5.

Set fare alerts. If you have not found a flight through the above methods, booking sites will send a daily e-mail with fare prices or an alert when the fare decreases. Yapta allows you to set an alert for a specific flight and time instead of a general route and day.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check if the airline or booking service has a fare guarantee when you purchase a ticket. Often, you will be eligible for a refund if the same itinerary is listed for a lower price after you click "buy."
  • Search for flights on Last Minute Travel, and check the last minute deal listings on Expedia and Travelocity if looking for a last minute getaway.
  • Not booking a flight because you think the price will decrease at an off-peak hour or with a new sale can mean you miss the minimum fare and may pay hundreds of dollars more for a ticket. Don't pass up a good deal thinking a better will come along.
  • With new travel websites popping up frequently, knowing where to turn for cheap flight tickets can be difficult. More importantly, with never-ending advertisements for $19.99 flights filling your screen, knowing which booking sites to trust can be equally as hard. Following a few steps can ensure you pay the lowest airfare every time.