How to get the best price when buying travel online

Photo Money Shirt by Rob Lee

  1. Start planning early – the more time you have the more likely you are to find a great deal. If you are not a plan early kind of person, you might be best off waiting till a few days before. But be forewarned – if no one has a last minute deal, you will pay the price.
  2. Be flexible – often the more options you have (i.e. I can leave on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or I can leave in the morning) the more likely you are to find a great deal
  3. Commit some time – the emphasis is on "some". You do not need to get to every site, but check out three or four key sites (I will continue to introduce ‘staple’ travel sites. It is almost impossible to save money on travel without investing a little time. Use your time to search multiple sites and juggle your schedule and cities to see if you can come up with a cheaper alternative.
  4. Be smarter than the computer (check prices between each major hub) – computers are amazing in that they can find endless scenarios for booking your tickets. But the truth is that they are not set up to process everything in the way you might be willing to travel, if the price was right. For example, I was looking at flying from Brisbane, Australia (BNE) to Buffalo, New York (BUF). It seems as though you should search from BNE – BUF on the website. The results was round trip tickets at $2,100. Since almost every flight from Brisbane to Buffalo goes through Los Angeles I tried booking two separate tickets. The first to LAX and the second to BUF. The result was Brisbane AU – LAX for $1500 round trip. I then purchased tickets from LAX – BUF for $220. The total price difference? $380 less/person. Since my family is currently traveling with 4 passengers it means we saved $1520 by buying two separate legs. By breaking the trip up by each leg you can save a lot of money. Remember with airline tickets 1+1 does not = 2. I was looking at tickets from Buffalo to Denver. Southwest had tickets from Buffalo with a stop in Chicago, then on to Denver for $175. What if I bought a ticket from Buffalo to Chicago and then another one from Chicago to Den? The result $153. A small savings of $22 per person.