Snagging cheap travel deals in today's economy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Frugal travelers, listen up: Prices for air travel are not that high these days and are in some cases actually lower than they were just six months ago.

As the holidays begin to roll around, there are still plenty of great airfare deals available, so you can take that trip your family has been talking about. To find the best deal, you just have to be flexible and know where to look.

According to the experts, prices are just 4-percent higher than they were six month ago - even though airlines are actually paying 40-percent more for fuel. With data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the U.S. Department of Transportation and analysis from industry experts, it is learned that flying isn't as expensive as travelers think. You can still get a great deal.

"Good deals do exist; don't let today's gloom and doom news get you down and discourage you from taking that well-deserved vacation with your family," said bargain travel expert Carl Schwartz. "By taking the time to search for a deal, you will find something that works for you. Keeping your options open will go a long way toward finding something that makes everyone happy without breaking the bank."

Here are tips for finding the best airfare bargains in today's economy:

1) Be flexible on travel dates. The first flights of the day, along with flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, generally tend to cost less than their evening or Monday/Thursday/Friday counterparts.

2) Consider alternate but similar destinations. For example, if you're looking for a warm coastal destination to simply relax poolside and drink cocktails, check out places such as the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, where the U.S. dollar is still strong and flights are generally less expensive, instead of pricier Caribbean destinations.

3) Check the one-way fares. In some cases, you can find a cheaper flight by booking two one-way tickets. This is usually the case if you aren't planning on staying more than three nights or are planning a Saturday night stay.

4) Sign up for multiple "deals" newsletters. The weekly tips for example, have news and deals including cheap airfares, vacation packages, short breaks and hotel stays.

It's also wise to compare and work with your local travel agencies to help secure the best deals available for you and your family.