July 27, 2009

How to Find the Best Last Minute Airfare Deals

Finding last minute airfare deals can be a difficult task if you are traveling to a popular destination at a busy time of year. Typically, the best way to get access to flight bargains is by purchasing your tickets as far in advance of the travel date as possible. However, sometimes you can find great deals if you wait until the last minute to buy your tickets. Flexibility is the key to finding the best deals.

Airports are the least crowded early in the morning and late at night so try to find flights during those times. Be open to departing the day before or after your target date because you can get significant savings that way. You can also increase the odds of finding great airfare bargains by being flexible about the airline you fly on and the airport which you depart from. You may have to sacrifice convenience in favor of saving money.

Shop Around

Don't settle for the first deal you lay eyes on. There are a number of sites that post travel deals and a little searching can save you a lot more money. To make it easier to find deals, use a travel deals website that sends you alerts each time a new, relevant travel deal is announced. This way you can keep track of all the new deals coming in and book the best deal.

Check Out Travel Packages

Sometimes it is cheaper to buy a travel package that includes airfare and hotel rather than just airfare alone. In some circumstances, you can book both the hotel and the flight for less than what the flight alone costs! The only issue is that the hotel rates included in these travel packages are usually meant double occupancy but they are perfect if you are planning to travel with a companion.

Search for Deals on Saturday Mornings

A great time to search for last minute airfare deals is on Saturday mornings because airfare analysts make mistakes and tend to offer incredibly low prices at the end of the week.

Fly Midweek

Schedule your trip so that you depart midweek and return midweek in order to take advantage of the best deals. It is almost always more expensive to travel on the weekends. In fact, you can save up to 25% just by traveling on weekdays instead of weekends.

Check Out Student/Youth Airfares

If you are a student, take advantage of student airfares. Student-only airfares are usually very affordable and you can find tickets to destinations all over the world. Even if you aren't a student, you can find great deals as long as you are not older than 25.

Look for Airports Nearby

Are you traveling to a large metropolitan area? If so, consider flying into a smaller airport nearby if it's possible. For example, if you are going to New York City, fly to Newark airport instead of the busier airports of LaGuardia and JFK.

by MELISSA SCHWARZ

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