Hunting down the best price for your flight is vital if you’re on a backpacking budget. Here’s a few tips for finding the lowest prices online
Despite the internet becoming extremely popular for people booking their travel needs, booking flights and knowing you got the best price is still fraught with problems. No single website seems to have managed to bring together every possible airline and airfare to make life easy for customers – I always feel like I can never be sure I’m getting the best price.
For those planning to do several flights during their travels, there is a lot of excellent advice in Chris Guillebeau’s Frequent Flyer Master that shows you how to quickly accrue points and get free flights. Paying attention to points and rewards schemes is something I’ve only started to do in the last year and I am already wishing I had focussed on it years ago when I first started travelling. Chris’s advice will pay for the cost of his ebook many times over – check it out for yourself.
When I want to book international flights, I always check several different sites which cover much of the field.
The first place I look is SkyScanner, which I’ve written about before. Skyscanner is an excellent aggregator of bargain priced flights from all over the world. I’ve found it particularly useful for finding budget flights in South East Asia. The particularly clever thing about Skyscanner is that, if you have flexible dates, you can easily see the cheapest flight price within the days you can fly, so potentially making big savings.
Kayak is the original aggregator but Skyscanner has stolen a lot of their thunder. Worth checking as a backup to Skyscanner to compare deals
3) OneTravel.com, Farecompare.com and Zuji.com
I like to compare the best Skyscanner fare with these three other flight aggregators. Onetravel.com has a very similar interface to Kayak. it might even be the same engine underneath both websites – and Farecompare.com is Yahoo’s travel offering. Zuji.com is a Singapore based flight aggregator who I like to check with for any flights with AustralAsia just in case they have some local specials that haven’t been picked up by the big American companies.
4) Doublecheck the fare direct on the airlines website
Once you find a fare you like on a flight aggregator site, go to the specific airline’s official website and see if it’s any cheaper buyng it direct. It’s best to do all this as soon as you can, and grab the flight that’s cheapest either on the official site or the aggregator, as flight prices and availability change constantly.
5) I’m not so impressed with…
Fare.net, which used to be pretty good but just seems slow and clunky with not many airlines queried by its search process. I don’t usually bother using Fare.net anymore. TripAdvisor.com I love for their hotel reviews from previous guests, but their airline search always seems to be quite expensive because it uses the likes of Expedia.com for pricing.
6) Ask a real travel agent
As well as conducting your own internet search, you might want to email local travel agents with your flight route and dates and ask them to find you the best price they can. Some travel agents are very resourceful at finding the best fare for you, and also save you the irritation of sifting through lots of sites yourself. Here in Bangkok I regularly use Chawla Travel to do this. The flight quote is free and without obligation, and often Chawla comes up with a price that is marginally better than what I can find online, even including their own commission.