This blog post was updated on October 23, 2018.
The moment of truth has arrived. You have decided to make the plunge and purchase a big ticket out of dodge, a ticket that that is much more than a couple hundred.
The only problem is that little hesitation. Am I getting the best deal? Do I have the dates down right? Will the airfare magically lower tomorrow?
Shopping for a big flight can be as nerve wrecking as actually making the trip overseas. As I research a big flight for myself across the pond, I want to make sure I am getting the best deal, best route and best dates.
However, that can sometimes seem like the impossible and we must let something give. Before you let big time regret sink in after clicking that purchase button, here are a few things you might want to know to give you peace of mind in that big click.
Check Your Connections—Many travelers see the first cheap flight listed and just go with it. It is the lowest so it must be the best. Wrong. While cheap airfares do spring up once in a blue moon, they are often the result of crazy connections. If you think it is worth saving $100 to connect 4 times as opposed to two, so be it. However, sometimes these connections can be more headaches when you find yourself at London Gatwick instead of London Heathrow. Before clicking purchase, be sure the connections are doable for you and actually make money sense.
Timing is everything—Perhaps the cruelest aspect to shopping for a flight boils down to timing. You may click purchase one day, and the next day the fare is $100 cheaper. You might sit on a fare for a few days in hopes it will go down, only to watch it climb. Should have. Could have. Would have. Some say Tuesdays are the best days for Monday sales have just gone through. The best way to not feel bad about your booking timing is to watch the flight for a week at different times. Look it up morning, noon and night. If you ever see it lower than it was, book it. Some airlines will let you freeze an airfare for 24 hours before making your decision. In terms of days to fly, internationally, weekends are always more expensive. Consider mid week travel days and always be flexible with your travel time to save a few.
Break up your travel plans—Sometimes we can get clouded while shopping for airfares, only focusing on one destination, one airport. However, in some cases it is worth it to book a ticket elsewhere and book with a cheaper airline from said unintentional destination. Breaking up long haul flights not only allows travelers to spend the night in another city while getting over jet lag, but they can often save hundreds in the end.
Use as Many Resources as Possible—Whether you only check flight search engines or only book on an airline’s website, it never hurts to check around before booking a big flight. Also, you shouldn’t always think booking a flight is just possible online. More complicated travel plans can still use a good old-fashioned phone call to the travel agent or airline.
What are your big flight booking tricks?