Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WPPI 2010: Finding Cheap Airfare

After you score a great deal for the hotel stay, your next greatest expense is going to probably be the flight to get to Vegas. Airfare can be al over the place and often it is hard to make sense of why some flights are certain rates. Here are some tips to get you to and from Las Vegas cheaply!

Things to Know

Each site and airline has their own way of presenting things and it’s good to know the game before getting really excited about a deal that really isn’t a deal. Each site has it’s own method of showing price, some show the full price after surcharges, taxes and fees and others do not and choose to tack them on at the end. Often the cost can change in upwards of $75. Also keep in mind that if you are checking any luggage, there is going to be a fee to check it both ways - often an additional $60 or so dollars per bag (unless you are using Southwest). Finally you want to find out if the airline charges for EVERYTHING on board or just food. The $5 waters add up when in air for 3+ hours.

Days Are Important

One thing that will change your prices dramatically is what days of the week you choose to fly in/out , how many days in advance you book your ticket and what days of the week you book on. If you are not set to a schedule, it is best to always choose the option to see days before and after you selected dates so that you can see the best prices. Typically Monday - Thursday are going to be your best rate days to fly in but each airline, location and sale will vary. Always remember that even if it’s a ‘steal’ to fly in 2 days before that’s an additional 2 days you will be paying for lodging and food. You also need to consider the days of the week you book for getting the best discount. Typically fares reduce about 45 days out, 30 days out, 14 days out and then sometimes 7 days out. It isn’t a hard rule but something to keep in mind when keeping an eye on fares. Finally, booking Tuesday - Thursday will provide you with the best prices typically.

Choosing Your Airport

While there is only one airport to fly into Las Vegas, there is usually a selection of locations you can choose to fly out of to get there. Often, different local airports can vary by a hundred dollars or more. When searching make sure to choose the option that allows the search of nearby airports as well as your preferred airport. You may be surprised.

WPPI Discounts

WPPI has negotiated discounts of 5-10% with certain airlines. Go here to find the discount code and book directly with the selected line for the best deals.

Surf the Web

The first site I always hit when booking airfare is Kayak. It does all of the searches for you and saves you a LOT of headaches. Just be prepared that there is going to be a lot of pages opening. It is however the quickest way to get an idea of what fares are and where to find them. Trip.com also offers a similar service in searching many sites at once.

Find a flight that suits your needs but want to get your best deal on it? Go to Yapta and sign up for their alerts so that you can find out when the fare drops. Yapta doesn’t allow you to purchase the flight through their site, but allows you to find the fares and purchase through the airline directly.

Orbitz also has a great deal by promising that if someone books your same flight for the same dates you get the difference back if the fare is cheaper.

Keep in mind that one of the cheaper airlines, Southwest, does not participate in any of the deal websites. Their fares are often very reasonable so make sure to hit up their site when surfing the web for the best deal. They also have an alert system that will tell you when a flight that you enter is on sale.

Finally if you are not picky about the times of day that you arrive and leave, always hit up Priceline and Hotwire and try to name your price. I always suggest finding what the lowest airfare is and then making educated guesses from there. Often $25 below is the sweet spot but sometimes it can go far below that.

Hopefully this helps you navigate the friendly skies a bit easier and the end result is a cheaper flight!

Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista, travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.

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