Your airline ticket will probably be one of the largest purchases you make for your trip and is therefore where you can save the most money. For this reason, it is essential that you do your homework and use all of the available options to trim this cost down as much as possible. Planning ahead for this purchase will certainly save you money by allowing you to compare and shop around for prices. You can get an idea about how much money you will spend by first considering a few points:

  • where are you going? Popular flight destinations are usually cheaper because so many people fly into them. Less popular flight destinations tend to be more expensive due to the low volume of travelers trying to get there. This is also related to where you are leaving from. A flight to Europe, for example, will be very cheap if you are leaving from England but very expensive if flying from Australia.
  • what time of year are you going? Peak season is usually more expensive than the off-season. Airlines offer cheap flights in the off-season to try to increase passengers.
  • are you a student traveler who can get flight, train and other discounts?

Inquire at several travel agencies and peruse the newspapers for deals. If you are a student, take advantage of student travel agencies. Two popular student-focused online TAs are STA (Student Travel Association), “your resource for student travel”, and Travel Cuts. You can also check out many other online travel agencies and booking services.

The least-expensive airfares are priced for round-trip travel and usually need to be purchased well in advance. It’s a good idea to call a few different airlines. If, after checking out several different places, you are quoted a relatively half-decent price, book it right away because the same fare may be more expensive the next day.

To get the lowest airfare, check different routings. Compare prices of flights to and from different airports if your destination or home city has more than one airport. For example, London, England has two airports, Heathrow and Gatwick. Gatwick is usually the cheaper of the two airports to fly into (but not always). Also try to book off-peak flights, which may be significantly cheaper.