Savvy Travel Decisions

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AIRFARE COMPARISONS:

Savvy Travel Decisions, Inc. does not sell air travel nor do we recommend one airline over another.  Hunting for the lowest airfare is not rocket science.  It does, however, require a little patience and a whole lot of ingenuity.  Always reserve as far in advance as possible: a minimum of 21 days and usually a maximum of 120 days of your intended travel date.  This way, if you see an attractive fare, you can grab it before someone else beats you to it.  The airlines offer hundreds of different fares on the same flight.  The person sitting next to you on the window seat may be paying twice your ticket cost and the passenger sitting next to you on the aisle seat may be paying a third of your ticketed cost!  Most highly attractive low-cost promotional fares are rationed per flight and only the airline knows to what extent.  You most assuredly will never get a lower fare waiting until the last minute.

 

First, you’ll save if you shop around.  If you are price motivated, you may have to abandoned your favorite airline and travel another to your destination.  Your odds of taking off and landing safely will be about the same.  Check online with the airlines providing service to your destination.  Compare Internet Ticket broker websites.  Finally, do not overlook the professional advice and ticketing services of your local travel agent. They value your business and seek you as a permanent client, not a one-shot transaction.  It only stands to reason that you will get superior personal service compared to a distant reservationist in Bombay.  If you do not have a local travel agent, ask around, your friends or business acquaintances for a recommendation of a reliable agent.  It may cost you a processing fee, but some airlines have begun doing likewise. 

 

Try to avoid traveling on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays, traditionally the busiest and most expensive travel days, as you are competing with business travelers.  Instead try to plan your flights for mid-week: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Next least expensive choices for traveling: Thursdays and Saturdays.  Also consider flying during non-peak hours.  Unless you want to over-pay, don’t fly when the business crowd does: Monday mornings and Friday evenings.

 

Time your travel to include a Saturday night stay to get the most attractive airfares.

 

Most important, plan ahead and avoid last minute travel.  Keep a lookout for seasonal travel promotions during traditional slow travel seasons: September until mid-November.  Obviously, your intended destination and peak versus off season tourism periods also affect airfares.

 

If your family must travel to Grandma’s during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, avoid the three days prior to Christmas and the day after through New Years.  This may be impractical based on your time off and your tolerance of Grandma after a few days.  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day travel often is less expensive.

 

If you are willing to travel at odd times, you may save.  If you insist on traveling between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., reach for your wallet.  If you don’t mind the “red-eye” early morning flights, you’ll save.

 

The busiest, and predictably most expensive times of year to fly are: the third week of March (March 14 - 20), the third and fourth weeks of June (June 13 - 26), July 2nd, just prior to July 4th, the first week of August (August 1 - 7), the Friday before Labor Day, the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving week (November), and the Christmas - New Years Day holiday period of (December 19 - 31).

 

It is generally more expensive to fly non-stop to your intended destination than direct flights involving one or more intermittent stops en route. You no doubt will save if you can endure a same plane itinerary of multiple stops en route to your intended destination!

 

Convenience and quickness cost.  In larger cities blessed with more than one major airport, compare the costs and convenience: i.e.: Oakland versus San Francisco, Midway versus O’Hare, John Wayne versus Los Angeles International.

 

Be leery of “fantastic bargains.”  Is the ticket non-refundable?  Is it assignable to another party?  If so, what are the change fees?  Most so-called bargains tend to leave out something.  Inquire whether the dated ticket, if necessary, could be used on an alternative date if your plans change,---and the penalty involved to re-issue!  Ask if the quoted rate includes taxes and airport fees.  Any other add-on fees such as ticketing? 

Don't go online mid-day on Saturdays or Sundays to make your flight bookings.  You will be competing with the masses - and everyone's cousin!  Instead, check rates late Monday night and around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays when temporary discounts tend to be posted.

You might check out Flyr.com, Skypicker.com, or Hopper.com for further tips on the opportune times to purchase your airfare. 

 

Save yourself a ton of needless aggravation at airport check-in and security lines.  Be certain that your name on the airline reservation is identical to your legal name and passport, no nicknames or abbreviations.  I.e.: Beverly Cohansen should not be listed as “Bev”, Larry for Lawrence, or Bill for William.

 

Airfare.com and Fare.Compare.com are good sources when seeking airfare comparisons.

 

Concerned about airline bankruptcies and whether your airline will be around come your flight dates? Even if you do not purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance Protection, you might wish to check the Travel Alert pages of the major Trip Insurance providers.  If your airline is listed that they are unwilling to provide cancellation protection, you might wish to heed their warning!

 

The airline rate-makers are always one step ahead of you.  They know that most airfare shoppers check the internet on weekends.  Don’t!  This is the absolute worst time possible to compare rates.  Rate increases are typically filed on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend browsers.  Wait until Monday to re-check rates.  It is here that “the early bird often gets the worm.”  The lowest rates are usually posted Mondays through Wednesdays.  Tuesday between noon and 3:00 p.m. is generally a good check to book as airlines post their rates on Monday nights with the competition making corrective rate adjustments on Tuesday mornings. 

 

Don’t make the mistake of booking too far in advance, thinking at least you have the airfare accomplished - this often can be costly, as airlines are known to post their lowest airfares 34 days before departure during non-peak travel periods. 

 

Perhaps time consuming, but you can, make informed decisions by planning ahead and choosing wisely:.

Some of the more helpful airfare comparison sites are:

http://www.momondo.com

http://www.itasoftware.com

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com

http://www.Orbitz.com

http://www.Travelocity.com

http://www.Expedia.com

http://www.FareAlert.com

http://www.Farecast.com

http://www.farecompare.com

RouteHappy.com

http://www.Kayak.com: Not out to sell you tickets. Helpful for comparison shopping.

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com: comprehensive rate comparison

http://www.airfarepredictor.com

http://www.Mobissimo.com

http://www.Sidestep.com

http://www.fareCompare.com

http://www.Bing.com/travel

http://www.hipmunk.com: helpful flight search

http://www.farecast.live.com

http://www.cheapflights.com

http://www.pintrips.com

http://www.getgoing.com

http://www.TripStarter.com: compare advantageous times to travel

http://www.yapta.com: provides most advantageous times to fly.

http://www.seatguru.com: helpful in selecting seats on various aircraft

http://www.zugu.uk.com:  Compares airfares of European destinations.

http://www.alternative-airlines.co.uk: Comparing and booking off-the-beaten path destinations.

http://www.jumblefly.com  flights between European destinations. Emphasis on budget airlines.

http://www.skyscanner.net:  comparison shopping European airlines

http://www.ebookers.com: comparison shopping European airlines

http://www.Wegolo.com: covers European budget airlines.