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How to Find the Cheapest Holiday-Season Flights

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With the winter holidays right around the corner, many people are beginning their quests for reasonably priced airline tickets. Although it’s easy to become frustrated and feel as if you are the mercy of their airlines, there are several ways that you can keep travel costs down, even during the holiday season. Following are five strategies that cost-conscious consumers can use to get the best airfare prices possible:

Fly Midweek or on Saturday

Tuesday and Wednesday are usually the cheapest days of the week to fly, with Saturday airfare costs not far behind. Also, airlines release sale prices during the middle of the week, so be sure to check for bargains during that time. You may also be able to save significantly if you are willing to book “redeye” flights which typically leave very late at night or early in the morning. That said, remember that Christmas is on a Thursday this year, which means Christmas Eve will be a peak travel day.

Compare Prices

Before airline prices were deregulated, fares were set by a government agency, and the cost per ticket was pretty much the same as any of the others. However, airline prices now vary drastically, and it can really pay off to shop around and compare prices. Use your computer to look at as many fares as possible prior to purchasing the one that works best for you.

Sign up for Online Alerts

Signing up for online alerts that are offered by various travel services can help you save substantial sums on tickets. These work by sending you email alerts whenever tickets to the destination of your choice fall below a certain price point. You can customize these alerts to be specific to certain airports and travel times.

Choose a Destination in its Off Season

When choosing a destination, consider going someplace that’s not in the peak of its tourist season. During the winter, popular tourist destinations include sunny places such as Hawaii and Mexico. If you don’t want to stay home — but you don’t want to break the bank on airline tickets — now may be a great time to go someplace where people wouldn’t normally go to experience sunny weather. Las Vegas is a great example of an affordable winter travel destination that still offers plenty of things to do for visitors at any time of the year. Think about peak travel seasons for certain destinations when choosing where to spend your holidays.

Ask For a Refund

If you’ve purchased a ticket that goes on sale soon after you bought it, you may be eligible to receive a refund from the airline. However, not very many travelers are aware that most airlines offer a refund policy if ticket prices drop shortly after purchase, and they generally won’t tell you about it. Keep an eye on prices for signs of any change after you’ve purchased your tickets and contact the airline immediately if flights to your destination go on sale.

Kara is more than just a do-it-all writer; she's also a jetsetter who has experienced cities and cultures around the world! Find Kara on LinkedIn!

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