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Find Cheap Airfare For the Holidays: Shop and Compare

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Currently in the Midwest, autumn is in the air with daytime temperatures hardly reaching beyond 65 degrees and nighttime temps giving off a low 40’s chill. Even though school hasn’t officially started for some, it feels like Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and while the holiday mentality in August is a bit of a hyper-expectation, planning for holiday travel now is completely sensible.

If you are intending to visit family or friends this holiday and even if you haven’t thought that far in advance, let this be a tiny reminder to you that air travel, the most efficient way to take a trip out of state in a short span of time, isn’t cheap. There are ways, however, to go about finding ticket prices that resonate more with a student budget. Let’s begin:

Compare Pricing With A Local Travel Agent

It may be a good idea to consult with a local travel agent first before you shop for ticket prices online. Travel agents are more aware of the ever-fluctuating airline costs. They will be more successful at finding a first-rate rate. However, be prepared to pay for agency fees; the cost of fees plus the price of a ticket may not be worth the trouble.

Check with a travel agent to get their best ticket prices and continue to shop and compare. You may just find something better on the internet.

Compare Pricing on Travel Websites

In my experiences with purchasing airfare, I have found that spending a little extra time to research and compare prices makes a world of difference. There are many travel websites and search engines, and all of them seem to differ in rates. It is best to go to each one of them to compare prices. It may sound tedious, but I have found that different websites can offer ticket prices that fluctuate between $50 to $200 dollars for the same flight. For instance, let’s compare lowest fares for the following:

Depart Chicago Sat Dec. 12/Arrive Houston
Depart Houston Sun. Jan 3/Arrive Chicago

StudentUniverse.com $282
BookIt.com $262.33
(StudentUniverse.com is a website geared specifically for student budgets. BookIt.com specializes in Spring Break discount packages)

OneTravel.com $262.33
ATI Flights $272.32
Airfare.com $273.00
Orbitz.com $281
CheapTickets.com $281
Expedia.com $281
CheapOair.com $281.99
Travelocity.com $282
Priceline.com $282
Kayak.com $302
Fly.com $302
Mobissimo Travel $362.90 1stop only available
TripAdvisor.com $363

Compare Pricing on Airline Websites

Additionally, the airlines may offer different pricing if you go directly to their website.
Compare American Airlines’ rate at $282, not including tax, to Southwest’s $245.70, taxes included.

Money Saving Tips

Be flexible

Changes in dates, times, airlines, airports can make a difference in price. In order to get the lowest pricing available, try to be flexible with your arrangements.

Book well in advance

Heavily discounted airfare is sold first. Seating inventory on travel websites may also be limited. Booking last minute will cost you.

Avoid Booking Friday through Sunday

Monday through Thursday tends to offer cheaper airfare, but include a Saturday night stay. For example, depart on a Wednesday and leave on a Wednesday, the week following.

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