1. Find unadvertised fares
Travel sites like Orbitz and Expedia only publish advertised fares. Popular fare searching engines know about these fares, then everyone knows. Check out fare tracking sites like airfarewatchdog.com to find unpublished deals. With airfare tracking sites, you can even set up an alert to email you if a fare falls below a certain price.
2. Meta search sites
Let these fare comparison sites take the guess work out of bargain hunting. Sites like farecompare.com, kayak.com and tripadvisor.com let you select top airfare websites to compare. You can even choose what sites to compare, so you know you are getting the best deal.
3. Buy on the right day
On the surface, there is absolutely nothing special about Tuesday at 2pm. However, after years of research, savvy fare comparison sites have determined that Tuesdays at 2pm Central Standard Time is the best time to purchase an airline ticket. Because new airfares are published on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so the best fares can be found on those days. Flying out on a Saturday can also save you some dough as there are often low fares for weekend travelers.
4. Lucky number 7
If you can wait to purchase your tickets until 7 to 21 days before your flight, you are bound to get the best price. Waiting that long to buy tickets might not be worth the anxiety to some people, but if you have flexible travel plans and can bare the wait then why not reap the benefits.
5. Check back, even after you've put your money down.
Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Air are a few airlines that will give you a price drop refund if your fare drops below your purchase price. That means that you can save money, even after you've bought your tickets. These guys aren't the only ones willing to put their money where their mouth is. Plenty of airlines will provide you with voucher refunds that might not put cash back in your hands, but will take a bite out of your next vacation expense. If you are just sick of looking at airfares, let sites like yapta.com do the work for you. Just set up an email alert and they will tell you if your fare drops below your purchase price.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when looking for airfare.
Consider all your options. Check out lesser used airports nearby your point of origin and destination. Houston to Honolulu might be sitting at $800, but pay attention and you could catch the same fare out of Dallas for half as much.
Finally, try searching with a different browser. Yes, even your browser can be hiding great deals on airfare. If you are used to searching with Internet Explorer, try out Google Chrome or Firefox.