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8 ways to save on air fares

Shop online. Many airlines will slash an additional 10 percent off ticket prices to customers who purchase tickets on the Web. One way to keep track of last-minute sales is by signing up for e-mail alerts from airlines with major hubs in your area.

Fly off-peak days. Cut air fare costs by traveling off-peak days such as Saturday and Tuesday through Thursday and buying your tickets in advance.

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Shop around. Check for online specials from individual airlines and then visit sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Bestfares.com and Smarterliving.com.

Check out non-sale prices as well. The sale price on an airline ticket is not always the lowest price available. You may be able to find a lower price on a non-sale ticket from another airline. Be sure to check.

Ask about taxes and fees. Whatever ticket price you're quoted, make sure it includes taxes and fees. They can bump up a ticket price by $100 or more. Some ads for low fares don't include taxes and fees.

Consider consolidators. Consolidators such as Hotwire.com, Onetravel.com and Lowestfare.com offer some of the lowest fares around, but shop carefully. Tickets from consolidators have a lot more restrictions, including travel dates.

Be flexible. When planning your trip, it's best to be as flexible as possible. Folks with flexible travel dates and destinations tend to scoop up the best bargains. They're willing to fly any carrier at any time of day from any airport in their area. Folks with a fixed travel schedule and a fixed destination may have a tougher time landing a good deal. To get the best deal possible, be sure to check prices on flights from two or more airports in your area.

Check out package deals. A package deal might give you airline tickets, hotel accommodations and a rental car for your dream destination at an unbelievable price. Or it might not. Be sure to compare package deals with prices you could get on your own.


-- Updated: March 9, 2004



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