If your departure and return dates are flexible, use airfare search engines to play around with various dates and land a cheap airline ticket, says Susanna Zaraysky, author of "Travel Happy, Budget Low." These search engines scour the Internet for airline fares, covering hundreds of travel sites in a matter of seconds and saving you the time of clicking through each airline site on your own. Sites such as Kayak.com will show you the fares for each day of a calendar month to help you spot the lowest price.
While some sites let you book your ticket through them, you may get extra perks by purchasing directly from the airline website, Zaraysky says. You'll often receive bonus travel miles for booking through an airline site. You'll also be eligible for refund options and other airline programs.
If you know your departing city, but are flexible as far as final destination, head to Airfarewatchdog.com. The site will send you alerts regarding deals on different destinations, Hockin says. She also recommends following your favorite airlines on Twitter. By tracking their tweets, you could snag a deal on a cheap plane ticket. Some airlines regularly tweet travel deals sales known as "Twares," which are discounts on airfares offered to the company's followers on Twitter.
When it comes to booking your ticket, bing.com's flight search offers a price prediction function that will tell you whether fares are rising, steady or dropping, with a confidence measure. For instance: Fares rising or steady, 80 percent confidence.