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Five tips for finding the best airfare

Buying plane tickets can be a guessing game.

“When should I fly?” “When should I buy?” “Will prices go up tomorrow?”

Many factors affect airfare – where you’re going, who else is going there, fuel costs, competitor pricing.

Some say it’s luck of the draw, but there are ways to get the best possible fare.

  1. Travel experts disagree over the exact date (45 days? 48?), but as a general guideline, the best time to buy is six to eight weeks before you fly.
  2. Holiday travel is an exception. Although Thanksgiving’s almost three months away, the sooner you purchase tickets, the better. According to travel search site Hipmunk, airfare for last year’s Thanksgiving travel was at its lowest (an average of $373 per ticket) between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1. Prices went up 35 percent for those who waited until the end of September, 45 percent for those who waited until the end of October.
  3. As far as which day of the week to buy, Lifehacker says the best deals are offered early in the week. FareCompare agrees, advising fliers to buy their tickets on Tuesday or Wednesday.
  4. If your dates are flexible, FareCompare says Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly.
  5. Keep an eye on prices by signing up for email alerts from airlines and travel sites or using online tools. Bing’s Farecast uses algorithms to determine how likely an airfare is to rise or fall in the next seven days.

Meredith Holt | Forum News Service

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