01 November 2010

Travel Deals

Recommendations on finding the best airfare deals

I thought I would list some more travel tips on planning your next cycling vacation after discussing travel websites with my Mother today.

Search away 

Search for lowest fares - at various sites
FareCompare.com  Airfare.com   CheapFlights.com  Bing.com  Orbitz.com

How you book matters 

Check directly with the Airline - Sometimes the individual Airlines have private sales. Or matching rates that offer you a better combination of departure and arrival times. Plus rebooking canceled flights is sometimes much easier if you purchased your ticket directly from the airline. 
Clear your cookies - Yes, they know you are returning to check their site again. Clearing your cookies or booking on a different computer can help.
Keep it simple - When traveling with a bike, try to limit both the number of connections and the number of airlines you use. This will lesson the cost, and the risk of your bike not arriving at your destination. Allow 2 hours between connections to insure that your bike makes the journey along with you.
How When Where 

Timing matters - When you purchase matters: it is best to buy your airline tickets between Tuesday after 3pm (EST) or Wednesday after midnight, until Thursday before noon.   
What day you fly matters - flights are generally cheaper when you fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays. Having flexibility in your dates also helps.    
For more information on Airfare Pricing - Understanding Airline Ticket Prices 
Track Prices

Yapta.com has tools to help you track airfares.
Airline refunds 

Get airline refunds AFTER you buy - If the price of your flight drops below what you paid, Yapta.com helps you get a refund for the difference. Currently, a few of the airlines offering refunds include JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska and others.
Plan your seating 

Pick your seat - View the model of your airplane seating layout ahead of time, with warnings about obstructed or good seats. Select your seats upon booking your airfare to avoid sitting by the dreaded kitchens or restrooms at SeatGuru.com
Is your bike worth it 

I can't believe how much it costs - Research ahead of time how much you will be paying to bring your bike with you. It could considerably add to your total airfare. Also consider transportation between terminals or transfers by bus or train. Here is A list of airline luggage rates for bikes. Be sure to also visit the website of any and ALL airlines you will be using to read their oversized luggage weight and size requirements. Try to use only one airline, and try to check your bike box all the way through to your destination to avoid duplicate luggage fees. Expect the airline check-in counter to weigh your bike box, so if you fly Economy, the days of loading extra items into your bike box are over (yes customs also opens bike boxes for inspection).

Read a previous PedalDancer.com post from: Saturday, June 19, 2010
How to pack a bike box for Travel

Happy Travels!