Check out this scenario. You've wanted to take a week off next month for that well-deserved vacation, which you have postponed several times because you just couldn't get away. But that inner voice is now shouting, "It's now or never!"

OK. But where and how do you get the best bargain? You want the best price! Do you have to spend 3 to 4 hours hopping from search engine to search engine? The thought almost makes you want to stay home!

NO, you do not have to spend hours researching. Your own time is far more valuable than that. Learning and following just a few guidelines will you hours of research from the beginning.

Three hours of research may save you $5 one each airline reservation. At this point in time (market circumstances will change and also these guidelines will change), being aware of the following guidelines should save you hours of searching.

1) The most expensive tickets are for days and times when more people are traveling.
2) The most expensive tickets are for prime destinations during prime events.
3) Passengers can expect to pay more for tickets purchased at short notice.
4) Likewise, you'll pay more if you feel you have to book flights weeks or months in advance.

From this information it's fairly obvious that you won't get the bargains if you travel during vacation time when lots of others are competing for those seats. If your destination is a popular vacation spot during prime vacation time, you won't see the bargains. If you fly tomorrow, you probably will pay a premium for the seat. If you have to secure your seat weeks or months in advance to guarantee your place, don't expect a bargain price.

Where are the bargains?

1) Be flexible and travel when others don't, or travel to locations that are not prime vacation destinations.

2) Don't wait until the last minute and don't book earlier than 14 days out. Remember that airlines charge a premium if you book as far out as 4 months or more.

3) From time to time airlines offer special promotional deals. Frequently check independent travel sites that specialize in travel tips and resource information.

4) Sign up to receive e-mail from specific airlines as an interested customer. The company will notify you of their travel promotions.

Finally, may I offer a few words to those of you who do not have the luxury of flexibility in your travel? You can shop around a bit if you wish, but honestly, you probably won't find the bargains on search engines or from the airlines themselves. All the online booking engines gather their information from the same source, the airlines. When you find a site that offers something of value in addition to ease of booking, just stay for awhile with that site as a devoted customer. Every six months or so, check out a few to assure that your favorite is still competitive and offers quality service.

When you really want to find those discount airline tickets, you may be tempted to do your own thorough search and visit a dozen online search engines. Don't waste your time. It is unusual to find ticket prices that vary more than a few dollars. Invest your time by learning a few simple facts and trust in your favorite travel agency.

Author's Bio: 

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