Trip Coach: October 31, 2006
Nicola Corrigan, Cheapflights.com's "deal hunter," answered your questions about booking holiday airfares
NYC, NY: What is the most cost-effective way to purchase airfare to a tropical destination for New Year's Eve?
Nicola Corrigan: New Year's Eve is one of the most expensive time to travel anywhere and flights tend to get booked early. We suggest the following:
1. It may be better to opt for a vacation package as airlines often provide special airfares just to use with packages to vacationcompanies.
2. For airfares or vacation packages try one of the specialist agents such as CheapCaribbean.com, Sunburst Vacations or Latin Discounters for Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America
3. Look at cruises specials with Vacations To Go
4. Search for Flights + Hotel for California/Florida and other domestic destinations on Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia or CheapTickets
5. For international destinations search for flights on consolidators such as Airfare planet and Airline Consolidators (listed on Cheapflights.com)
6. Try one of the low-cost carriers such as JetBlue and Spirit Airlines for flight specials.
You will need to shop around and make the booking as soon as possible. It is very rare to have specials for New Year's Eve travel.
Oklahoma City, OK: ANy deals for December 21-28, round trip to Salt Lake City for two adults? Thanks!
Nicola Corrigan: It is difficult to get great deals for travel around the Christmas period and you should try and make a booking as soon as possible.
1. Search all the OTA's -- Travelocity, Expedia, CheapTickets. They mix & match airlines (fly out on 1 airline and return on another) so have many more fares and schedules then searching on a specific airline
2. Be flexible with dates and times as much as possible
3. Use search specialists such as CheapAir.com and Ultimatefares.com
4. Search airline sites like American Airlines or Frontier Airlines for any specials they may still have.
5. Search for flights departing from nearby (and alternate) airports
Vienna, MO.: 2 seniors want to fly to Singapore in Jan. 2007. Very flexible with dates. Would like to go from STL to LAX, maybe spend a day or two in LA, then off to Singapore for approx. 2 weeks. Want to be in Singapore on Jan. 17. Know of any cheap rates?
Nicola Corrigan: That sounds like a fun trip. You are lucky to have flexible dates, that should mean you can bag a great deal. They key here is shop around a few companies to find the best deal, there will be big variations and it will be well worth checking out the different options -- especially whether to get a separate ticket for the LAX leg or one ticket all the way through to Singapore. There are no rules I'm afraid! Some of the cheaper deals are likely to go via Europe, so if you don't mind how long the flight is you have an advantage. As a starting point I would recommend shopping around a few of the big sites that you may be aware of like Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz. They all have flexible date calendars which can help you pinpoint a good deal. It is also worth trying a specialist to Asia, who may have heavily discounted deals, like Angel Travel or Airline Consolidator. The benefit here is that you can give them a telephone call to use some of their expertise on what special deals they have to offer...
Houston, TX: We are trying to plan a trip to Germany...we used to be able to buy tickets in advance but they are so expensive at this point...There will be 2 adults (45 and 40 years old)...we would like to leave from Houston, TX on Dec. 20 to Frankfurt or Berlin...then return to Houston, Tx from Frankfurt...any advice would be great.
Nicola Corrigan: Ah, yes. One of the few rules of airline tickets is that prices rise closer to departure and increases for flights at Christmas (and other peak periods) can be painful. You are leaving it quite late to get a good deal on an international flight for the peak Christmas period. Your best bet is to be as flexible as possible with your routing in order to get the best deal. It may pay to go via London, Amsterdam or Dublin. Certainly try a Europe specialist like 1800Fly Europe and UK air as well as other discounters like Airline Consolidator, Airfare Planet or BookAirlineTickets. A good starting point is the Cheapflights Houston to Berlin page http://www.cheapflights.com/flights/Berlin/Houston/ and if I were you I would speak to some of the specialists on the telephone. Good luck!
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