How to ensure you get the cheapest online fare

Firstly, the only real way to ensure you get the cheapest fare is to avoid turning up at the station / airport just before you intend to travel. Travel / flight agencies can sometimes match prices but you are generally better off heading to the web to ensure you get the best fare.

1. Clear your browser cookies and history

OK, firstly this might not seem like a practical solution as you may want to keep your cookies, history etc particularly if you have many different logins etc. So this is what you do.

Download a seperate browser, e,g, firefox, opera, chrome and just use that one for booking. Ensure you have cookies turned off at all times.

The reason is that flight, bus, train booking websites can actually increase the same fare everytime you visit, the only way they can do that is by using cookies. I once noted a budget airline fare dropped by 50% when I cleared cookies.

2. Look at other country's websites e.g. /

Because currency fluctuates all the time very often the airlines will not be keeping up and you can sometimes make substantial savings from booking from another country site, even if you are having to book in a foreign currency, the savings can be more than any charges from exchange.

Even if the foreign website offers you a fare in your own currency it can still be cheaper than the local one so its always worth checking this out. This has been seen on Asia and Australian websites where it is often cheaper to use the site based in SE Asia rather than Australia.

3. Don't book at times when everyone else does

There are certain times of the day that will give you cheaper fares than at others. This is not always the case but there is a fair bit of evidence out there to suggest this happens.

Here is when you should book:

Early morning, from 6am until 10am (your local time)

Avoid these times:

Weekday lunchtimes, weekday evenings and weekends.

Flight booking engines have very sophisticated software that can shift the price of a flight depending on demand, so be aware and happy travels!

Editor. June 2011




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