The are a variety of ways to find cheap air travel. If you're traveling between popular cities like Los Angeles and New York, you're likely to find a good price just by going to one of the popular online sites like Travelocity, Orbitz or Kayak. If your flight has unusual requirements you might get a better deal at a site like Air Gorilla.
For most flights, simply checking one of these sites is not going to get you the best deal. Try some of these tips for finding cheap air travel.
1. If you have plenty of time before your trip, play the frequent flier miles game. Sign up for credit cards that give you frequent flier miles for purchases. Many of them, like the Citibank personal and business cards, also give bonus miles if you make a purchase of a certain amount within a few months of receiving the card. Most companies allow you to order new cards every few months so you can amass tens of thousands of miles a year if you apply to multiple companies for multiple cards.
2. Get frequent flier miles by buying products at frequent flier malls. You can get miles even if you don't use a frequent flier credit card. Be sure to compare prices before you buy, though. Often you can get products at the same price you would elsewhere, but sometimes the frequent flier mall prices are higher.
3. Check on Craig's List or eBay for people selling their frequent flier miles. If they are about to expire, you may get an especially good deal.
4. If you find a good price on one of the popular air travel booking sites, note the airline and before you book, check on the airline's website for the same flight. Sometimes you can get the flight even cheaper directly from the airline.
5. Try one of the budget airlines such as Southwest and JetBlue in the U.S. and WestJet in Canada. But keep in mind that they don't have frequent flier miles programs, so if you have frequent flier miles, determine whether you'd be better off with them or better off using frequent flier miles.
6. Find out when tourist season is for your destination, and try to travel in off-season.
7. Take advantage of seasonal specials. Sometimes airlines will offer special deals in the fall for travel in the spring.
8. If you have the flexibility in your dates and are able to travel on short notice, look for last minute travel deals from airlines, ticket booking websites and websites dedicated to finding last minute travel deals.
9. Volunteer to be bumped from a flight. Flights are often overbooked and looking for volunteers to take a later flight instead. If you volunteer, you'll usually get a free roundtrip ticket.
10. Visit one of the website dedicated to discussing frequent flier miles and other methods of getting cheap air travel and upgrades.