26 February 2010

Travel Planning

We’ve gathered some helpful airfare tips for the next time you’re shopping for a trip to Akumal!

Check fares often. Because airfares fluctuate like the stock market, you need to check them every day, or better still several times a day, if you’re serious about saving money. Airlines can update domestic fares three times a day during the week, and once on Saturday and Sunday (international fares tend not to change as often, but can be updated up to 5 times daily). Also, even if the fare itself hasn’t changed, seat availability at the lowest fares can change, so there might be just one seat available at 10 a.m., but the airline will open up more cheap seats later in the day.

Search airline sites individually, Some airlines have “private” sales, reserving their very best fares for their own sites. These are different from promo code fares.

And here are a few of our favorite airfare search engines:

Kayak.com - Claims to search more than 400+ travel sites, is cited by a significant majority of reviews as the best travel search engine. Kayak.com has some nifty features, including a tool that allows you to find the lowest fares from your closest airport. Kayak.com scores points in reviews for turning up lots of good deals for hotels and flights, though you won't find some of the comprehensive travel-planning features found elsewhere. That said, there is a very useful fare-comparison tool that let you see the lowest fares that other passengers paid for similar routes or to compare search results against those found on Expedia, Hotwire and other travel websites. You can also sign up for fare alerts, which are helpful because prices can change constantly.

FareCompare.com gets good reviews not only for the depth of its search capabilities, but for associated features that analyze trends and changes within the airline industry. With over 500 airlines and 270,000 destinations included in FareCompare.com's search function, this site is one of the top choices for international travelers as well. Reviewers especially appreciate FareCompare.com's fare-alert system, which contacts subscribers via e-mail when the tickets prices for their selected destinations are about to drop.

SideStep.com – The advantage SideStep has over other sites is that you can filter results, so for example, you can check that you only want to see flights between 5 A.M. and 9 A.M. You can compare flights, too. Kayak.com has filters too, but I find SideStep's easier to use —including a handy Web-only version of its travel search engine (it started out as a downloadable application for your PC, and that toolbar is still available) and separate search engines for vacation packages and cruises., etc.

Standard sites: Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and more: Although reviews say that meta search engines -- particularly Kayak.com -- are the best places to start, standard travel sites have some additional features worth looking into.

Travelocity allows you to modify your search parameters to include dates of one to three days around your preferred travel days. You can also look for best fares on all days within a given month or date range.

Expedia receives a middling grade for overall customer satisfaction but has some great benefits for frequent flyers. The site also offers a 24-hour price guarantee.

Orbitz recently added an innovative social-networking tool that gives travelers updates from airports all across the U.S. that are clearly marked on a map and Hotwire.com , serve niches like eco tourism.

So grab your sunscreen and head to AKUMAL! We have some great WINTER SPECIALS happening right now!

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