REUTERS/TIM

REUTERS/TIM WIMBORNE

 

Everyone wants a deal, but finding cheap airline tickets is getting tougher.

The Economist's Gulliver has said buying tickets for mid-week departures can save a bundle, but you should also note that buying them on a Tuesday will further save you money. Airlines often push their cheap tickets sales on a Monday, so getting down to business on a Tuesday is the secret to cheap airline tickets.

This year's different than any other year, said Sarah Rosenberger, a travel consultant with Central Travel. She says ticket prices are, on average, up $50 each and now fluctuate seemingly without rhyme or reason.

It can change in a day, it can change in an hour - it's all over the place.

Rosenberger says being flexible with your travel dates is key to getting a good deal. She also recommends traveling mid-week - Tuesday or Wednesday - to save money.

Those days are not only less expensive, but they tend to have better availability.  So, if you can avoid the weekends, that's your best bet.

Using a websites fare tracker tools or fare charts that graph historical prices may help. Also, Bing Travel predicts whether or not it's a good time to buy.

With the Orbitz Deal Detector, you can receive alerts if the price of a specific trip dips below a level you set. Also, Farecompare, Kayak and Airfarewatchdog may be good places to start when looking for cheap flights.

Take the time to get quotes from several travel websites, as one might offer a lower fare. It might also be worth your time to visit a few of the airline websites directly to see if they are running any web-only specials. Some smaller or budget airlines won't appear on the major discount airfare sights, so checking in with the airline directly is necessary.

If you notice that your fare drops within 24 hours, many airlines and travel websites will refund you the difference. Do your homework ahead of time to figure out who will offer this protection on your purchase. Make sure to monitor the fares after your purchase as well so that you can take advantage of any potential fare drop.