Airfare – Young Money Money: Earn it, Invest it, Spend it Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:33:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Student’s Guide to Last-Minute Travel Deals Tue, 05 Feb 2008 04:23:08 +0000 If there’s one thing college teaches you, it’s how to put things off until the last possible minute and somehow still manage to come out on top.  Procrastination can sneak into every aspect of your life, including your travel plans.  So, if you’ve been putting off buying those airline tickets for your next trip, you’re going to want to keep reading.

Super-cheap last minute tickets are harder to find than ever in today’s world of major online ticket consolidators such as and  These behemoth Web-based resellers can usually offer a pretty good deal whenever you book, so wildly discounted last-minute fares are becoming scarce.

Set Your Own Airfare

There are some loopholes that you’ll definitely want to keep in mind when looking for a last-minute deal. lets you name your own price for many of their roundtrip flights, which means you can sometimes get sweet deals on last-minute trips. There’s a lot of blogobabble out there in cyberspace about how to get the best deals from this bidding feature, so you’ll definitely want to do some research. 

Basically, you check what the advance purchase price would have been for your ticket, then bid in that ballpark and cross your fingers.  The trick is to bid a price that will be accepted but still keep it low enough to save you a few bucks. You might not get the super-deep discounted rate you were hoping for, but you can often get a better deal than the standard last-minute prices.

Major online ticket resellers like,,, and all the others are always a great place to start your search. Keep in mind that many of these websites release new fares on Wednesday morning, so this is often the best time to do your surfing for cheap tickets.

If you’re not looking for a specific destination, but just a cheap trip to anywhere-but-here, then you’ve actually got a lot of options. has great sections for weekend deals and a Fare of the Day section with deals that drop lower than you’d believe.  How about a $1 flight from Atlanta to Orlando or from Detroit to New York, round trip! If you’re in the market for a last-minute spring break deal, this is a great place to look-it’s got $32 tickets from Las Vegas to Ft. Lauderdale! is a very useful website that not only makes it easy to search for great deals from multiple carriers, but can also make airfare predictions for domestic flights-think of it as a crystal ball for budget-minded travelers.  They’ve figured out a bit of the science behind frenetically fluctuating ticket prices and can tell you if you should book now before the price gets higher or wait for the fare to drop.

So if you find a fare that’s getting cheaper, you can be sure to get a better deal if you wait until the last minute to book it.  Additionally, has a great newsletter feature that will let you know about last minute and future deals for flights leaving from your home airport. 

Sometimes, the best way to get a good last-minute deal is to buy directly from the airlines.  They will post last minute deals and online-only deals on their websites, so you’ll want to do a bit of surfing before you make your purchase.  In some cases, you can sign up with the airline and have them auto-email you about deals and specials. You just have to weigh the spam against the possibility of getting a cheap ticket.

Student Discount Travel

When searching for a last-minute deal, don’t overlook student discount websites. Often student and youth fares are far cheaper than anything else you can find. is a student airfare discounter that offers great deals on flights for collegiate travelers on a budget.  Be sure to check out the Flight Specials section for its Deals of the Week, where you can find cheap tickets to domestic and international locations.  Also check out their Hot Deals section for limited time offers and last-minute deals. has a great standby program for last-minute travelers between the ages of 18 and 22 years old.  You pay only $69 per segment of your flight or $99 for long-haul segments, and you get to fly on the cheap when economy seats are available just before takeoff. is a no-brainer for students looking for a cheap flight, but the site also has some great features that will help you to find the best last minute deals on the Web.  Check out its Last Minute Packages section, which combines the discounts of last-minute flights with the additional discounts of booking a package holiday-great for spring breakers on a budget!

STA is probably a step or two ahead of the game with its RSS feeds, which allow customers to select multiple destination areas and build a custom feed. If you’re unfamiliar with RSS feeds and how they work, you’d better look it up on Wikipedia and get yourself up to speed!

Basically, RSS is a syndication tool used by websites to notify their readers when they have updated information.  For budget airfare searchers, this means that you can simply subscribe to a feed for your destination or for your departure location, and you’ll be notified about new and cheap tickets as they come out.  On STA’s website, just head to its Cheap Flights section and you can easily get your airfare feed started. 

Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily get the best deals by booking last minute.  Your best bet is probably to book the cheapest fully refundable ticket as far in advance as you can, and then keep your eyes open for better deals. 

If you do wait until the last minute, you run the risk of your airfare crippling that party-budget you had planned for your spring break trip. But with a little bit of planning, even on a last-minute airfare booking, you can usually save yourself a couple of bucks.

Justin Jones is a professional procrastinator and travel writer.  Find out more at


© 2008, Young Money Media, LLC. All rights reserved.



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Cheap Student Airfares: Got Patience? Thu, 03 Jun 2004 11:01:17 +0000

It seems simple enough at first. Finding an inexpensive airline ticket online doesn’t seem like a difficult task to take on, right? Not so. Online ticket buyers often find confusing choices, rather than easy accessibility, which was the original motive for airlines when they made the service available in 1996.

Today, with so many online sellers advertising cheap fares, you may find yourself tempted to just book the flight over the phone, finally eradicating yourself from the "best deal" game.

Online ticket selling is a fast growing industry, with sales reaching about $6.5 billion in 2001. Though this only accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all travel spending, it is estimated that online travel spending will grow to about 14.2 percent in 2005, doing about $28.2 billion in sales, according to Jupiter Communications, an e-commerce research company.

Online ticketing is a mutually beneficial industry, with airlines being able to modify prices and availabilities based on changing market conditions. Meanwhile, students have the benefit of shopping around for the best deal, and they can continuously check the number of seats and prices available as they are posted by the airlines.

With hundreds of airline and travel agency websites to choose from, how should students go about this searching for cheap student airfares?

Before whipping out the plastic, there are some basic online ticket buying facts of which student travelers should be aware. For starters:

  • Rules, rules… Online ticket availability is often limited and carries many restrictions.
  • No refunds, please. For tickets purchased online, no cash refunds are generally given. Many airlines will grant you a credit, in which you can maintain the credited rate and apply that to your next ticket purchase with their company.
  • Mistakes are not good. If you accidentally type in the wrong date, or constantly have changing plans, be aware there may not be any online costumer service agents to help you sort out the mess you created while buying your ticket.
  • Be flexible. Getting the cheapest possible fare depend on your trip’s timing, how far ahead you plan how long you stay at your destination, and how flexible you can be on days and hours of your travel. The fewer limitations you have, the better your chance at finding the cheaper fares.
  • Get benchmarks for pricing. Start by searching the major airline sites and using their price quotes as benchmark prices.* From there, compare those prices with the major online travel companies, such as Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline.
  • Last minute? Some airlines list discounted trips each Wednesday for that following weekend. Airlines will also run frequent specials on their websites, so do not totally disregard these sites.
  • Name your price. lets the consumer bid for a flight and oftentimes can come out with an astonishingly low fare. Be aware that trips must be roundtrip, only coach class, and you must give your credit card number when making your bid. There is no refund possible.
  • Not exactly roundtrip? Online booking also has benefits for you. "Open jaw" excursion tickets let you leave from a different destination than the one you flew into. Those tickets typically cost half the price of a regular round trip ticket to each destination.

"I’ve found the best deals at extremely low prices online. It’s super convenient to just be able to find a ticket a click away instead of putting up with hassles on the phone." said University of North Carolina student Rita Zota.

Zota has been buying airline tickets online since she started college and has continued this method of online purchasing throughout her trips domestically, but has found that for her international flights, student travel agencies offer larger discounts than the major websites.

The best advice for students seeking a cheap airfare: don’t get too hungry and bite at the first low fare, as chances are that a better deal exists somewhere else. Be patient, with so many choices available, it may take you a while to find the cheapest student fare.

* According to Ed Perkins, author of "Online Travel."

© 2008, Young Money Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Students Fly Cheap With Bargain Airfares Thu, 11 Mar 2004 11:50:16 +0000

Untamed wanderlust and a meek budget: It’s an unfair but common malady on college campuses. Luckily, it’s not terminal.

There are many ways for students to snag a bargain airfare using the Internet.  But you have to consider what type of fare you purchase, who is selling the ticket, as well as when and where you travel.

Here’s some advice — and some caveats — for finding budget-friendly fares:


Orbitz, for example, has partnered with Student Universe, an online travel site for college students and faculty. Students or teachers register with an ".edu" e-mail address, which must be verified before "qualifying" to receive travel discounts. Choices of airline or departure time may be limited, but the savings can be worth it. You can make a reservation only for yourself through Student Universe.

If you’re traveling with a companion, you might want to check online travel agencies for companion fares — specials for parties of two or more traveling together. To get these fares, you and your companion must always be on the same flight. If one person changes flight plans, that could mean higher fares for each traveler — even the passenger who adheres to the original itinerary.

Web-only fares are another category of bargain fares available only through the Internet. For even deeper discounts, look for Weekend Web Fares. Airlines trying to unload inventory release these fares early Wednesday morning for travel beginning Thursday, Friday or Saturday and returning Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. It’s perfect for a last-minute trip. Orbitz’ Flex Search also provides an easy, quick way to find the cheapest weekend to fly in a month.


Some sites, like Hotwire, also allow you to bid on fares. However, you don’t find out the airline or flight times until you make the purchase.

Some students also swear by consolidators, who re-sell tickets they have bought in bulk from the airline.

Other adventurous types choose to fly internationally as a courier for a shipping company. In exchange for a cheap seat on a courier flight, you typically forfeit your checked baggage allowance (the freight fills your checked-baggage allotment) and may be required to hand off courier documents.


You’ll have a better chance of finding a cheaper fare if you avoid peak hours of travel, such as early morning and late afternoon. Midday departures and red-eye flights are often cheaper. Additionally, try departing midweek, such as Wednesday or Thursday, and return on a Monday or Tuesday.

Another way to find low airfares is to choose a less-crowded, less-expensive airport to fly into or out of. The airport may be farther from the center of town, but the low airfare and savings on the flight may offset the extra cost of a taxi or rental car. Alternate airports include Midway in Chicago; Burbank and Orange County in Southern California; Providence, Rhode Island, and Manchester, New Hampshire in the Boston area.

And don’t forget about off-season opportunities. Choosing to visit a location when the tourist season is waning can be a great way to score a reasonable airfare to a pretty cool place. Plus smaller crowds usually mean shorter lines at attractions and more opportunities to meet locals.

The last piece of advice is to avoid paper-ticket fees. Pick an e-ticket over a paper ticket when given the choice between the two. Unlike a paper ticket, e-tickets carry no extra processing and shipping fees. Plus, they’re impossible to lose — an excellent feature for those who keep their dorm rooms, let’s just say, less than fastidious.

Anne Marie Razza is a 24-year veteran of the travel industry.

Copyright 2002 Orbitz LLC