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8 Tips to Finding the Cheapest Airfare

missions Fundraising, Planning to Go, Travel Add comments

airplane wingOne of the biggest challenges a missionary may face is funding, and a huge part of the expense is the airfare. If your organization isn’t purchasing the tickets for you, then finding the best airfare will be up to you. However, it takes more than just searching on popular airline booking sites. There are certain strategies for finding the most affordable price.

1. Shop Around
The price of your flight will mainly be determined by factors like the number of stops, seat quality, destination, date of departure and return, and flight duration. Think of that song with the lyrics, “My mamma told me, ‘you gotta shop around.’” Indeed you do.

2. Try Destination Specialists
These are brokers that specialize in providing tickets to specific locations. Examples are Travelspears.com, destinationcebu.com, cheapflights.com, and travelsense.org – this one provides a directory of travel specialists. These destination specialists often have more buying power for specific locations over traditional booking agencies.

3. Check Airlines Directly
Traditional online booking sites like cheaptickets.com or expedia.com may, at times, have the cheapest price.  However, these sites often tag on a booking charge for just buying it from the carrier that will be sending you on your mission. These sites can still be used to your advantage by using them as a search engine. When you input your departure and return flight information you’ll notice they have multiple carriers with multiple prices. You can simply note the cheapest airfare, go directly to that site and find it cheaper there. 

4. Be Flexible with Dates
If you can be flexible with your dates of travel, your savings will be heavy. Cutting your trip a day shorter or even longer can save hundreds of dollars. Prices also differ for the time of day the flights depart. The flights that leave during the week are cheaper compared to weekend flights.

5. Buy in Advance
Buying in advance is another way to save money. Ideally the best time is 2-3 weeks in advance. I find that buying too far in advance is actually more expensive as ticket prices fluctuate like the stock market when departure time comes near.  I’ve seen tickets drop suddenly the day before the flight when they want to fill the plane. However, when purchasing an international ticket, you don’t want to risk not getting a seat. Therefore, it might be better for peace of mind to go ahead and get it much earlier.

6. Try Neighboring Airports
Don’t stick to only one international airport. You may find neighboring airports, even a city or two away, are incredibly cheaper. Sure, your trip might take a little longer, but think of it as quality time to have a nice talk with someone or to chat with God about your upcoming journey.

7. Use Multiple Airlines
Airline prices are really tricky. Roundtrips are sometimes cheaper than one-ways. Don’t automatically stick with roundtrips with one airline. You may find a cheap one way ticket with one agency or airline on a specific day while finding a cheap flight with a totally different agency and airline for the return trip. You would think the agency would find the cheapest price both ways, but sometimes they can’t outprice their competition.

8. Pick up the Phone
With some effort, you may be surprised at the amount of money you can save on international airfare. Good research does take time, however. Also be aware that prices can change from one minute to the next. If you find your internet searching is making your bubble burst, calling the agencies and airlines may be the way to a cheaper airfare. You may even find that customer service reps become more helpful when you mention the purpose of your flight.

Photo by Freakland – ???????

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