FareCompare Travel Tips & Advice (travel)

The following tips will help you find cheap flights and satisfy the demands of the pickiest of relatives

Direct download: How_to_Be_the_Perfect_Family_Travel_Agent.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

Good news: Some airlines are lowering fuel surcharges. But only some.


Direct download: Some_Airlines_Lower_Fuel_Surcharges._Not_U.S._Airlines.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

We are about to enter the best deal zone of the year. Yes, a zone filled with deals.



Rick:  Hey everybody. Thank you for joining me on the FareCompare weekly Podcast. My name is Rick Seaney. I’m the co- founder and CEO of FareCompare. We’re gonna chat a little bit in this Podcast, about some of the magical dates, that you need to be reminded of, during the 2015 flying season. We’ll talk a little bit about domestic travel. We’ll talk mostly about international travel. And joining me today to talk about these dates is our editor from the site of FareCompare.com, Ann McDermott from California. Hey Ann.


Ann:  I look forward to this Podcast every year. Because every body is always asking about, what are the magical rates.


Rick:  Well let me give you a couple of them okay. So look, this year with fuel prices down. I think the one bargain that we’re likely to see, is international flying, and prices for international flying come down. With average fuel surcharge over both the Pacific and in the Mid Atlantic, is in the mid $400 range. If you’re gonna call it a fuel surcharge, and the fuel goes down buy half. You better start cutting fuel surcharges, or we’re gonna have a bunch of policy makers in Washington DC, cutting them for you. Which is the last thing airlines want. We’ve already seen Senator Schumer in New York complaining about ticket prices. So I do expect some of these fuel surcharges to come down. Now, the magic day for flying to Europe at the moment. This is the craziest thing. If you leave on May the 14th to go to Europe right now. You’re gonna pay about anywhere from 20-30% less, than if you leave on May the 15th


Ann:  Really?


Rick:  Right. This is basically the change in season, when the pricing changes from winter time rates, basically to sort of what we call, spring rates. There’s also a jump later in the summer. But that May 14th day, that’s the magic day. That’s the last day you can fly on a 7 day trip for Europe. Typically for under a $1000 round trip. I think that price may come down over the next couple months, as we go through that.  So those are the magic dates, that’s a particular magic date. 

Then there’s another magic date which is August 23rd, that’s a Sunday. On August the 23rd, if you fly on that day, compared to August the 22nd. You’ll pay almost 40% less, as summer time rates go away. 


Ann:  And that’s Europe too?


Rick:  That’s Europe as well, yeah. So August 23rd is that magical date there. 


Ann:  And its 40% less?


Rick:  Yeah.   


Ann:   Almost.


Rick:  Almost 40%. So in some cases. On non stops it not quite 40%, but some of the connecting flights it is 40%.  So those are those 2 magic dates. Those are very similar to the dates that you would find in Asia. Those seasonal dates as far as that’s concerned, would drop pretty dramatically during those dates. Now we won’t really know the dates for winter time, because that typically happens sometime in mid October. Usually sort of October 22nd to 24th range. We won’t know the exact day for a while. Because airlines really aren’t really managing those fares. You shouldn’t be buying anything for October. Its way over priced at the moment, for international.   And then there’s another slight drop later in November, for full winter rates. So again, we’ll talk about those dates, as airlines start to pad out their schedules later in the year, when we get into spring time. You wanna start shopping for international travel about 5 months ahead of time.   


Ann:  Okay. What about domestic fares, and do they do something similar? 


Rick:  Yeah. Okay so we talked a bit on another Podcast, about the deal zone. Certainly the last 3 weeks in January, the first 2 weeks in February, and the last 2 weeks in February, outside of President Day weekend, are the cheapest time to fly really for the year. There’s a couple other deal zones, in early December for example, which is pretty cheap. But those are perfect times to fly. In fact around the country, if you fly over the next 5 weeks. You’re gonna pay some of the cheapest prices, year round. 

If you’re paying over $300 round trip anywhere, you’re paying too much. So that’s perfect then. Now, here’s what happens. Airlines know exactly when your spring break is. So whatever that spring break week, they’re treating that as summer time rates. So if your spring break week happens to be in mid March. Or in my case the second week in March. The difference in price between, the second week in March for me, and the third week, is about 40-50%. Especially for Saturday, and Sunday departures. So you will be able to find some of these cheaper tickets prices, outside of your spring break weekend. And also outside of the Easter holiday weekend as well, in April. Now the prices go up pretty dramatically for departure starting in late May, and early June. Typically that date right now for domestic, we don’t know the exact day, because the airlines aren’t managing those early June dates. But it’s typically that first week in June. So we’ll know the exact day here, in the next 3 or 4 weeks. 


Ann:  Okay. Well probably first week in June as you point out. That’s when tickets are gonna jump.


Rick:  Yeah. So airlines basically now treat summer time, which is basically June, July, and the first 3 weeks in August, as the same thing as Thanksgiving and Christmas, right. So the demand is going to end. By the way the demand should be even higher this year. I mean if people are saving $10-$25 every time they go to the pump. They’re gonna have some extra money in their pockets, to travel, and that’s gonna increase demand. We gonna see some pretty stiff prices. Even under the pressure from policy makers, there’s no reason for airlines to discount, when the demand is so high. 


Ann:  It sounds like you’re saying, for people that don’t have children. But are still thinking in terms of summer vacation. They should either take a very early summer vacation, or a very late one.


Rick:  Yeah. There’s no doubt that if your kids have the benefit of actually, getting out of school in May, many of them don’t. You can do that first week. That’s what we did last year. My daughter got out of school, the next day we took our summer trip, to save some money.  So that would be sort of the late May departure, if you could absolutely do that. Or if you can actually go that last week in August, or the first few weeks in September. That’s when really the savings are. Now you will able to find a few deals here and there, during the summer. If you go on a Tuesday for example, or Wednesday. There will be a few sales here, a few and far between, and if you connect on your flights.  But that’s when the real zones and dates are, is you just have to sort of pick and choose for summer time. Really you shouldn’t be shopping for summer until probably sort of March, April time frame. It’s a little too early right now, to shop for summer. 


Ann:  And you should buy your tickets for summer vacation, like have that purchase wrapped up about a month before you plan on departing.


Rick:  Yeah.  You wanna start about 3 months before, which would put you in sort of mid March time frame. Depending on if you’re going in June or July, all the way up through April. But do not procrastinate inside of one month. Inside of one month, airlines know your shoe size. They know which way you wanna go. How you’ve done it, the last 4, 5 years, and they’re gonna charge you a pretty penny, especially for non stop. So make sure you buy that ticket between the 3 months to 1 month widow. If you’re inside a one month, you’re playing right into the airlines hand.   


Ann: So we are talking about magical dates, for flights from the US to Europe, being May 14th and August 23rd. We will have more information on US dates as we get closer to that. So if you’re thinking about that great trip to Europe this summer, well now you’re informed. 


Rick:  Yeah. So here’s what I would do for the spring break weekend, for domestic plus 2 days travel. So if your spring break is, like in my case. Mine is the week of March 9th, which is a Monday. So March the 7th or 8th is going to be 50% more than leaving on March 9th or 10th


Ann:  So don’t fly the weekend. Fly 2 days into it.


Rick:  Yeah. 


Ann:  And you can save up to 50%.


Rick:  Yeah.


Ann:  Oh boy.





For more information about this topic, or others in the airline industry. Go to FareCompare.com, or find us on ITunes. 

Direct download: Cheapest_Days_to_Fly_2015_Edition.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:17pm EDT

If you love gadgets, consider heading to CES (Consumer Electronics Show), the annual international gizmo extravaganza in Las Vegas. Also, we tell you about other Las Vegas enticements.

Direct download: Best_Reasons_to_Visit_Las_Vegas.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

We are about to enter the best deal zone of the year. Yes, a zone filled with deals.

Direct download: Deal_Zone_Jan_2015.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Direct download: Most_Expensive_Days_to_Fly.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

Direct download: Buying_On_Weekend.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 11:32am EDT

Direct download: Delayed_Cancelled_Flights.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

In a recent column for ABCNews.com, I wrote about some of the things that are allowed through security and some of the things you can’t bring with you. There are a few surprises on both lists.

Direct download: Best_Christmas_Destinations_.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

It’s holiday time. If you’ll be flying, you paid plenty for your ticket. The last thing you need are more airline fees.

But before you shut your wallet, take a look at the following fees; they’re not expensive and they could make your life a whole lot easier. Sometimes it pays to pay a little more.

Direct download: Six_Airline_Fees_Worth_the_Money.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT