Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tips on Finding Cheap International Flights

If you've been shopping for cheap flights online, you no doubt have occasionally found yourself in the "Twilight Zone" of international travel costs.  I speaking of course about the difference in valuations of the various currencies used throughout the world.  Unlike a national purchase where everything is dollar based, the international market uses a basket of currency or the local currency of the country where traveling.  This can lead to some very unpleasant surprises if not careful.

So how can someone see the world without going bankrupt while trying to get to see it all?  The answer is careful shopping.  Last minute deals are available for those with a less than strict time schedule.  This method of travel has been known as "stand by" air travel for years.  Using this method of cheap travel, you go to the airport, buy a ticket and sign in to wait if you can get on the plane.  Full fare customers come first, then if any seats are left, they are offered to stand by folks at the heavily discounted rate.

Of course, not all of us have the time or inclination to for leisure flight times.  The next best alternative to full fare, expensive international air travel tickets is the consolidator.  Here, a wholesaler, or consolidator purchases a block of tickets for a specified flight, day or time.  These blocks of seats have been discounted to the wholesaler because the purchase was made as part of an ongoing agreement or simply due to the "buy in bulk" discount.

Care must be taken as travel agencies will sometimes use the services of consolation companies to gain low cost tickets to sell.  The travel agency will then typically add service charges to cover their overhead and profit.  This can sometimes be significant but may be the only way to get at least a somewhat discounted rate for some of the more popular travel destinations

A quick search on the web can deliver all types of potentially cost saving offers for cheap international tickets.  Care must be taken because although many will claim the lowest prices, the fact is that additional charges, fees and costs may not all be included in each offer.  Be sure to measure apples to apples when pricing tickets from a variety of consolidators.  Some have been known to lower the price of the fare then charge extra high service fees to make it for the seemingly lower fare.  Make certain when to find out the final, total cost for your international airfare ticket before making the commitment!

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