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How to get the best prices on airfare using tech tools and travel hacks

Posted June 22

Wanderlust is contagious. Seeing friends’ amazing travels on social media gives us the itch to seek adventure. But it’s too expensive, right?

While travel can be pricey, those seeking to see the world should be ready to strike when they see a good deal. With the airline reservation requirement that allows cancellation within 24 hours without penalty, there’s no reason to hold back.

But remember, there are tricks to ensure your next opportunity to explore the globe is right around the corner.

Visit these websites.

The Flight Deal will only post a fare if it costs less than 6 cents per mile. That would mean, for instance, it won’t post a round-trip, nonstop flight from New York to Paris unless it’s less than $435. The deals are so good, they usually don’t last long.

Secret Flying finds great fares and posts details on its website. Unique to this site is that it posts open-jaw flights, meaning you don’t fly in and out of the same airport. This is a great option for when you don’t just want to stick around in one place. It’s especially helpful when traveling abroad to cover the most ground possible and not be forced to backtrack.

Also fantastic are the error fares that show crazy-low prices because of technical glitches or human error. Travelers need to book these fast with a credit card and hold off on booking any other travel arrangements until they’re sure the airline will honor the fare.

Sign up for email price alerts.

Skyscanner says it works by using a unique proprietary technology that connects people directly to everything the travel industry has to offer. Whatever it is, it works. This should be a go-to for low prices on flights, hotels and transportation.

Google Flights is a must. Sometimes I’m game for anything. I love that I can put in dates (like my kids’ fall break) and then discover places I could fly to and the price tags that go with them. It’s also a great tool if you know you want to travel to Maui within the next six months but are flexible on dates. Put the parameters in and wait for Google Flights to alert you when the fare drops.

Follow this account on Twitter.

Airfarewatchdog has people stalking airline websites in case a fare sale pops up. They let you in on promo codes and check by hand to make sure there are actually seats available at the great price.

Follow this account on Instagram.

Flights From Home shows amazing fares from only a handful of areas (Southern California, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver, San Francisco, or Portland). But lucky you if you frequently fly out of one of those locations.

Flights From Home tells you what airline is offering the deal for which dates and then lets you know step by step exactly how to book it. It will even do Instagram Stories with easy-to-follow tutorials to show you how to find these smoking-hot deals.

Watch the fees.

If you think you’re getting an amazing deal on some budget airline like Frontier, check the fine print. Some airlines charge you for even bringing a carry-on, and more for checked baggage. Often, you can get a flight on a more comfortable airline at a comparable price when you take all the baggage fees into account.

Since most airlines now charge for checked bags, isn’t it time you learned how to fit everything in a carry-on? You will never have a lost bag, you save time by skipping the baggage areas altogether and you are less encumbered by large luggage. Here’s the Travel Channel’s pack hack video.

Time is money.

I’ll say it one more time: Join TSA Precheck. Click here for my full reasoning, but suffice it to say you get to skip the long security lines and never have to take your shoes off again. You get all this and more for five years for the low, low price of $85. Seriously, sign up now.

With all these opportunities to get flights for really good prices, there is no excuse to put your travel dreams on hold. Just be smart and use all the tools at your disposal to make sure your wanderlust doesn’t break the bank. Happy travels.

Amy Iverson is a graduate of the University of Utah. She has worked as a broadcast journalist in Dallas, Seattle, Italy, and Salt Lake City. Amy, her husband, and three kids live in Summit County, Utah. Contact Amy on Facebook.com/theamyiverson

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