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How to get the lowest airfare online

How to get the lowest airfare online
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Are you ready for your next vacation?

Maybe you need a break from the weather in your hometown and you want to head to a sunny beach destination. Or perhaps it's time to take the family to one of the world famous theme parks for an adventure that your kids will never forget.

Either way, airline prices can cost you a pretty penny these days. That is unless you have some tricks up your sleeve that will save some hard earned money.

That's why you need to know these tips to help you get the lowest airfare online.

Buy and travel on the right day

You've probably heard that the day of the week and time of day you buy tickets can make a difference. Well, you heard right, although no one can seem to agree on the day or time.

That's why we have an entire tip untangling the mystery. Click here to read it before you even think of pressing the "Check Out" button.

You can also head over to Kayak and when you run a search for tickets, you'll see a Price Trend box in the left-hand column. It tells you whether to buy or wait and Kayak's confidence level in the forecast. If you want more information about how Kayak made its decision, you can click the box with the lowercase "i."

Just because you got a low ticket price doesn't mean it won't go lower. The good news is many airlines will refund you the difference if the price drops a certain amount after you buy. But who has time to look up ticket prices every day?

That's where Yapta can help. It keeps an eye on your tickets and alerts you when the price drops. Yapta claims annual savings of $334 per user, which means you can put that money toward a better hotel, a few nice dinners or just put it back in your bank account for life after your trip.

Search for flights Incognito

This is the trick that most people never think of. Most airfare tips have to do with the airline itself, and the way these fares change over time. But this trick has to do with your browser, and how it communicates with flight-booking websites.

When you upload a page, the website remembers that you visited before. Many bargain-hunters believe that this awareness causes the prices to steadily climb because you have already expressed interest in a given itinerary.

You can test this bargain-hunting theory out by browsing for flights in Incognito mode. This is how to do that using different browsers:

Google Chrome: There are a few ways to open an Incognito browser if you're using Google Chrome. The first is to right click on the Google Chrome icon before you launch the application. This will bring up a menu with the option, "New Incognito Window."

The second option is easy to use if you're already browsing in Google Chrome. Simply open a new tab, then hit (and hold) the following keys down: Control, Shift, N (Command, Shift, N for Mac users).

Firefox: In Firefox, this private browsing option isn't called "Incognito Mode," it's called "Private Window." To access this, just open a new browser and click the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner. There, you'll see a drop-down menu that lists an option called "New Private Window."

Safari (on desktop): When using Safari on your Mac, you can open a Private Window in the same way as Google Chrome. Just right-click on the icon, and select "New Private Window."

Safari (on mobile): On mobile, opening a Private Window is a little bit different. While in the browser, tap the Pages icon in the bottom right-hand corner. This will show you all of the windows you have open, and at the bottom of the screen, you'll see the + sign to open another window. Tapping the + sign will open a regular browser. If you'd rather browse privately, be sure to tap "Private" right beside it.

Android: To prevent the website from recognizing your IP address, Android users can employ their "Incognito mode." To use an Incognito window on your Android device, open Chrome, then click More (the three vertical dots), then hit Incognito Window. When the new window opens, you'll see the incognito icon, which looks like a face with a fedora and glasses.

Not every device or browser has an incognito-like feature, but there's another way to get a similar effect: Most websites recognize your returning visit because of the cookies they install on your computer. Just delete all your cookies and browsing history, and these online services won't recognize you.

There is some debate on whether using Incognito Windows and eliminating cookies don't have a substantial impact on airfares. Each website works differently, so it's hard to say. But feel free to tinker with a regular window and an Incognito Window and see what happens. When it comes to travel, it isn't the destination but the journey.

Flexibility can save plenty

While seats usually get more expensive the later you book, the deals only get better. If you're self-employed, retired or have a really understanding boss, then you can get some amazing rates if you cruise enough deal sites.

Last-minute deals are usually advertised through third parties and built entirely to fill empty seats that just lose the airline money.

Today, for example, DealNews, an all-purpose bargain website, is showing $49 for a Southwest flight from Washington D.C. to Providence, Rhode Island; $63 from Portland to San Francisco; $85 from Baltimore to Ft. Lauderdale; and more.

When you're shopping around, you might also notice that the tickets with the lowest prices are usually "non-refundable." While you want the savings, maybe you're a little unsure about locking yourself in. After all, plans change, and maybe you could find a lower ticket price.

Before you pass, there are a few caveats to the "non-refundable" label. The biggest one is that the tickets are refundable within 24 hours of purchase. So, if you find a cheaper ticket within that window, it's no big deal.

Of course, you can also get a refund if the flight ends up delayed, canceled or altered after you book. It's a good idea to have an app like Flight Aware so you know where your flight is before you hit the airport.

Now that you know some money saving tips, get out there and enjoy. There's a whole world to explore.

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