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Cheap Flights

With each trip you take you have to factor in two sets of costs.  These are base costs and the other is variable cost.  They both will have a profound effect on how much you pay for your trip and—in turn—how much fun you will have.

The variable cost of your trip is the day-to-day expenditures that you will pay for things like, food, entertainment and sightseeing.  While these are up to you in many ways and you can control your spending with relative ease.  For instance, if you are hungry you can choose which restaurant you go to, and also once you are there you can choose what to order.  Keeping frugal in this regard will greatly affect your overall cost.

On the other hand there are base costs.  These are the costs you pay before you leave for your trip and they can be just as important, in many ways they are the most important of all because you have far less control over them.  Base costs include clothing and gear for your trip, like camping gear, bathing suits, shots and your passport.

Accommodation is another base cost that can also be considered a variable cost, depending on what type of trip you are taking.  If you book your hotel in advance, it is a base cost.  If you are backpacking, or you decide to that you will find accommodation when you get there is a variable cost.

However, of all the base costs, your flight is by fat the most important.  For many people the flight will make up at least one half of their total costs and therefore, you should try and save as much money as you can. Cheap flights are out there for those who are eager to find them, but it does take a fair bit of savvy and experience to know a good deal when you see it.

The relationship between base and variable costs will directly affect your trip.  For instance, if you save $200 on your flight, all of that money can go to better food, more booze and a sexier bathing suit.

The Internet

The Internet has radically changed the way people shop for flights.  With more airlines than ever before and more websites offering deal, the search for a cheap flight can be a harrowing ordeal.  The following is a top ten list of travel sites that offer flights to just about anywhere for just about any price.

1 Travelocity

Clinging to the status of number one Internet travel site, Travelocity is a catch-all for your travel needs, they claim to have the best prices on the web, but really who doesn’t these days.  It is a good bet though as with cheap flights on the Internet a company that can stay in business usually has good product so they are worth checking out.

2 Fodors.com

Fodors.com is a log established company most famously known for their travel guide books.  Like any enterprising company with some brand-name solidarity they have branched out into the Internet retail business and so far they have shown that they know their stuff.    The best aspects of this site are the great articles they have culled from their team of writers for the site.  But hey, you’re not there to be entertained, you want a cheap flight and while there are good deals on the site, there is no guarantee that being the most popular guidebook translates into the best prices for discount flights.

3 Expedia.com

This is more like the Amazon.com of the cheap flight market.  Expedia is down to business, no frills site that easily allows you to hunt down the cheapest flight available.  The only negative aspect of the site is that it requires the user to have a certain amount of web knowledge to navigate it successfully.  This is part of their streamlined business model and it partly why the site is so successful.

4 Yahoo! Travel

Wow! Yahoo! has their fingers in just about everything these days!  They do know what they are doing and they have put together a pretty decent travel site here.  They really benefit from the powerful search engine technology they pioneered to scour the Internet looking for the best deals.

5 Lonely Planet Online 

Much like Fodor’s, Lonely Planet Online has mustered the success they have built with their guidebooks and harnessed it to finding cheap flights.  Sadly though, they do a much better job with their guides than with their Internet retail, and you would be advised to look elsewhere for the absolute cheapest deals around.

6 Discovery.com Travel

Again, this is another site hoping to parley their name brand into $$$ in the travel business.  They do an all right job, but again it would be a good idea to look elsewhere for pure ideas on flights.  They do have good offers to strange destinations, so if that is what you are looking for, it is one of the best.  Plus, their travel reviews are top notch and worth the time you’ll spend on the site.

7 About.com Travel

All flash and little substance.  Avoid this site if you can.

8 CNN.com - Travel

CNN has great stories on their site, but what makes the site really good are the easy to miss advertiser links that are on it.  These advertisers pay top dollar to have their ads on the site and they are serious about finding you a flight.  Also, the ads change depending on what stories you search for so in many ways the ads are tailor made for your convenience.

9 Excite Travel

Essentially this is just a less popular version of Expedia.  They have the exact same interface and many of the same deals.  This site is perfectly good for your needs, but there is a little less security than Expedia, which has been around for a while longer.  However, in the spirit of free market competition, you might want to support the little guy and keep prices down for everyone.

10 New York Times Travel

This is the swankiest of the swank.  New York Times really knows how to make traveling seem like a sophisticated adventure.  But…you are not looking for sophisticated, you are looking for cheap.  I would suggest you buy your tickets on another site, and then tell people you booked your flight on the New York Times site.  They’ll think that you are totally cool and worship you for the rest of their lives.  Unless you are from New York, then they just smile and politely talk behind your back.

So there it is folks your starting guide to the amazing world or finding a cheap flight on the Internet.  This site has several other pages with more specific tips on how you can keep your base costs down and your enjoyment level up.