How can I find cheap airline tickets on the Internet?

Shop for airline tickets like you shop for a car — know the value of what you’re buying so that you’ll know a bargain when you find one…and won’t get stuck with a lemon.

If you’ve seen The Roaming Gnome, you know that Travelocity is one of the big players in discount air travel, along with Expedia and Orbitz. Priceline is also a competitor, but we suggest you focus on the offerings of the “Big Three” to get your best deal.

Orbitz has a “Deal Detector” that lets you register a price you want, then alerts you if it shows up. Travelocity has a “Fare Watcher” function that alerts when prices change on a route. You need to do the work yourself at Expeida.

Travelocity and Orbitz let you know when the lowest prices are available. They’ll even search alternative airports near your destination — a key money-saver. So if your schedule is flexible and/or you don’t mind a little extra driving to and from your vacation home you can take advantage of some great far-off departure dates OR a just-around-the-corner special.

Get Connected – We don’t mean that you need to buddy-up to the CEO of an airline company…you need a FLIGHT with connections. Non-stop flights are generally more expensive.

Beware of Consolidators – A consolidator negotiates bulk contracts with travel suppliers and then sells those services to travel agents or the general public. Although they were once a source for good values, today the savings over published fares are often small, and restrictions can be high. Look before you buy!

Membership Has Its Privileges – Membership in a travel club is usually priced modestly…often under $100. In exchange for your membership fee, you’ll receive information about dirt-cheap, rock-bottom unpublished fares.