1. Initially I use the web. I will check out Booking Wiz (use their airline price checker below). I also check out major travel sites such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com & Hotwire.com & Gogobot. I then directly check the websites for the airlines that fly to my destination locations. Typically I will spend 90-120 minutes researching airfare on the web before a buying tickets to an International destination.
2. In order to find cheap tickets and low airfare, I call several of the so called “Bucket Consolidator” air companies in my area. These are independent travel firms that often buy large quantities of tickets to certain destinations and as a result get discounts from the airlines. Some of these companies will concentrate their efforts on a certain part of the world or certain countries and so tickets might be cheaper to these places. Get a hold of the newspaper for the closest major metropolitan area to where you live; these companies usually advertise in the travel section of that cities newspaper.
3. Fly during the off season! There is a lot to be said for this. Tickets are often cheaper, seats are more available – as a result you may have more options with additional airline carriers.
4. Another method used to find cheap tickets and low airfare is to call the airline directly – sometimes you would be surprised, the price is cheaper than using the web. Sometimes you can even talk the price down a little bit – have only had limited success with this but it doesn’t hurt to try. I list many airlines & their contact info here.
5. If you live in a major metropolis, sometimes flying out of a different airport may make a difference in price and help you find cheap tickets and low airfare.
6. Often varying the day you leave or return by a day or two has vary good results as far as lowering the price. I’ve found Tuesdays are usually a cheap priced day to travel on – weekends tend to be higher priced. Along these same lines consider searching for your tickets on Saturday mornings. I can’t confirm this but have read in several sources that some airlines release low unadvertised fares on Saturday mornings.
7. As a final option, you might consider flying Courier. Usually many stipulations apply and unless you are very flexible flying courier may not work for you.