“Chase the fare, not the destination”


When asked recently my best tip for finding cheap airfare for summer travel, the easy answer is one I’ve been pursuing for a few years now: Chase the fare, not the destination. It isn’t that I don’t care where I go on vacation, it is just that, well, I actually want to visit just about everywhere so when a cheap fare to somewhere comes up odds are that location is on my list.

There are some other tips in the article, too, including using alternate airports and the flexible search on ITA. But chasing the fare has been, for me, the best approach to finding the cheaper flights I’m interested in.

What works for you?

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

13 Comments

  1. I’m still learning to Miles / Points and award travel. Tips like this are very helpful. Still expanding my horizons! Thanks!

  2. This is precious yet simple advice for the too many friends who ask me, where should they travel this summer & they’ve yet to book?

    Personally, I don’t fly much in the summer due to social obligations with area friends, but if I were to, I’d indeed do it by cpm’s and PCU possibilities.

  3. best search tool when you know your destination is Hipmunk.com, but that will not give you “every destination.” For those, check out the specials on each airline and the OTA sites, then try and book yourself. Additionally, airline getaway/vacation desks sometimes have great deals if you combine with a hotel and/or car

  4. Ah I understand the philosophy, but really for me I have so many specific destinations in mind that I really want to hit them all up. So for me the focus is more about how I can get to one of those destinations as cheaply as possible. Maybe I should open up to the fate of pricing a little more!

  5. Chase the fare has really become our philosophy as well for many of our trips. We have some destinations we really want to see but like you, want to go basically anywhere and everywhere. Last Oct we were deciding where to go over Thanksgiving when a DL/KL mistake fare popped up and we were off to AMS. Recently decided to go to IST for this Thanksgiving when ~$525 NYC-IST fares were up a couple weeks ago…fit pretty well with my VDB vouchers.

    A lot of people look at me funny when they ask “why AMS/IST/etc” and I just answer – because it was a good fare and why not?:)

  6. your fare finder on your site is great.. is there any way i can download them all into a spreadsheet so I can more easily manipulate that data? please let me know..

    1. I don’t have a data export available at this time, Steven. I will consider it but there is a ton of data there so appropriately filtering it seems like a critical aspect of the process. Is there something in particular you’re looking for?

  7. Well, i’m working on scripting some alerts for myself, as well as trying to scrape some extra fare details.. mainly YQ/YR and a few items in the rules that are important to me (re: stopover rules, i love free stopovers!!) as well as routing… but i need a good list/databse of basefares to start with/query.

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