This coming winter I'll be going on my usual trip to Europe. As I'm planning my trip to Germany, I'd figure it's a good time to let my readers know what places to search as well to save some money!
First of all timing is the most important. If you're flexible and willing to go off-season then you'll be saving the most right there. It's important that these prices can literally drop hundreds just by offsetting the date by one week or to the weekend. So I ask, are a couple of days worth hundreds to you? It sure is for me!
Here's an example. If you're planning a 4 day - 3 nights trip for 2 adults and 2 kids to Disney's Park Hopper staying at their Paradise Pier Hotel from August 27 to the 30th, you'll be booking it for $1540.06 but push that back not even one weeks to Sept 1 to the 3rd and you'll be looking at $1253.04, a huge savings just because it's no longer the peak season come the 1st.
Similarly for flights, the cheapest time both international and domestic flights are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Where the most expensive is Saturday for international and Sunday for domestic flights. Also usually early morning or late evenings are the cheapest as well, while afternoons are the most expensive.
There are tons of website search engines out there to look for tickets. But the list below are the best ones I've found for both domestic and internationals with some small comments.
Kayak - A really fantastic website, originally you could only search flights and hotels but they seem to be continually broadening now including vacations, deals, car rentals, etc. They will search hundreds of websites (including other search engines) for the cheapest flights and can show you in a couple of different views with great filtering options. I usually find my cheapest deals here.
Expedia - This website is similar to kayak where they will search about several website and give you the cheapest around, however, from my experience, they'll give you the same or slightly more expensive flights than kayak.
Orbitz - What can I say, we all know orbits.
Travelocity - Dito
Bing - Bing is becoming a lot more popular now, I don't use them too much but they're great for domestic flights because they can show you how the prices have been fluctuating!
Ebookers - Because I mostly travel to Germany, this is a great website, sometimes they'll have flights a tremendous amount cheaper than kayak.
ITA software - ITA software is a little bit unusual, it'll give you flights that are available and prices, but working it is a little bit tricky to get the most out.
Once you have your flight booked, you'll probably want to head over to Seat guru to pick out the best seat around!