If you have to be at your destination by a particular time, be careful about waiting too close to your departure time before purchasing your ticket. If you do not have your seat reserved a week before you need to be there you run the risk of not being able to get a flight. This is especially true of flights to popular destinations and during peak travel season.
Another thing to note when you're booking your flight tickets online is to consider extra fees and "hidden" charges such as credit/debit card fees, baggage, meals, certain seats, extra leg room et cetera. Factor all these in before you compare between different airlines and flights before making the final purchase. Most online travel portals require you to pay via credit card, and may charge you a hefty credit card fee. But some sites also accept PayPal (including American Airlines website aa.com, Agoda.com, hotels.com). If you buy tickets directly from most airlines, you also won't be charge a credit card fee, and you should take those charges into consideration when choosing between booking through an airline website or other travel websites. Some online travel agencies let you pay via wire transfer from your bank account.
Finding a cheap flight is about being flexible and smart in where you go, when you go, and how you get there. Follow the tips above, but don’t waste forever finding a cheap flight. If you’re spending more than an hour booking a flight, you’re spending too much time. Spend 30-40 minutes finding and booking a cheap flight at a price you’re OK paying and move on with your life. I never second-guess myself on flights. You’ll go crazy if you do.
There’s no need to feel lost in Los Angeles. Purple People Greeters answer questions, provide directions, make referrals or even call the police if things go awry. They’re easy to spot. The Greeters travel in pairs, wear purple tee shirts with “District Safety” or “Downtown Guide”, and can be visited at their Service Center at 801 S Hill St. Before you go, make sure you have a place to stay: there are plenty of Los Angeles hotels fit for any budget.
You can even book your own multi-day layovers, essentially allowing you to see 2 destinations for the price of 1. Rather than spend a day sitting in the airport, you can spend multiple days exploring the city you are laying over in. AirWander is a specialized search engine for doing exactly this. Put in your origin, final destination, and number of days you want to stopover. AirWander will return a list of places you can visit on your stopover, often even cheaper than a regular flight search engine! To learn how to do this, read our guide on How to Get Free Extended Layovers & Hack One Trip Into Two.
Typically, I start all my searches with Momondo because it searches all major AND budget airlines, non-English websites, English websites, and everything in between. I’ve been using them since 2008 and they vet all the sites they link to as they have strict criteria on who the operate with. Momondo is one of the most comprehensive booking sites out there, they have the lowest price 99% of the time, and it’s the search engine all the other travel experts I know use too.
Follow airlines on social media sites. You may feel silly adding an airline to your “liked” pages on Facebook or following them on Twitter, but the benefit of doing so is the special offers you’ll receive. Airlines want to reward regular customers and encourage them to continue flying with them, so they will often advertise special low rates and discounts via social media sites only. Follow as many airlines as you can for the best chances of getting a sweet deal.
In Google Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by hitting Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”. For Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”. This will open a new browser window where your information is not tracked, thus not inflating prices as you search. Note: if you're using an older version of OS X, open Safari then click “Safari” in the menu bar, and select “Private Browsing”.