Last month we had been on a vacation to UK for 10 days. My business does not afford the luxury of planning trips months in advance so we had planned this trip in less than 20 days – right from Visa to air tickets , hotels, rail journeys everything just over two weeks.
We were aware that we might have to end up spending significantly more than if we had planned say 3 months ago. However we did a lot of research and discovered some great websites which allow you to buy cheapest last moment. And it helped that UK in winter is not peak season. Through this and the next few post we plan to share some of the travel hacks.
One of the biggest cost components for international trip is the flight cost, accounting roughly between 25% -40% of your total trip expense. Since we were travelling to UK, we first applied for VISA hoping to get that soon and then planned to book our tickets. We were closely monitoring the airline ticket pricing for a week and saw it rising twice in that period. The day we got our visa processed, 14 days before our flight, we checked the flight cost had increased to 2000 USD for 2 people – ( Mumbai-London, Glasgow-Mumbai)
Now the job on hand was to ensure we’re sure we book the cheapest flight available. So how did we go about it. We did compare prices across our regular set of travel sites which we have been frequenting till then . Here’s a quick look at these websites
- makemytrip.com ( In India, for International trips we found makemytrip much better than cleartrip)
However all of them showed similar prices, just a few dollars here and there. And so we were about to book our tickets at 2000 USD. However we were not quite happy as we were hoping to come across some website which would have special offer.
And thats when we came across this website which helped us save almost 20% of our flight cost. Thats almost USD 500 i.e around 32k
This was the only website which showed a radically cheaper fare of 1500 USD compared to all others. And yes it was a genuine price as we later went ahead and booked the same
And this has been one of the best find for us among other great travel hacks we have come across during our trip planning experience.
This site is http://matrix.itasoftware.com .
ITA software was developed in 1996 by a scientist from MIT with an objective to provide airline data in a useful format. In 2010, Google acquired ITA Software. So this is actually a Google website which hardly anyone knows about
Now this site is unlike any other travel portal. First you cannot buy a ticket on this site. It will share airline, booking class and time classification for the cheapest ticket. With the booking codes provided which are most accurate and in terminology which your agent understands, you can use the details to book it thought any travel agent.
We found the price of this site to be really the cheapest available online at that point compared to over 20 sites we had searched for. It provided the most accurate and credible information for most of the airlines.
(Actual screenshot of the search we did that day to finalize our cheapest fare.)
We used the information and went ahead and booked the tickets through our agent and in the process save almost 500 USD
Besides the ITA Software has many other interesting search parameters whereby you can search for cheapest fares uring a month or to a particular destination. I strongly recommend everyone to bookmark http://matrix.itasoftware.com for International airfare search as we strongly feel that you can definitely save good amount during booking your tickets . (Please note those in India and using this for local fare search, it may not necessarily provide great results as most of the local carriers are not included, This works beautifully for international travel)