The Best Way to Book International Flights

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The Best Way to Book International Flights

Several options exist to aid you in booking international flights. (Photo: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images )

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Before you travel internationally, one of the first items you must obtain is your flight ticket. Options for purchasing international flights are abundant, which can make knowing whether or not you’re getting the best deal confusing. The best way to book an international flight depends on your personal circumstances, including how flexible your travel dates are and whether you have a strong preference for — or against — a specific airline.

Step 1

Visit a specific airline’s website and search for fares if you must fly that airline, be it for frequent flier mileage accrual, personal preference or other reasons. Book an international ticket using frequent flier mileage directly from the airline as well.

Step 2

Search an airfare aggregator — Kayak, FareCompare and Skyscanner are three options — to peruse international ticket prices and flight schedules for all airlines that fly a particular route on a particular date if you’re not tied to a single airline. Set date ranges — one month, for example — rather than specific dates, to view the best available fares over long periods of time.

Consult a travel agent if your travel is extremely complicated — for example, if you’re visiting several continents in random order — or if you want to book accommodations, rental cars and other add-ons alongside your vacation. Although travel agents have lost market share in recent years thanks to the rise of self-serve travel websites, their expertise and one-on-one attention is helpful if your travel needs are complex.

Book an international flight through a student travel agency such as StudentUniverse or STA Travel if you’re a college student, under 26 or a university faculty member. Airlines offer discounted airfare to youth, students and professional academics and provide the fares to agencies like these so students can access them. Visit either agency’s website to complete a search for your dates and destinations.

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