For at least 48 hours, and possibly longer, the most e-mailed recent story on the New York Times website was "How to Choose an Air Travel Search Site." So it's obviously a topic of more than marginal interest.
My own focus when it comes to covering travel isn't bargain airfares. But when it's time to book my own flights, I'm as cost-conscious as the next penny-pincher, especially since most of my current trips are on my own dime.
My own practice—and what I preach, when others ask me—is to first check the major online travel agencies (Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia), run a quick check on Kayak, and finally compare the prices with those on the airlines' own websites.
It's not pretty, or quick, but I've never found a single source for reliably lowest pricing.
It was a relief to find that the New York Times' Frugal Traveler, Seth Kugel, endorses that approach.
He did suggest adding to the mix several booking sites that I was aware of but haven't yet tried: Hipmunk, Momondo, and Routehappy. But the basic advice remains the same: To find the best deal, you'll have to check a handful of websites. There is no definitive source for best prices. And there isn't likely to be one any time soon.
Reader Reality Check
How does the above compare to your airfare shopping technique?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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