Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas
You've heard the stories of casinos springing to fly high-rollers into Vegas for a weekend of gaming. For the rest of us, finding cheap flights to Las Vegas tops our priority list when planning a vacation in the 24-hour entertainment mecca plopped in the middle of the Nevada desert. With a little research and planning, you can save enough to pay for another show or meal, or buy a little more time at the table trying to outwit the blackjack dealer.
Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Start Early
Plan as far ahead as possible. If you start three or four months before your vacation, you'll have enough time to shop around for cheap flights to Las Vegas. There's something to be said for spontaneity, but if you decide to book a flight a week ahead, you're pretty much stuck with paying full fare – and that is definitely not a cheap flight.
Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Go to the Internet
Get on the web and start searching. Your first stop should be the ITA Matrix, a sort of clearinghouse for airfares. You can't buy your ticket directly, but you can get an idea of the fare range for your travel dates. Next, check out a reputable online travel agency such as Orbitz, Expedia or Travelzoo. Enter the dates you plan to fly and other requested details, and the program will pull up a list of multiple airlines and prices to compare. You can then click on the flight you want and pay for it right there. Simple enough, but be aware that the cheapest flights to Las Vegas often are the most inconvenient, with brutally early departure times, late-night arrivals or multiple layovers. Also, you should go directly to the airline's website to see if the same (or a lower) price is offered there. You may at least save some fee charges.
Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Be Flexible
Play around with changing your arrival and departure dates, if you can. You may find significant discounts for leaving a day early or returning a day later. If you are truly flexible, you can bid on cheap flights to Las Vegas on one of the "opaque fare services," such as Hotwire or Priceline, which also offer fixed-fare options. You enter the days you want to fly and offer a price (you'll need to enter your credit card information first). If an airline accepts the price, you've got the flight and your credit card is charged. If not, you'll get a chance to bid higher. Be warned that the rest will be unknown when you bid. You could get a flight with many layovers and extremely inconvenient departures and arrivals, and you can't choose the carrier. But if you do have that kind of wiggle room, you can score some fantastic deals this way.
Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Be Aware
Keep an eye out for special fare sales. A great way to keep track of this is via social media. Follow the Twitter accounts for your favorite airlines, and become a fan of their Facebook pages. Scan travel sites frequently. Some online services can alert you about sales. Also be aware that the time of the year could affect the price of a flight: holidays or during major sporting events are not the best time for cheap flights to Las Vegas.
Finding Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Other Options
Check the fares from smaller airports if one is convenient – they often are cheaper. Think ahead if you're offered a ticket voucher to be bumped from an overcrowded flight: That delay in returning home from a family visit to Cleveland in May could mean a free flight to Vegas in September. And then there's the perk of frequent flier miles if you travel a lot; accumulate enough and you'll fly free, and the free ones are the cheapest flights to Las Vegas!
Photo by prud_de on Flickr