Costa Rica has become one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world, so finding a bargain airfare to Costa Rica can challenge even a seasoned travel agent. Even so, with a littler perseverance and a lot of flexibility, Costa Rica airfares don’t have to break the bank. Here are some useful tips:
- Book your own flight. Websites like Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, and Orbitz.com dominate the ‘self-help’ booking sites. These sites compare fares across most major airlines and offer up a choice of the cheapest and the best. Don’t forget to check airline websites too. Major airlines offer online discounts on certain flights that even in-house booking agents don’t know about. One word of warning: In almost all cases an online bargain airfare requires up front payment in and these payments are generally nonrefundable. So be certain you can travel at that time or forfeit the cost.
- Book early. As with other vacation accommodations, the earlier you nail down your Costa Rica bargain airfare, the less expensive it is likely to be. Be aware, however, that if you plan to travel during peak season, Costa Rica airfares are likely to be on the high side no matter what you do. Purchasing your ticket well in advance can guarantee you a comfortable seat on the day you wish to travel, however.
- Sign up for last-minute deals. Conversely, if you are fairly flexible and have a general idea of when you wish to fly to Costa Rica but no definite date, consider signing up for last minute deals at major airline websites and the big do-it-yourself booking sites. Most of these last minute bargain airfares come in on Tuesday or Wednesday and are for travel on the coming weekend, but a few come in farther in advance. You can also check SmarterTravel.com; a website that lists last minute bargain airfares every day fir travel all over the world.
- Choose your own price. If you know when you want to vacation in Costa Rica but you aren’t overly picky about how you get there or what time of day you travel, you can bid for a specific bargain airfare at websites like Priceline.com, Hotwire.com, and Biddingfortravel.com. These websites don’t tell you the airlines up for bidding, you are instead bidding on price alone. If you’ve never done this before, bidding for a bargain airfare to Costa Rica might not be the right place to start. Often the mega-bargain sites that compare providers (like Travelocity.com) easily beat the prices for Costa Rica bargain airfares at the ‘blind’ sites, so it isn’t as simple as it may seem. Some people use the blind sites a lot however and love them.
- Consider using a travel agent. If you think you can’t afford to use a travel agent, you might be wrong. Many banks and credit cards now offer free or discounted travel services. An experienced travel agent will be aware of issues that arise over bargain airfares that you might not even be able to imagine. Travel agencies also routinely get special airline deals that no one else can access, while the personal control offered by online travel sites can sometimes be illusory, especially for first time travelers.
No matter how you decide to book your Costa Rica bargain airfare, be honest with yourself about your needs and preferences.
A bargain is airfare only a bargain if, after all is said and done, it results in a safe and happy Costa Rica vacation.