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Rick Seaney says:

  1. Free Airfare Email Alerts: This technology lets you know a particular cheap airline ticket price exists and the dates it is applicable (and FareCompare's Free Email Alerts get you this information before anyone else can).
  2. Research Date Search: This technology allows you to see days — including the last depart date (hopefully with better weather) that you can select for your dream trip and then helps you find those seats at the that cheapest price
  3. Keep Looking: It is possible a particular airline quoting system isn't working very well (especially on international), there are several and each have there strengths and weaknesses — that's why we provide several other systems to use for comparison purposes — more solid technology.
  4. Educate yourself: FareCompare provides all kinds of informative and entertaining news and blogs where you can learn about airline partners, tricks, tips, and more. And you can find new tips and tricks everyday; combine your "University of FareCompare" education with our advanced technology, and you come out a winner in the Cheap Airfare Sweepstakes.

Tips For Cheap Tickets

Eileen Ogintz writes:

Consider going to Europe, said Expedia's Chris McGinnis. Sure, the dollar is still as weak as ever, but you can score a business-class ticket for what coach costs in the summer and bargain hotel rates. Even better, "you'll be in Europe with the Europeans, not a bunch of American tourists," he said.

Buy a package that includes hotel, airfare and car. A visit to Cheap Tickets.com (www.cheaptickets.com), for example, will show you exactly how much you can save. Expedia.com says you can save as much as $200 per person on a three- to four-day package. Find last-minute deals on Web sites like www.lastminute.com.

Also, if your kids are begging to hit the slopes, choose a ski resort that is within driving distance or one accessible from a major city, like Denver or Salt Lake City.

Save even more if you stay in Salt Lake City (www.skiutah.com), only half an hour drive to many of the state's ski resorts. Stay in Denver, www.colorado.com (the JW Marriott Cherry Creek, www.jwmarriottdenver.com, has a good deal that includes a $50 gift certificate for the tony mall nearby), and take the ski train (www.skitrain.com) up for a day at Winter Park (www.skiwinterpark.com).

Let the kids test their mettle at the terrain parks at Echo Mountain (www.echomt.com) just outside Denver. (You can get a $29 lift ticket — less for kids — from 3 to 9 p.m.)

The best part: Not only do you get your getaway, but also the kids will see you as that adventurer you really are.

For more Taking the Kids, visit www.takingthekids.com, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. Distributed by Tribune Media Services.

Jane Engle writes:

Don't count on fares dropping in 2008, experts told me, even though more airlines will fly to London. That's because Heathrow and Gatwick have limited slots; oil prices remain high; and fuel surcharges of up to $220, along with taxes and fees, already add hundreds to each transatlantic ticket.

2. Book packages or group tours. Packages combine flights, hotels and often airport transfers and other costs into one price; tours typically add guides, meals, ground transportation and more. Either option can save you money, because operators get volume discounts and may buy British currency in advance to cover expenses. To book a package or tour, see a travel agent or check websites of travel sellers and major airlines.

As an example of savings, a recent Virgin Vacations package charged $2,670 total per couple for LAX-London round-trip airfare, six nights at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, daily breakfast, taxes and fees. That was $432 less than the lowest total I found online for the flights and hotel on the same March dates. (These prices may no longer be available.)

3. Lower your standards. It's tough to find a well-reviewed hotel in London for less than $250 a night, and that's with no frills. Anyone with limited means and a heavy touring schedule should look at two- or three-star lodging. Why book a luxury hotel if all you will do is sleep there? If you have Champagne tastes, try bidding for rooms on sites such as www.priceline.com or using frequent-stay points.

4. Try a hotel alternative. Some bed-and-breakfast inns may charge as much as hotels, but their rates at least include a meal. (Some hotels include breakfast too.) For longer stays, consider renting an apartment to save on food costs or a room at a private home. For families, a home-exchange program can work well. Or cultivate London friends who may put you up next time.

5. Budget for breakfast. Expect to pay $15 and up for even a modest spread at a London hotel. If you must have your morning tea and toast, book a B&B or search out cafes, which are likely to charge less.

6. Hit the markets. Londoners buy their food at stores, and so should you. The savings can be huge. On my last London trip, in August, I paid $7.50 total for a tuna salad, big enough for two, and bottled water at Simply Food, a gourmet chain run by venerable Marks & Spencer. I then walked to nearby Hyde Park and paid nearly that much for a cup of coffee and a scone at the Dell cafe. Lesson learned.

London's open-air markets also offer fresh, affordable dining options. One of the best is the Borough Market on the South Bank, www.boroughmarket.org .uk.

7. Picnic in the park. Take your takeout outdoors for free fun, natural beauty and stellar people-watching.

8. Use transit. With cab rides from Heathrow into central London running $80 and up, plus tip, you're almost compelled to find a cheaper way. In fact, there are several.

Options include the Heath- row Express train (adult fare is $29 and up), 15 minutes to Paddington, www.heathrowexpress.com; the Heathrow Connect train ($13.80), 25 minutes to Paddington, www.heathrowconnect.com); and the Tube (4 pounds or $8 cash), 45 minutes or more, Piccadilly Line, www.tfl.gov.uk.