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Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com
To find the cheapest flights, it's going to be important at the outset for you to establish two timelines simultaneously: one will determine when you make your fare purchase, and a second timeline for your flights. Remember that many airfare discounts are fleeting at best, so you should be prepared to make an immediate purchase once your buying timeline opens. Remember that many airlines still require a Saturday night stay or a 21-day advance purchase. Also remember to check for blackout dates on airfare sales. Frequently, the most popular travel dates (and the ones you desire) are blacked out and ineligible for lower fares. If you can manage some flexibility in your itinerary, it can pay big dividends. In many cases, just a day or two can make a big difference.