Watch your timing. Booking far in advance used to be the standard advice, particularly when it came to cruises. But times have changed, Kelleher says. "People aren't booking as far out these days because they're nervous about losing their job. That makes the travel provider very nervous, and it's another reason why we're seeing a lot of deals: It's hard to forecast occupancy in hotels and on cruises." In general, there is plenty of occupancy, so go ahead and monitor it every once in a while, but waiting until the last minute—two to four weeks before—is likely to get you a better deal.
One caveat: Most airlines will refund the difference to you if your ticket price goes down after you buy, provided you buy directly from the carrier.
One last tip: Tuesday afternoon is the best time to look for airfare sales, Kelleher says. Often, an airline will put up a sale on Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon, most other airlines will bring their prices down to match that sale.