Q. Holey Moley! Fares have skyrocketed - especially from my home airport of Fresno. Even worse than ever! Trying to get to Charleston, SC in Feb and it's costing an arm and a leg! I want to be there for my son's college baseball game. Any suggestions?

A. Indeed, fares are on the rise. However, with some flexibility on which airport you can fly from/to, it is possible to search out a better deal for certain itineraries. In this case, trying to fly between two smaller markets, it can be difficult to find a low fare. If driving a few hours to a larger market (i.e. San Jose) is an option, consider the price difference. This can result in tremendous savings, especially if there are multiple travelers in your party. Also, with more airlines to choose from in a larger market, you are likely able to find better routings that only require one stop. Trying to fly between two small markets coast to coast can often require two stops for the lowest fare, which could even take longer in total travel time than driving to an alternate airport that offers a better route. Although it won't help for February travel, Southwest is going to begin flying in and out of Charleston, SC beginning March 13, 2011. With this increased competition, fares from/to Charleston will likely drop.

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