I live in Cincinnati with one of the most top 10 most expensive airports in the country (CVG). I also spend a lot of time traveling and searching for flights.
One strategy I've used to avoid this is booking Kayak-style "hacker fare" for a domestic ticket to a hub like LAX/ATL/etc. with an international flight out from the hub, then a return ticket from destination to home (with connections of course).
It doesn't sound like it'd be that significant, but it made a recent trip to New Zealand & Australia about 40% cheaper, though it does take some extra effort.