Our advice for saving money on travelling more often than not involves booking as early as possible, before rising demand pushes prices up. But that’s no help to you if you’ve failed to get organised in time or just feel like doing something totally spontaneous.
So if you’ve left it until the eleventh hour, don’t worry. Here’s the lowdown on how to snag an awesome last minute vacay.
Being extremely flexible is probably the single most important aspect of grabbing a great deal on a last minute vacay. Without flexibility you’re really narrowing down your options as well as potentially excluding yourself from the best deals.
Ideally you need to be pretty fluid on everything from when you leave and how long you go for, to what destination you actually hit. This way you give yourself a far higher possibility of finding a suitable deal that works for you.
Book an all inclusive
Often the very best last minute deals are all-inclusive packages in popular resorts. They tend to start to drop in price around 8 weeks before departure date as the tour operators try to fill up any remaining spaces they have.
As a general rule, the finer you cut it, the further prices will come down. This is because the closer it gets to a leave date, the more desperate companies become to avoid empty plane seats and empty rooms.
Book everything separately
If you’re not a package holiday or resort kind of person you do still have options. But they will involve putting a lot more elbow grease in yourself. Booking everything individually allows you to personally search out the best deals on everything from flights to accommodation.
A great place to start is to use a flight search engine to simply search for flights to “anywhere”. Order the results by price and voila. Then you can do a separate search for accommodation checking hotels, hostels, and Airbnb to find the cheapest type of stay suitable for you.
Use a hotel re-booking service
A relatively new and exciting emergence on the travel scene are hotel re-booking services. The basic premise is that you book your accommodation using a site that has a free, 100% refund policy. You then send the rebooking service all the details and they monitor the same hotel to see if the price drops or if they can find a better deal.
If it does, they send you a message with details on how and where to rebook and you simply cancel your original booking and re-book exactly the same accommodation at the new lower price. It’s win win, costs you nothing, but could potentially save you a significant chunk of cash to spend on other things. Check out sites like Pruvo or Service for more info.
Do your research
Bear in mind that budget airlines often fly to more obscure airports. Sometimes even if it bears a city’s name, it might be many miles away meaning getting to and from the airport could cost you more than the flights themselves. Sometimes you might also find cheap flights, but the destination could be super expensive to visit. Check all of this out before you commit.
If you’re booking a package, make sure it includes everything that you’d expect and study the fine print to make sure there are no hidden extras. Unscrupulous operators occasionally try to add on resort or facility fees, extras to use the wifi, or charge extras for transfers from the airport to the hotel.
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