Hey you! Yes you, the Skyscanner checker, deadline day deal lover and last minute booker. Sometimes, we wonder why you put yourself through all this. Because for most, booking a last-minute holiday is a roller coaster ride of broken hearts, promises and the occasional mad dash to the airport. For others, however, it’s a thrill ride. Or, frankly, due to work and familial commitments, as well as financial concerns, a simple necessity. This one, then, is for the latter; our 5 IDEAL tips for saving money when booking a last-minute holiday.
When booking a last-minute holiday, you can cheat yourself into the mindset of thinking that you’re backed into a corner. And that’s what they want you to think. We’ve all seen that warning when booking a room to the wire; ‘hurry! there’s only one room left’. Yeah, sure, we believe you guys. The truth is, this kind of attitude is entirely unnecessary, if ‘last minute’ isn’t a literal, to-the-clock translation. Even with just, say, a week left until you’re chosen dates, if you’re adaptable and fluid with your arrangements, you can still have an orderly and affordable holiday. Resist the urge to rush.
SIGN UP FOR ALERTS
Yep, the word ‘alert’ doesn’t exactly make us feel settled and serene either. But you mentioned you were the type who enjoys a good old fashioned Mexican standoff, right? As such, most airlines and price comparison websites will bestow you with price drop alerts if you sell your soul (your email address, actually) to them in return. If you can bear a barrage of promotional material for the rest of time, you might just notice a deal you fancy in amongst the debris.
Airlines also offer days of huge price reductions and discounts from time to time, so keep your eyes and ears to the ground if you want to be off it, on the cheap. If you’re looking for international flights leaving the UK and Ireland, the good guys over at Jack’s Flight Club scour the internet to bring you the best discounts, hidden offers and error fares, allowing you, in theory, to snap up cheap flights. You just need to subscribe.
Whoever said last-minute holidays need be done during peak season, when everyone else is jetting off and putting the prices up accordingly. Indeed, if you’re flexible with your flight times and dates, you can slash your expenses quite comprehensively. And that’s why you’re here. For example, flying midweek in the off-season will likely land you the best prices going, and the same is true with any train tickets also. As a general rule, travel at times when holidaying is at a lull, and you’ll enjoy cheaper trips that are also quieter on the tourist front. A double win!
LOOK FOR DISCOUNTED HOLIDAYS
Many holidays are cheaper if you book far in advance, as are some travel costs. However, there are some holidays especially tailored to customers who book last-minute, and these mostly involve the much maligned but actually rather convenient packages. When companies need to fill up seats and spaces in travel and accommodation, discounts start being offered at increasingly slashed percentages; a boon for the gung-ho holiday maker, that’s for sure.
Always remain on the lookout for a good deal in the right places. Whether it’s family-run hotels or lavish villas and apartments, there are many establishments in various high-profile countries that specialise in offering discounted holidays for the last-minute holiday goer. Seek them out, and you might just score a bargain.
DON’T PAY FULL PRICE
It’s not just the holidays and travel arrangements themselves that can be discounted at the last-minute, but holiday activities too. It’s for a similar reason in many cases; filling seats, squeezing every penny they can out of the consumer market that day, and so on; a simple case of supply and demand, if you will. As a case in point, the diner cruise Paris regularly offers discounts on the day of travel to entice those still on the fence, down from it.