Overview: Last-Minute Deals
It is never too late to book cheap last-minute deals. Whether you are someone who likes a bargain or a person who gets a thrill from a surprise, booking a last-minute deal is something that nearly all travelers can benefit from.
Source: Travel Holiday
In this article, AdvisoryHQ will guide you through:
- Tips for last-minute deals
- Where to find last-minute weekend deals
- The pros and cons of last-minute package deals
- The best site for last-minute hotel deals
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The Benefits of Last-Minute Deals
Travelers no longer need to book their trips months in advance. Now that you are not restricted to what is on offer at your local travel agent, you can book a last-minute deal from your mobile phone within hours of take off. It is not just flights you have control over – travel last-minute deals cover flights, hotels, car hire, insurance, and much more!
Not only can booking last-minute weekend deals or last-minute package deals save you money, it is also thrilling and can take you to places that you may never have thought of going.
The trick to getting the best last-minute deals is being flexible about your destination and your timing, which we will delve into more below.
Booking a last-minute deal can save you a lot of money, with some websites advertising huge discounts on travel last-minute deals, including:
- Kayak.com: 25% off last-minute deals
- Expedia.com: 70% off cheap last-minute deals
- Travelzoo.com: 80% off best last-minute deals
Top Tips on Last-Minute Deals
When it comes to booking last-minute deals, there are a few basics to start you off with:
- Check comparison sites for cheap last-minute deals
- Sign up to hotel newsletters for last-minute deals on hotels
- Consider going further away than you thought for great-value, last-minute deals (e.g., Thailand instead of Spain for UK travelers; Hawaii instead of California for US travelers)
- Get last-minute deals to your inbox through deal sites like groupon.com
- Fly from regional airports instead of city airports for cheap last-minute deals
- Travel on Saturdays or midweek for excellent travel last-minute deals
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Last-Minute Weekend Deals
You may have had a really tough week at work, or you want to surprise your partner with a spontaneous weekend trip – and there is nothing stopping you with millions of last-minute weekend deals to choose from! You don’t have to take time off work or arrange for someone to water the plants – last-minute weekend deals are stress-free!
Instead of planning to take all your annual leave and savings and blow them on one big trip, think about taking lots of small trips throughout the year with last-minute weekend deals. Last-minute weekend deals are increasingly popular because they can be:
- Quicker to book
- Provide destinations that are quicker to get to
- Easier to plan
Hotels, airlines, and insurance companies are catering to the increased demand for last-minute weekend deals. So, although you are being spontaneous, they are catering to your every need. As well as ever-popular city breaks, last-minute weekend deals can cover niche requirements, such as yoga retreats, food festivals, golfing holidays, surf weekends, and much more.
If you have a hobby, and you do not like the idea of a one-size-fits-all holiday, it still doesn’t mean you have to book months in advance! There are lots of last-minute weekend deals for you to choose from.
One surprising thing you might find when you visit a website looking for last-minute weekend deals is that you can get more vacation for the same amount of money! You may be offered three nights for the price of two or notice that flights are cheaper if you stay for a week. So be open-minded; you may start off looking for last-minute weekend deals but end up booking for an entire week while still spending the amount you had budgeted for. Now all you have to do is ask the boss for a couple of days off!
Last-Minute Package Deals
Speaking of one-size-fits-all holidays, we all have a friend who regales stories of that nightmare package holiday that he or she went on when the bus from the airport broke down or being stuck with a bunch of weirdos for the duration of a two-week trip. Do not let that put you off from looking for last-minute package deals.
One of the great things about last-minute package deals is that it takes all the stress out of booking your holiday. Many last-minute package deals will manage everything for you down to your cocktails by the pool!
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to organize when booking a holiday, whether it is a last-minute deal or not.
- Researching local area for restaurants, ATMs, doctors, etc.
That does not sound very relaxing, does it? And if you are looking for last-minute deals, it will be extra stressful trying to organize every last thing! So, if you don’t like the research related to cheap last-minute deals, booking last-minute package deals will be perfect for you.
Last-minute package deals can be a particular blessing for people traveling with children, as you will not have to worry about organizing or paying for extra food and activities as, most likely, it will all be included in your deal. Knowing that you and your children will be fed, watered, and entertained without any extra costs sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Not only that, but you may well find that last-minute package deals turn out to be cheaper than other last-minute deals when you are trying to organize the separate elements yourself.
However, there are some cons to last-minute package deals that you should be aware of. We don’t mean that you will be telling a story about sharing a boat cabin with a snorer for a week, but bear these things in mind before booking last-minute package deals:
- There is less freedom in last-minute package deals in terms of destination and times of travel
- You can get more choice of accommodation and destination with other less prescriptive last-minute deals
- Last-minute package deals are often all-inclusive, and you may feel guilty if you want to eat outside the hotel or do another activity than is offered within your package – probably not the number one choice for hardcore adventurers
If you like organization, a set budget, and a stress-free vacation, last-minute package deals are ideal for you!
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Last-Minute Deals on Hotels
Did you ever wonder why there is such a thing as last-minute deals on hotels? Well, the logic of offering last-minute deals on hotels is that hotels often feel it is better to get a lower price for a room than to get no occupancy at all. This is applicable to last-minute deals on flights and cars as well.
There is a flip side though: you cannot be guaranteed that hotels will be looking to sell rooms cheap. Last-minute booking can be more expensive if you are being really specific about where and when you want to stay.
You can delve deep into how to get great last-minute deals on hotels in AdvisoryHQ’s recent article: Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals
Some of our top tips on getting the best last-minute deals on hotels include:
- Research some of the best sites for last-minute hotel deals at comparison sites such as hotel.com, trivago.com, and kayak.com
- Get great last-minute deals on hotels by calling hotels directly and asking for their best rates
- Book last-minute deals on hotels at cancellable rates so that if you find a better deal, you can cancel the original one, minimizing risk (though this is time-consuming)
- The best site for last-minute hotel deals is often the hotel website itself, particularly if you sign up for newsletters and loyalty programs
If you want to keep costs low on travel last-minute deals, booking last-minute deals on hotels within driving distance is a great idea. Having a break does not mean having to travel far.
You may need a break from a house full of kids, want one night of unbroken sleep away from a noisy roommate or just feel like ordering room service in a soft robe – a night away will do you a world of good. So, what are you waiting for? Look for last-minute deals on hotels now!
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Best Sites for Last-Minute Hotel Deals
Now, hopefully, you are convinced that (a) you deserve a break and (b) you don’t need to plan a year in advance. So let’s get down to the practical stuff. Where can you find to find the best last-minute deals?
It is difficult to pinpoint one best site for last-minute hotel deals or travel deals because they all cater to different needs. Some of the sites that we visited that were easy to use and had great last-minute deals included:
- Click and Go: This last-minute deal site had a nice feature of “deal finder” to help find the best last-minute deals for those who are open-minded about destination and dates.
- TravelZoo: This is an interesting site for last-minute deals because it ticks off more boxes than just flights and hotels, giving you ideas and last-minute deals on activities and meals as well. Oh, and it offers a whopping 80% off normal prices for those for last-minute weekend deals, last-minute package deals, and, basically, last-minute deals on everything you can think of.
- Voyage Privé: If you like the idea of a last-minute deal but want a unique experience and no nasty surprises, this might be the site for you. Although you have to register (for free), there is a feeling of exclusivity about the last-minute deals on offer on this site. With specialist travel negotiators and editors, you will be hearing from people with experience regarding last-minute deals.
Other last-minute deals sites include Airfare Watchdog, Route Happy, Sky Scanner, and Yapta.
Best Last-Minute Deals
There are a few other ways to find cheap last-minute deals other than through travel sites. Here are some of our favorites.
- Go to your local travel agent: Do they still exist? Yes they do! Lots of people still find comfort in dealing face to face (or phone to phone) and having a human element to booking a last-minute deal. Since they are competing with online travel sites, travel agents will work hard to make sure to offer you great last-minute deals so that you will return to their business.
- Student deals: Students deserve good deals too, right? For those of you who need a break from your studies and are on a tight budget, the best last-minute deals for you can be found at sites such as LastMinute and StudentDeals.
- Senior travel: It is not just free bus travel that some seniors get – there are great last-minute deals to be had for those over 55. Check out Senior Tours and Transitions Abroad.
- Membership deals: There are lots of cheap last-minute deals right under your nose. Check with your bank, supermarket or other clubs that you are a member of that may be offering fantastic last-minute weekend deals that you were not aware of.
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Recap: Top Tips on Last-Minute Deals
Whether you are looking for last-minute weekend deals an hour away or two-week last-minute package deals on the other side of the world, there are a few key tips to follow to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime.
Source: Grey Line Alaska
- Read the small print: We are always telling you this at AdvisoryHQ, but here is a gentle reminder. It does not matter if you are signing a million-dollar mortgage contract with your bank or booking a last-minute deal with a hotel – read the small print so that you do not get taken advantage of. There are scammers out there, so make sure that the company you are dealing with is licensed. You can read independent reviews of its services.
- Be flexible: If you want to go to a certain hotel in a certain place at a certain time, do not rely on last-minute weekend deals or last-minute deals on hotels. Have an open mind. You may have been thinking about going somewhere more mainstream. However, sometimes, last-minute deals take you off the beaten track and give you a unique holiday that you will never forget!
- Think outside the box: Instead of booking your holiday when everyone else does, book for off-peak. Instead of going on the weekend, go midweek. Instead of going to the main airport, go to the other one that you hadn’t heard of until now. Instead of going to the most popular place, go to a less-known one. You get the picture. This is how to get the best last-minute deals.
Now all you have to do is pack your suitcase and have fun!
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