Getting good deals on hotels and flights used to require booking far in advance, but you’re not out of luck if you suddenly find yourself with a little extra vacation time. There are plenty of places where you can find discounts for every phase of your trip even if you book at the last minute.
Use Websites Wisely
Sites such as Travelzoo, LastMinuteTravel, Hipmunk and Kayak are designed to help you find last-minute deals. These options display your best bets for cheap vacations days or weeks before you want to travel instead of months. You can search for flights and hotels individually or seek out packages and tours that offer discounts for every part of the trip. Other services like Google Flights and Skyscanner will only help you find discounted airfare. Most sites for deals also have apps that you can use to hunt for discounts right from your smartphone.
Grab Airline Specials
If you have a condo, timeshare or friend’s house to stay at when traveling, low-cost airfare is all you need to make your getaway a reality. Following airlines on Twitter or scouring their websites early in the week can unearth some great deals. There may be seats available on flights that the airlines haven’t been able to fill and are hoping to sell before the scheduled time of takeoff. Combining these deals with travel miles earned from previous trips or through a credit card program could mean that you score airfare completely free.
Get Savvy with Apps
With apps like Airbnb, HotelTonight and Roomer, you can grab lodging even if you wait until after your flight lands. Hotels use these apps to offer deals on late check-ins or to sell off rooms that other people had to cancel. These apps may not be what you’re looking for if you’re not comfortable with the idea of being without a place to stay upon arrival. However, if you can get into an adventurous mindset, you can combine the last-minute flight deals from airlines with the deals these apps offer to get the cheapest trip possible.
Traveling to your chosen destination in the “off season” can save you money on both flights and hotels. As an added bonus, many locations are less likely to be less crowded with tourists. Search sales sites using the dates you have available for travel to find the least expensive places to go. You may also want to consider flying on holidays rather than departing a few days beforehand. Most people prefer not to fly on these days, so you may be able to secure a cheap seat on an undersold flight.
Opting for last-minute deals may mean that you can’t get a good price for the place that you want to go. However, you may find discounts on trips to areas you never even thought to check out or even land a luxury package at much less than its usual premium price. Remaining flexible about departure times is another smart tactic that can get you much cheaper airfare. The money you save could be put toward extra activities while you’re on vacation that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford.
With these options for travel deals, you don’t have to lock yourself into a vacation schedule months in advance and run the risk of losing your investment should you have to cancel. A little smart shopping around could land you a unique vacation that gets you “away from it all” at a price that’s easy on your bank account.
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