Tips for Smarter Last-Minute Travel

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We’ve all heard fantastic stories of people booking last minute holidays and saving a fortune. But, you might have had less luck when trying to do it yourself. You might have waited until a few weeks before your week off work to look for the perfect deal. Only to find that there’s nothing available, or that by the time you’ve added necessary extras like luggage allowance, taxes, transport to the airport on both sides and currency, you’ve actually ended up spending more than you would normally have. You could have also found that something that looked like a fantastic deal online, actually took you to an inappropriate location, a poor-quality hotel or even an unsafe area. Even if everything went well, you got a great deal and stayed somewhere really nice, you might have regretted leaving it all until the last minute as the stress of waiting, and sorting everything out in a short space of time left you stressed out and unhappy. Some people would rather spend a little extra to give themselves the time to prepare and pack for their break without rushing around.

The truth is, last minute travel can go either way. Some people are great at it. They find the right deals, get everything sorted and have a brilliant vacation. Others find that the deals are rarely worth it, they hate the stress and have had bad experiences. Luck certainly comes into play, but there’s a lot that you can do to ensure a great deal and a fun vacation.

Know When to Book

Shopping for discount holidays is a little bit like hitting the reduced section of your local supermarket. If you go in early in the morning, there might not be a lot there. Or, your store might reduce their stock on a particular day of the week. Unfortunately, there’s no clear rule here, and different travel agents and airlines reduce at different times, so monitor prices and keep your eyes open to spot patterns.

You’ll also notice that the day that you travel plays a part in price. Of course, traveling low season is cheaper than high. But, flying on Tuesday-Thursday is much less expensive than on and around the weekend. Night flights can be much cheaper too.

Think About What You Want from Your Break

When it comes to last-minute trips, to an extent, you need to be open minded and willing to try new things. Sure, you can get a cheaper deal on a specific location. But, to get the best deals, you need to be willing to try new places.

However, it’s a good idea to have a sense of the kind of holiday you want. Do you want to go on a city break? Are you looking for winter sun? Do you want a family-friendly break, near plenty of tourist attractions or are you looking for peace? Write a list of everything that you want from your holiday to help you filter your results.


Just because you are booking last minute doesn’t mean that you need to pack last minute. If you’ve got some time off coming up and you are hoping to travel, start packing. Think about that list of things you want from your break and pack accordingly. You’ll have a rough idea of climate and packing needs. Just leave room to add a few bits when you’ve booked and know precisely where you are going.

Prepare Passports

Getting passports and visas last minute is often one of the most stressful parts of last minute travel. If you know that you plan to travel, you can apply for a new or first passport in advance. But, it’s not always that easy. You won’t know if you need a visa until you know where you are going and sometimes trips do come entirely out of the blue. In this case, you need to make sure you get the necessary documents on time.

Look at Separates and Packages

Often, the cheapest way to travel is avoiding package deals and booking your flights and accommodation separately. Shopping for the cheapest deals on both and building your own break. When it comes to last minute, however, you might find package deals have more significant reductions. It can also be less stressful, and you know everything is including in the price.

You might also want to look at booking your flights as singles, instead of returns. You could even fly from different airports or with various airlines. Look at all of your options before booking.

Do Your Research

Don’t just see a cheap deal, book and get on the plane. Make sure you know where you are going. Look at the local news and climate information if you are tempted to book a deal to somewhere you’re not familiar with.

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