If you’re a traveler in desperate need of a last-minute getaway, you don’t have to compromise by paying sky-high prices. In fact, there are plenty of great deals and savings only available to those who are willing to be flexible and purchase deals a day or two before departure. So if you want to save when planning your next last-minute trip, follow the tips below.
1. Compare Ticket Prices
Don’t purchase the first flight itinerary you come across. Do your research and look across multiple platforms. In some cases, buying two one-way flights offers a better discount than one round-trip ticket. If you’re traveling internationally, you must book your return flight before you depart. When you arrive at the airport, they will typically want proof of your return in the form of a receipt or itinerary.
2. Use Your Points
If you have a credit card, look at which rewards are available to you. Many cards offer points for each purchase you make, which can later go towards travel purchases like airfare or a hotel room. Some cards even offer money back, such as one to two percent of every purchase returned in cash. You can then use this extra money to pay for expenses like taxi fare or meals.
3. Save With Bundles
You can easily find savings when you look at travel packages which bundle the flight, hotel and even a rental car. If your vacation is a spontaneous one, many bundles can be booked just 24 hours ahead of time. If you want to plan your whole vacation in one swift move, look for a travel bundle that also includes fun activities in your destination city.
4. Travel Mid-Week
It’s known advice that to get the best airfare deals, you should travel during the middle of the week. The cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with weekdays typically being more affordable than weekends. Avoid Friday evenings and Monday mornings, where an excess of business travelers tends to jack up the rates.
5. Use an Agent
Sometimes planning a last-minute vacation can be a hassle, especially when you want to save money. One great option is to consult an expert — a travel agent, in other words. Since agents are paid by the airlines and hotels they choose, you pay no fee for using their services. Agents are also an excellent resource for figuring out how to make the most of your time and money once at your destination.
6. Try Alternative Lodging
Going to a hotel website and booking the first room you find will often mean paying exorbitant and unnecessary prices. In the age of apartment and room-sharing, there are plenty of online sites where you can find unique local accommodations for a fraction of the cost. Or, if you’re into the adventure of traveling, try staying at a hostel. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing a bunk bed, many offer private rooms for a few extra dollars.
7. Find Last-Minute Deals
Last-minute deal sites and apps are a great way to find hotel specials you can’t get anywhere else. Many of these sites negotiate directly with hotels to fill empty rooms and get you a better deal. If you don’t mind taking some additional risk, you can save more money by booking a mystery deal, where your accommodations aren’t revealed until after you’ve confirmed the booking.
8. Practice Hotel Hopping
Having a base camp during your travels, like a hotel room, is a great way to stay relaxed and comfortable on your trip. But if you don’t mind a tad less stability, you can save money by practicing hotel hopping: switching hotels from one night to the next. When you wait to book a room until the day of, many rentals offer steep reductions in the price. Using more than one hotel during your travels is an easy and effective way to save cash.
9. Pack Bags Strategically
Gone are the days when you could bring jam-packed bags to the airport without having to worry about exorbitant fees. Now, the best way to save cash is to only bring a carry-on, which is free on most airlines. Keep in mind that some brands, especially budget chains like Frontier and Spirit, charge a fee for carry-on baggage, which increases the longer you wait to purchase a baggage pass. This fee can range anywhere from $30 to $65.
10. Consider Ride Sharing
While it can be nice to have a cab to yourself, you can easily save money by looking at ride-sharing options. Some of the most common are app programs like Uber and Lyft, where you can order a ride directly from your phone. If you’re at the airport or a hotel, many offer free or cheap shuttles to popular destinations. If you aren’t afraid of public transportation, the local bus or train can also provide great savings.
Prepping for Your Last-Second Trip
Just because you’re planning a last-minute trip doesn’t mean you can’t find exclusive savings. There are plenty of deals available to travelers who wait until the last minute. From flights to hotel rooms, you can plan your ideal trip without breaking the bank.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter & Pinterest.