There’s a real thrill to planning a last minute holiday, packing up your bags and jetting off to a previously unexplored destination. It’s spontaneous, exciting and can mean you bag a real bargain – if you do it right.
If you’re new to the world of late holiday deals, check out our guide to help you get away for a price you can afford.
Flexibility is the key
It might sound obvious, but the most important thing when you’re looking for a last minute deal is to be flexible. Don’t dismiss any destinations – in fact, pick somewhere you know very little about if you can, it will make your travels more exhilarating.
You should also be as flexible as possible about when you go away. Of course, this might be restricted by leave you’ve already got booked, but if you can, take a look at the prices of flights and hotels before you apply for time off of work – you might find that moving your holiday one day here or there can make a big difference to the amount you pay for flights.
Finally, don’t be fussy about when you travel. By this we mean look for flights at inconvenient times of the day that are likely to be avoided by mainstream holidaymakers. Late night departures typically tend to be cheaper than those that leave in the morning or afternoon, for example.
Do your research
This step does take a bit of time, but it can pay dividends if you manage to shave yet more money off your last minute holiday costs. Don’t just use one website to check the prices of holidays – look at several and compare what’s available with different providers.
Research doesn’t just involve seeking out the tour operator with the best deals, though – it also means checking what exactly is included in any given package. The cheapest option may not be the best value for money when you break it down in terms of what’s on offer (we’re talking about food, accommodation, flights and activities as an example).
Don’t wait to take the plunge
When you’ve found a deal that you’re happy with, don’t delay booking it – one of the things about last minute holidays is that the offers aren’t around for long, so you need to grab them while you’ve got the chance.
Putting off making a booking for a few days or week could mean you have to start looking all over again if all the packages you were interested in have been snapped up. It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no sense in continuing to check prices once you’ve booked your holiday – you might be smug if you’ve got a great deal that can’t be beaten, but you could also put a downer on your trip if the price falls again after you’ve paid for it.
Enjoy the experience
Booking last minute breaks comes naturally to some people and is incredibly hard for others – the best thing to do is enjoy the spontaneity of it and treat it as an adventure. Planning a holiday in this way may introduce you to a destination you’ve never considered (or possibly even heard of) before and it could turn out to be one of your best-ever holidays.
Once you know where you’re going, do a bit of reading about the attractions and sights in your chosen destination, but don’t plan too much – part of the fun of travelling in this way is doing things on the fly, so get local recommendations once you arrive and see if you can uncover some hidden gems.