7 Steps to Finding the Absolute Best Last-Minute Flight Deals
When you want to book a last-minute trip, the last thing you want is to spend a lot of money. These seven travel-savvy tips will help you save money and discover the best last-minute flight deals.
If you find yourself taking last-minute trips, you are not alone. Research found that four in ten travelers plan and book their vacations within just two weeks of their departure. The secret to enjoying this type of instant travel without any anxiety or remorse is to find the best last-minute flight deals.
Last-minute travelers (often referred to as LMTs) share some specific characteristics:
· 92% consider themselves spontaneous
· They are most comfortable using online sources to search for the best last-minute travel bargains
· And 60 percent of travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal
If you’re one of the millions of Americans feeling the itch to travel and want to head out of town, use these seven tips to find last-minute travel deals and cheap flights and hotels.
1. Be Flexible with Travel Dates, Airports, and Other Details
When making travel plans, flexibility equals savings. Last-minute travelers tend to be less constrained than others who plan months in advance. And this is an essential attribute in finding last minute flight deals.
Being impulsive and not a picky flyer will make it much easier to find bargains if you have no particular travel agenda.
This might mean visiting a destination in the off-season, traveling on weekdays, flying very early or late in the day, or on indirect flights. If you can travel mid-week or during “off-peak” times, you can save a remarkable amount of cash and keep more dollars in your wallet.
For example, avoiding flights on Friday evenings and Monday mornings, when business travelers are more likely to travel, means you can pocket some extra cash. In other words, some of the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The difference of one day can mean hundreds of dollars in savings.
But if you’re unable to be flexible with your dates, be flexible with your location. And that includes your airport location. A small change in where you land can save you hundreds of dollars.
Google Flights is a powerful search engine for travel savings. If you can be adaptable with where you want to go, this site will show you a variety of ticket prices for multiple locations with its “explore map” feature.
Being a little impetuous is a great way to take advantage of the best travel deals available. Simply let the deal be your inspiration.
2. Tech Savvy: Follow Your Favorite Airline and Save
In our ever-changing world of technology, you may be surprised how many deals you can find just by following the airline or hotels on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms. Social media is usually the most immediate source to learn about a flash sale with deep discounts.
Smaller airlines tend to be more aggressive in having one-day promo codes that they tweet out, while more established companies like JetBlue and American Airlines often offer flash sales and promotions via social networking.
And don’t forget the airline’s own website. Signing up for their newsletter and allowing them to send alerts to your email inbox can help score some incredible last-minute deals.
3. There’s a Travel App for That…and Just About Anything You Need
Planning a spur-of-the-moment trip doesn’t have to be a hassle or overwhelming. Whether you want to plot a dream holiday or a weekend getaway on the spur of the moment, technology can now make the task quick and affordable.
Some of the most popular travel sites and apps include the easy-to-navigate Expedia mobile site and the well-known Travelocity for flights, hotels, cars & activities on-the-go.
But don’t overlook some of the less known mobile apps and websites. Here are three hidden gems:
o Fareness.com is a unique app. Simply select your dates, and immediately, a list of the cheapest airfares to various cities will pop up, even if you’re searching for cheap international flight options.
o Hopper offers a variety of features that help you find the lowest priced airfare. Its forecasting software tracks airlines’ ever-changing ticket prices in order to predict prices and alert you when it’s the best time to buy a ticket.
o Last Minute Travel offers exactly what the name promises by featuring deals on trips departing within a few weeks. The downside here is that you need to purchase a membership to get the best deals. The upside is that they promise last-minute airfare deals worth up to 60 percent off.
4. Use Airline, Rental Car, & hotel Coupon Codes to Save Even More
Superior savings on websites such as PromoCodesForYou list coupons that can be used on websites such as Hotels.com, as well as specific hotel chains. These discount codes help assure you receive exceptional savings when planning your journey. Plus, by using these promotional codes, you will have more spending money in your pocket during your travel adventure.
5. Bundle Flights, Hotels, Cars, and More for Extra Discounts
Whether you’re searching for a ski getaway or a sunny escape, consider package deals. Some of the best discounts come when you purchase a bundled package (hotel, car, flight), even you do so at the last minute. All-inclusive last-minute travel vacation packages may not only allow you to save on food and beverage costs, but it can gain you access to super cheap flights.
Package bookings are particularly popular for travelers who wish to stay in more luxurious accommodations without paying high-end retail rates. In one recent survey, travelers saved up to 40 percent when they bundled their bookings at a hotel rated four stars or higher. By choosing major online travel sites, there is no question you can save money by booking your airfare and accommodations together.
6. Call the Airline and Talk to a Live Human
If you are of a certain age, you’ll remember a time when you actually picked up the phone and called the airline or resort directly and asked for their best rates. Many organizations still offer lower costs when contacted in this manner, and honor their reward program members with favorable prices.
And don’t forget to ask (in your sweetest voice) for additional perks when booking your accommodations. Want breakfast included? A room facing the beach? A discount on for the fitness club? Sometimes, just making a request directly to the hotel will provide you with extras such as free in-room movies, spa discounts, and more.
7. Don’t Hesitate and Book Now Before It’s Too Late!
To get incredible last-minute deals on travel, you will want to book as soon as you see them. The best savings often get snapped up in minutes.
That said, be sure you've read the small print and understand fully what you're getting for your money (and what you're not getting). Read that annoying disclaimer in tiny type since many special offers have severe penalties for changes or cancelations.
There are Exceptional Benefits of Last-Minute Travel
There are a variety of reasons individuals, couples, and families actually prefer to travel on the fly. Although this might stress some people out, deciding to go somewhere at the last minute can be thrilling and cost-effective. Last-minute hotel deals and cheap air tickets can make traveling at the drop of a hat a wonderful and inexpensive experience.
Up, Up, and Away
Putting together a trip on short notice, whether out of impulse or necessity, doesn’t have to break the bank.
As we all know, planning in advance can save money on airline tickets.
But when you don’t have the luxury of advance notice or you just find the need to get away, implement these seven simple tips to find the best last-minute flight deals and relax during your time away from home.