Have you ever had an unexpected opportunity to take some time off? Or have you planned time off to stay at home, then decided that it would be nice to take a vacation? There was a time when last minute trips were difficult to successfully plan, not to mention expensive. But today, it’s entirely possible to set up a vacation on the spur of the moment without spending a fortune.
What’s the secret? It’s the Internet. Airlines have never liked to have empty seats, and hotels have never enjoyed having empty rooms. So when they have open or cancelled reservations for dates in the near future, they are often willing to let them go at a discount in order to make at least some profit from them. Before the Internet, it was difficult for travelers to find these deals. But now, it’s a piece of cake.
How to Find Last Minute Deals
There are lots of websites where one can find last minute travel deals. Some of the most popular include LastMinute.com, CheapTickets.com and SmarterTravel.com. MSN also offers a flight search that compares prices from several of the best travel booking sites, located at Farecast.Live.com.
The key to finding last minute deals is looking for them at the right time. If you search too far ahead, airlines and hotels will not be willing to give the big discounts because there’s still a good chance that the seats/rooms will be sold at regular price. If you search too late, you could miss out on the best deals. As a general rule, try searching three to four days before your desired departure date.
Many airline and travel websites run newsletters that feature last minute deals. If you know that you will have the opportunity to travel in the near future, try subscribing to some of these. Keep a close eye on your email, and you might be able to snatch up a great deal.
Remember that you’ll have to be rather flexible if you’re set on getting a last minute deal. You may not be able to get a flight and accommodations at your choice of locations. It’s best to have a few possible destinations in mind before you start looking. If you can’t work something out for your first choice, move on to the next one on your list. Also, you may have to settle for departure or arrival from a less convenient airport.
With the ease of finding travel deals online, last minute vacations have become increasingly common. Even those who plan time off months in advance sometimes wait until the last minute to make arrangements, simply because they can get better deals. It’s kind of risky if you are intent on a particular destination, but if you just want to get away, seeking last minute deals could allow you to do it much less expensively.