The nature of travel is now such that you can pop off on holiday at the drop of a hat. Months of planning are no longer necessary and, as prices have been falling steadily since low-cost airlines first exploded onto the market, you don’t have to save for months too.
There used to be benefits with booking really far in advance; you could get an early booking discount, you could pay in instalments and you got to choose exactly where and when you wanted to go, right down to the individual hotel or resort. Now, however, there are bargain basement deals on allocation-on-arrival accommodation, flights that depart tomorrow and a huge variety of destinations across the planet.
If you want to make the most of last minute deals you do need to be built as a certain kind of person. You must like to do things on a whim, you need to have few commitments and your employer needs to be willing to let you go with just a few days’ notice. But you also need to be incredibly flexible, prepared to make compromises and give new things a try and know how to pack an overnight bag in less than an hour. If this sounds like you, then here are some top tips on bagging the best last minute holidays.
Travel as a Group
Some of the cheapest per-person prices are found on group travel deals. Many hotels, resorts and apartments cater for four to six people and, thanks to economies of scale, the more people you can get into the accommodation, the lower the per-person rate. However, be careful as some deals are only available for groups of four to six adults so families with children under either 16 or 18 won’t qualify.
Also, odd-numbered groups often find some of the best deals, with packages for three or five adults being particularly attractive.
Travel from a Regional Airport
A seven-night trip to Spain may cost £235 from London but £200 from Manchester because more people will want to fly from London and as demand rises so does cost. If you can fly from another airport and getting to that airport in the UK won’t cost significantly more than getting to London, this is a straightforward way to save money.
Depart Midweek and Stay for non-Standard Length of Time
Some of the best flight deals can be found departing from Tuesday to Thursday and coming back five, six or nine days later. Because the flights are chartered, allocation is bought up in advance, so travel companies will want to sell as much allocation as possible as making just a small profit is better than none at all.