I know that many of you prefer to book a vacation getaway in advance. And, that’s the right choice for those of us who depend on others when making vacation plans. Parents with kids need to coordinate work requirements with school schedule, or friends who like to travel together also need to make sure that everyone can make it for a particular period of time. In other words, a group of people who has to toggle conflicting work and life priorities would be better off planning that long-awaited vacation in advance.
However, about five years ago, a new trend emerged, catering to people who are flexible with their schedule and can jump on a plane literally at a last possible minute. Thus, last minute vacations were born, and today there are hordes of people looking for last minute vacation deals. These type of deals are now being offered routinely by all major hotel chains, vacation agencies, and airlines. People love last minute deals because they can take advantage of reduced prices on hotel accommodation and air tickets. Often times, these deals are available at 50-70% off, and allow many of us to save a lot of money on our vacations.
The trend that I am seeing right now is that even families with kids are looking for last minute deals. This is because, the idea of a last minute travel has also evolved over the years: you no longer have to pack up within hours to jump on a plane that leaves today. These deals are still available, but the time frame for the last minute deals is a bit longer now. For instance, most hotels start offering last minute deals anywhere between 1 to 7 days before arrival. Often times, even longer than that. This past summer I have seen last minute occupancy deals in major European hotels available two weeks before arrival. This is because, the hotels aim at least at 80% occupancy in high season, and if they feel that the booking is going too slow, we, consumers, get last minute incentives. If a certain hotel is not filling up very well, they would basically be better off giving you a room for just a $1 or even for free. Not that this will happen, but don’t be too suspicious of very low prices. Whether it is a 50% or 100% occupancy, the hotels still have the same expenses: they employ the same number of kitchen, floor, and reception help as if they are fully booked. It often makes sense to have people stay there at very low rates to simply keep the workforce busy.
The same is true about the airlines. Whether the plane is half- or fully-booked, it still uses the same amount of fuel and the full crew to get you to that destination.
Here’s some practical advice. If you are looking for last minute deals to sun destinations, these are the best months for such deals: last two weeks of April, the months of June, September, and October, and the first two weeks in December and January. Airlines and tourist companies slash their prices for these periods in advance, and you will have many offers to pick from.
We do not recommend waiting to book popular Holidays at a last minute, such as March school break, Christmas or New Year. These periods are normally fully booked in advance and resorts and plane tickets sell out quickly.
The main principal of the last minute travel is flexibility. For instance, if you are planning a trip to Paris on a last minute, be prepared to settle for a hotel in any of the preferred locations (but not necessarily the most desirable). Or, if you are looking for the last minute deals in the Dominican Republic, be prepared to go to any part of the island – La Romana, Puerto Plata, or Punta Cana. If you have in mind only the specific location and specific hotel, then you should book in advance.
With the last minute vacations, sometimes, you simply don’t know which is the best time to book or when the last minute deals could be available. A good example is this past summer’s Olympic games in London. So many hotels have increased their rates for the event that when the time came many of them were simply under-booked for the end of July – beginning of August period. Subsequently, they had to significantly reduce their prices and offer last minute incentives to travelers to stay in business. Many people actually preferred to stay away from the Olympic frenzy and opted to go to Paris, Rome, and Madrid, including Londoners themselves.
I suggest you start looking for the last minute deals 10-12 days before the actual date of departure. Check every day, and if you see the deal you like – grab it. It doesn’t make sense to wait for better deals – last minute travel deals are unpredictable, and have been known to suddenly increase 2-3 days before departure, when too many people begin booking out of the blue.
My goal here is to bring the best deals to you. Many of those deals are last minute vacation deals, others are simply great deals that I feel you need to know about. You can browse the numerous travel opportunities yourself, or you can come here and browse the deals that I have found for you. It takes many hours of work every day to find the best travel deals as I need go through hundreds of offers. You won’t find great reviews here as this is not the goal. But, you will find a lot of travel opportunities that will help you save money and time.