You might be the type of person who likes to have things organised well in advance, but there’s no doubt about it: booking a last-minute holiday is one of the best ways to bring the cost of your trip down. Embrace your spontaneous side and you can knock hundreds of pounds off your next holiday and visit places that may usually fall outside your budget. When it comes to last-minute holidays, the longer you leave it, the more you can save. Here are some fantastic tips for last-minute bookings:
Keep an open mind
While you may have an idea of the type of destination you want to visit, keeping an open mind is vital when booking a last-minute deal. The more flexible you can be in terms of destination, the more cash you’ll save. Instead of limiting yourself to a specific country, think about what you want from your break and go from there. You might find yourself visiting somewhere you’ve never even considered, and having a truly memorable time, potentially trading-up your usual fly-and-flop to Spain for exploring the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.
Be flexible with flights
If you can be be flexible with flights, so much the better. This means the time you fly, the day of the week and even your departure airport. Sometimes flying from an airport further away from where you live can work out cheaper, even factoring in your travel to get there. Do your research, work out the costs and see how much you can save. Remember, the more you save, the more meals out and day trips can be enjoyed once you’re there, adding considerable value to your overall experience,
Think about hidden extras
Early-morning or late-night flights may save you money, it's true, but you might find that you end up paying for it elsewhere. For instance, if public transport isn’t running at that time of day, you’ll have to drive your own car and pay for airport parking or splash out on a pricey taxi. Do your maths and work out where you can actually save money – avoid false economies. Think about transfers from the airport to your hotel too; some holiday companies include this in their packages so look out for these kinds of deals. If you’re booking a last-minute cruise, go for one that includes onboard gratuities and preferably one that’s inclusive of food and drink.
Talking of all-inclusive, this type of holiday can be another good option. Whether you’re heading to Europe or the Caribbean, booking a hotel that offers this type of package can really save you money, especially if your main aim is relaxing by the pool. It means that you’ve paid for all the essentials in the upfront price of your holiday, including flights, on-site meals, locally produced drinks and usually lots of entertainment and sporting activities.
Choose destinations with free attractions
You might get a great deal but find the place your visiting is super-expensive. Factor in the exchange rates and find out the average cost of meals and drinks. It’s also worth researching if the area you’re visiting offers any free walking tours, or museum entries. For example, many museums in Paris are free to enter at certain times of the day, and the Prado Museum in Madrid is free every evening between 6pm and 8pm.
When it comes to getting more for your money, the early bird doesn’t always catch the worm. Go for last-minute deals and you’ll be surprised how many worldwide destinations open up for you.