Ways to Find Last Minute Travel Bargains

Let’s say you’ve got to “get out of Dodge” quickly. You need to find a flight now but you’d still like to find some last minute travel bargains.

In the past you might have had to bite the bullet and pay whatever the travel agent was asking, but nowadays, with the internet, it’s even possible to find last minute travel deals.

If you’ve been looking at the travel industry there’s a lot of competition on the net. That’s really good news for travelers. We now have a lot more options for finding last minute travel packages. With a little bit of research we can compare the cost of airline tickets, hotels and car rentals. And with a little bit of luck we can even find a choice of last minute travel specials.

Here are 9 things to do for you to have a shot at getting those elusive last minute travel bargains.

Be Flexible

  • While it might not be convenient, if you can travel a day or two earlier or later than you planned you can usually get cheap airfare deals.
  • Also, if you can leave early in the morning or perhaps take the “red eye” you could save some money.

Don’t Panic – Check Out Several Travel Websites

It’s not a good idea to freak out when you’re looking for last minute flights. Take an extra half hour to look.

  • Check out several sites. You could find discounts that will save you a lot of money.

If you want to find one of the last minute travel specials it’s usually not a good idea to jump on the first thing you see.

Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday

If your schedule permits, try to book your flights mid-week. That’s usually the slowest part of the week.

  • You can often save at least 25% on your airline tickets by flying on one of those days.

Sign Up For Travel Alerts

This you’re going to have to do in advance. Airlines email people that are on their travel alerts list about last minute travel bargains.

  • So sign up today in case you might need it tomorrow.

Subscribe to Online Travel Newsletters

A lot of sites that are related to travel have newsletters.

  • Some of them will let you know when there are last minute travel deals. They’ll send you an email when they find any last minute travel bargains that meet your criteria.

Look at Airlines Websites

Some airlines only post their last minute travel deals on their own website. Some airlines don’t post last minute travel specials on any website.

But because some do…

  • when you check directly on the airlines’ websites you might find one of the last seats on a flight you want that you won’t find anywhere else.

Look for Package Deals

This could help if you’re traveling with someone.

  • Sometimes you’ll find last minute travel packages that cover your airline tickets and hotel reservations, but they’re usually for double occupancy.

See If There’s Another Airport Nearby

If you’re flying into a major airport, check to see if there’s a smaller airport nearby.

  • Often flying into a smaller airport can save you both time and money.

Find A Good Travel Agent

Again, this is something you’ll have to prepare for. Internet reservations have cut into travel agents’ income.

  • A lot of times, in order to generate a loyal clientele, travel agents will use their inside information to find last minute travel bargains and pass them on to you.

If you find a travel agent who goes out of their way to help you, consider using them for making travel arrangements for you in the future. They could be worth their weight in gold.

Finding Unique and Exotic Travel Deals Right Here in the US

For the larger travel web sites; travel deals are generated when they purchase airfare seats, hotels and rental cars in bulk and then resale to the general public at reduced rates.

The same holds true for discounted cruise deals and hot vacation spots. He who has the cash flow to purchase travel in bulk do extremely well in the resale.

However, there is another travel deal that is generated consistently that the general public usually is not aware of. This is the travel deals created by the smaller resorts and off the beaten path travel spots.

With any purchase of sight unseen you run the risk of the vacation NOT being what you expected. You can be fairly sure that your accommodations will be as advertised when you purchase from the large travel web sites.

This leads us to why the “travel review” sites are so popular. You can go to any of these sites and read what other traveler’s have written about the destination you are interested in visiting.

This leads us to another concern for the independent traveler; unless you know exactly where it is you want to travel you may never know about the exciting, wonderful, beautiful, inexpensive, travel deals throughout the world that have been totally safe for Americans in the past.

Getting small private resorts, travel agents and travel suppliers to be consistent with their marketing efforts has not proven successful. In the pass their ad campaigns have been hit and miss, now and then. Unless a cash flow rich travel agency decides to promote one of these small and unique travel destinations in the San Francisco Chronicle or the New York Times; the general public may never know of the hidden travel spots.

Yes, this is a time when we must be extremely aware of our surroundings, regardless of what county we are in; but we don’t have to leave the US to find really nice exotic places alone the Eastern seaboard or the hidden islands and coast line off the southern states here in the US.

Travel Agents receive press releases and flyers on remolded, inexpensive, small, out of the way resorts, via their fax lines all the time. Its one thing for them to receive this information and another for them to promote them. And why should they? Good business persons promote that which will increase their income! And many of travelers go to the larger travel sites for vacation packages.

So for the independent traveler who wants more from his/her travel experience – research is the key. You don’t have to leave the US to find new and exciting places to travel — However, you do have to take the time to find them.

Tips on How to Find Top Solo Travel Deals

For adults dreaming of relaxing quietly by poolside in summer, the two most dreaded words are “Marco Polo”. Why? The game never ends. While you try to nap, loud shouts volley back and forth from all sides.

For all of us solo travelers, the two most dreaded words are “single supplement”. In the past, 50% was common. Some trips could even be 100%. The worst I have seen was a tour I took. It started at a 50% single supplement at $7,500. Pairs were charged $5,000 each. Next, an advance sale offered pairs or couples “2 for the price of 1” or $2,500! The result? While they had 2 for 1 pricing, I paid for “1 for the price of 3”!

Here are our 5 updated tips on how to find top solo travel deals.

1. Consider a substitute destination. For example, if you are looking for castles and centuries-old history, compare prices in both Western and Eastern Europe. Dreaming of the South Pacific? Price the Cook Islands against the higher rates in Tahiti.

2. Travel off-season. There are two big mistakes here. First, many travelers don’t know that rates go down as fast as the second week in Sept. In the south of France, you can get up to 50% off that early. It is just before many hotels close for the season. Secondly, you must adjust off-season plans not only by time of year but for climate. For example, the Caribbean rates go down as the heat soars. As a result, beach lovers can find good prices in July and Aug. In contrast, Paris has top discounts of almost half in the midst of winter’s chill.

3. Get out your calculator. Compare every rate for which you qualify as most are not cumulative. So if you are a student or senior, government or corporate employee, see what is the lowest price that you can get. You may find that publicly available discounts can exceed some affinity programs.

4. Gift yourself. How does this work? Most travelers look right away at their rewards programs and frequent flyer accounts for flight deals or upgrades. Do take a look at the restaurant deals, but watch for geographic limits. Where those work, you can save a lot on trips since meal costs are often overlooked in budgeting. Last minute deals may still have a high single supplement but can have a low enough overall rate to be of interest.

5. Think like an international finance guru. Look to see where the dollar/your currency buys the most value. Canada and US exchange rates are a recent example. Although the dollar buys more in the UK than it did, the conversion is still a factor in already expensive London.

The good news is that as solo travelers increase more travel providers are adjusting prices to attract individual travelers. However, no single supplement specials go fast so do book early. Watch out for our updated tips on how to see the world no matter the size of your budget!