We’re constantly told that planning ahead on holidays will save us money – but this isn’t always possible when it comes to booking a trip.
Whether it’s down to finances, work commitments or simply indecision, there are various reasons we might book a holiday just a few weeks out.
And it seems it’s more common than you might expect, with Opodo’s new 2023 Year in Travel Report showing 44% of all its bookings were made within two weeks of departure.
So, is there a way to still save money when booking a last-minute trip?
It turns out there are some things you can do – even at the final hour – to save some cash.
Alerts are your friend
Justin stresses the importance of signing up for alerts from airlines and travel companies to be notified when there’s a price reduction or offer on the flights or hotel you want – so you can keep an eye on the best last-minute deals.
Compare, compare compare
Justin tells Metro: ‘Use comparison sites to shop around, but don’t forget to check the airline and hotel websites too, as they may offer deals as a thank you for booking directly that work out cheaper than the comparison.’
Be flexible, where possible
If you’re leaving things last-minute, it pays to be flexible with your destination, and even consider flying to or from a secondary airport.
Justin adds: ‘You might have to take a bus or train to your chosen destination, but you can often save money by flying into an airport outside of the city centre, rather than the main airport.’
The power of a package
‘Package prices often drop within the last few weeks of travel as agents try and fill empty spaces, so it could work out cheaper than booking everything separately,’ adds Justin.
Split up your group
If you’re flying as a couple or a group, try searching for flights individually rather than booking them together, explains Justin.
He adds: ‘When you book as a group, the site will search for that number of seats at the same price; if there aren’t enough of the cheaper seats left, you’ll end up paying more than necessary as you’ll be charged the higher rate for all seats. Search for a flight for one person, and in a separate page search for the actual amount of people travelling.
‘If the price for the single ticket is cheaper than it would be when booking as a group, you’ll know there is at least one cheaper seat available, so booking them individually can save you money.’
It’s easy to rely on comparison websites and booking platforms, but don’t forget to go direct, too.
Justin says: ‘Try calling hotels and resorts directly to see if they can offer a better deal on empty rooms they have – they might be able to offer a considerable discount if they have lots of rooms that they want to fill.’
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