It's usually better to plan if you cannot avoid a last minute trip because budgeting for a last minute trip can be really tricky. There are some websites offering "cheap" last minute deals, (much like that discount on cookies because the bakery is about to close), or it can be really expensive because they are capitalizing on the thought that you need this ticket and you'll buy it even if it is twice the price (like a scalper on concert tickets).
What is important is for you to quickly research your options. Read the tips below if you need to plan for a last minute trip.
- Visit a lot of websites. Even if you are loyal to a specific website, make sure you visit at least 5 travel websites. You would be surprised how different their rates are. The same airline, with the same date and time, would come off with different rates. Whether it's travel or any other item, you can find a good deal when you compare different suppliers.
- Stay away from travel agents. Their add-on rates can be unbelievable when you ask for urgent travel deals. Try calling the airlines directly – if they have a 24-hr reservations hotline, it's better. While they may also have other add-ons, it can be much cheaper than what travel operators offer.
- Study your options. When you have options over fare types and flight schedules, it is best to skip the first class or business class or the last or first flight out. Opt for economy class with the mid-flight schedule and you can save yourself a few more bucks.
- If you happen to stumble into a very cheap last minute deal on packages, then just go grab it. Again, the key is how fast and how good you are to making your way around the many confusing travel websites.
- If you find yourself frequently scrambling for these last minute trips, you should sign up for email alerts from travel sites and airlines and as soon as they have a last-minute bargain, you'd have it in your inbox, and be just a click away.
- In navigating through travel websites, go immediately to the banner ad about last minute deals – no need to go through the normal search engine. In that section, information is already filtered and it enlists all last minute deals available – something you might struggle with if you go through their normal seat reservation.
- Other sites will let you bid for your own fare. Much like eBay, you can hope and pray that your bid gets accepted. It may not be as low as what you hope it will be, but it's still a lot cheaper than what you normally would find with other websites.
Travel in itself can be very expensive, and while preparation can save you a lot of headache and equally more money, there are still ways to get around and get those last minute vacation packages.