Booking a last minute holiday a few weeks before departure can be excellent value, but you need to free your mind and be open to options. So do you make a beeline for your trusty high street travel agents, or fire up your laptop?
If you have time to surf for deals, the web is your answer. But before your fingers even touch the keyboard decide on your budget. Then be prepared to be as flexible on dates and destinations as you can. Carrying out a general sweep with online agents such as Kayak, Travel Republic or Last Minute of what is available for your dates is your next step. From this, you will get a feel for the destinations and type of accommodation on offer. At this point, you can effectively start to narrow your search.
Set your sights high. Go for the best quality and the best deals first. Be mindful of what suits you. Self-catered, B&B or all-inclusive. And don’t get distracted!
The big names
All inclusive last minute holidays are perfect if you have a strict budget you want to stick to it while on holiday. They are also great if you want a standard 7-night deal which is all-inclusive.
Many of the big operators offer great prices on large accommodation sites with lots of facilities. But venture out of the norm in search of a 5 or 6-night bespoke last minute holiday and you may soon become frustrated. If you haven’t got time to trawl the web for hours have a quick look at the online sites for Thomas Cook or First choice and pop down to the high street branch.
If you have a lot of time on your hands and have a clear idea of what you want, putting a package together yourself can save a few pounds. According to Skyscanner’s data, it is a bit of a fallacy that flights will always be more expensive closer to the departure date. Booking four to seven weeks can sometimes bag you the best flight fares. Google flights is a useful source for finding the best flight prices across the airlines for specific flights and destinations without having to visit the individual providers home pages.
Once you have narrowed down your search to a destination, an airline and a date don’t forget to reference the airlines own holiday sites for specific last minute deals. Booking a hotel/flight package with BA or Easyjet with them can sometimes be cheaper.
Then use the big accommodation provider sites like Booking.com or HomeAway to collect ideas of what suits you. Don’t forget to cross-reference prices to find the best deal. Sometimes owners websites offer better deals. Happy hunting!