Planning your vacation well in advance is a great way to get a fantastic deal on travel, but that doesn't mean that you can't also get a good deal at the last minute. Whether your old plans fell through at the last minute or you just like being spontaneous, don't travel without first finding a great deal. Here are five ways to find last minute travel deals.
Check Out a Last Minute Deals Website
You aren't the only one looking for a last minute deal. In fact, the practice has become popular enough that several websites exist specifically to help you find last minute deals. Check out sites like Lastminute.com or Lastminutetravel.com for hot travel deals that are expiring soon. You can even check out travel deals sites that don't cater specifically to last minute travelers, such as Hotels.com, Expedia.com, or Travelocity.com.
Call the Companies Themselves
Instead of going through a third-party website, you may want to try contacting a specific company you want to do business with directly. If there is a specific hotel you want to stay at, call and ask to speak to a manager. Ask the manager about the hotel's availability, and if they have plenty of unsold rooms, ask about a discount or a free upgrade since they aren't likely to book all the rooms anyway.
When planning last minute travel, flexibility is absolutely crucial. If you are set on a specific destination, attraction, or mode of travel, you may end up paying a premium. If you are able to be more flexible, however, you can often find a really fantastic deal on a fantastic destination or attraction that you may not have considered otherwise.
Read the Fine Print
With your travel date looming, it is understandable that you would want to make your last minute travel plans as quickly as possible. Don't go too fast though. Slow down and take the time to read the fine print. Otherwise, you may not notice that you aren't purchasing what you think you are or that there are additional fees and restrictions that would be a deal-breaker for you.
Think Outside of the Box
If you want a truly great deal, sometimes it pays to think outside the box. If the hotel you want isn't offering a deal, maybe you could find a great deal at a nearby bed and breakfast. If the attraction you want is way too expensive for you, maybe you could find other fun things to do in the area that are significantly cheaper. Plus, you can always save money by eating at the hotel, visiting a grocery store, or packing food to bring along.
Paying more for a trip doesn't mean that you'll have a better trip. It simply means you'll have to work more once you get home to make up for all that extra money you spent. Don't settle for full-priced travel. Use these five tips to get great travel deals, even at the last minute.