|Economic Trips > Hunting for Last Minute Deals|
Hunting for last minute deals
Searching for late offers has become a fashion nowadays among budget travelers.
Companies make discounts just before deadline in order to reduce the loss due to insufficient demand for their services. The prices can drop 70-80 % in some cases, but if you wait until the last weeks, days to buy them, you risk pretty much. What is even worse is to hunt for different services all on last minute: hotel, flight, etc. You might get one, but not the other one. This is a question that many travelers ask themselves. You can't get them all on last minute, the risk is too high.
In this article we are showing you the opportunities of late booking. Techniques you can sue and websites that are good for you.
How much can you risk and what can you obtain?
When putting together a trip, make sure you can obtain all services. Don't book for a last minute flight if you haven't made sure that you can also obtain a hotel. What if you got the tickets, but all hotels are overbook at the destination?
Online travel agents and even offices on the streets might get you all services in one. You can spare money, but you certainly won't have the freedom to obtain exactly what you are looking for.
You will have to choose between separately searching for discounted late deals and putting them together to have a full set of services (flight tickets and hotels, at least) or, buying all services from an agency (all agencies sell only what they have and only what they want to be discounted, in other words what they cannot sell).
Flights: the most discounted services... prices drop as much as 80 %, especially at the end of summer, beginning of autumn.
Hotels: you are less likely to find last minute price-cuts on hotels... everyone uses hotels, travelers who arrive by ship, by plane, by car, road or other means of travel. Hotels are more often fully booked than flights.
Car rentals: usually the demand is not so high in this segment, few people rent cars and therefore travel agents don't invest too much into this activity, therefore the rental car deals are the rarest of all last minute deals.
Cruises: especially in the USA, Canada and Western European countries, these are popular services, there are many discounts on cruises, you can often get the deal with 25 - 50 % cheaper than if you booked in advance.
Vacation packages: these vary in their content, some agents only put flight and hotel in it and call it "vacation", normally it should be all inclusive. First make sure what they include and then compare the prices of various agents. If you don't travel with your family, but rather are on business or a backpacker, a student, individual traveler, then hunt for the services separately. Vacations are good for families because a pack of services are included for less than if you'd buy separately and, if the total price is discounted in the last minute, then you'll pay even less!
Online resources for last minute travelers
Category: last minute travel portal
Offers: access to a large number of last minute travel service-providers; allows indirect online booking
A smart little website that is comprehensive enough and packs all you need to find a good service.
This website offers advice and it is built around a directory system, which means it connects you to a variety of websites that sell just the services that you require. Listed under relevant category, you will find your travel service provider easily.
Last Minute Spider has a built-in searcher that helps you find fresh deals, just by typing in the search field.
On the main page you will find a complex searcher which allows you to directly search for services by specifying your requirements, such as dates of travel and so on... This searcher allows you to compare the prices of travel services offered by different companies. Search, find, compare and only buy what you like!
Or, you can access the "Hot Deals" section which lists offers on vacation packages, airline flights, hotel reservations, etc. All these from a long line of merchants. The list is updated every 10 minutes in order to deliver you the latest last minute travel deals.
Last Minute Spider is an ingenious portal focusing on this travel segment and is should be the first site to visit!
Category: last minute travel agent
Offers: direct online booking
One of the most popular last minute travel-specialized company. Serves clients from the UK, USA, France, Germany, Portugal only. If you are from any other country, you can cut this one from your list.
The services range from flights to cruises, but the packages are rather poor. If you'd go to a local travel agency office, then you can get complete, all inclusive vacation packages. Last Minute Travel just gives you as little as possible to call it a "package"... Package, yes, but that's not necessarily a complete vacation. What they do is give you the flight ticket and the hotel in one for discount and call it a package. But this is how things go today, it's not the way it used to be, back in the 1990s, when you got flight, hotel, meal, perhaps even a tour, etc.
LastMinuteTravel.com is a good site for you, especially if you're from the USA or the UK.
Discounts are very big, with this site you can really spare large amounts of cash, especially on exotic trips and flights, hotels to/in major US cities. Great bargain there, but keep in mind that these happen especially at the end of the vacation season. So the weather might not be your friend when you arrive...
Category: last minute travel agent
Offers: direct online booking
A rival site with a similar name. This agent offers a wider selection of services. Restaurants, spa services, theatre and even gift ideas are on their list.
Smart company, great site, they also serve more clients than LastMinuteTravel.com.
The selection of services is wide enough to make your trip more pleasant. What we like about this website is that they offer so many additional services, such as entertainment, for instance, that they contribute to the reduction of the level of boredom and help you fill your time with pleasant activities.
LastMinute.com serves mostly Western European and US clients.
Airline sites are likely to sell you late booking deals. Search on their website and be on the lookout for published discounts!
These sites usually sell their single service, so you should not hope for obtaining all you need, such as hotel reservation.
Cruise company sites are another category that will fill you with late offers. Make sure to check them out, if interested.
Don't search for hotels and car rentals individually, you would loose most of your time and might not find a selection wide enough. Go for the last minute-travel-specialized sites presented above and you will most probably find a list of fresh deals on cars and accommodation.
Timing is essential in late deal hunting
When do you search for the late deal? The best time is the end of summer, early autumn. August, September, early October even. Another time is early January, up to early February. This goes for vacations, cruises and flights as well.
It is important to determine when there is end season. You will need to know your destination well (climate, why people go there and when) in order to determine when to buy. This differs... for example, Rio de Janeiro is more frequented in February and March, while Sweden is more frequented in May-July.
When and where not to look for last minute travel deals
Low cost airlines and hotels are among the least likely companies to offer last minute discounts. If you wait, there might not be enough free rooms left in the hotel and the low are flights will most likely be fully booked.
Low fare airlines sometimes sell cheaper tickets if you book well in advance and as time passes, the fares grow and grow and grow! This is the case, for instance with Hungarian airline Wizz Air, which stimulates its clients to buy as much in advance as possible in order to fill their plane seats. Of course, most people will not know well in advance, like 7-8 months before when and where they will actually travel, so they are likely to book rather late, thus ensuring the company a higher income.
The late deals are good chances, but are not always there. Don't count on them if you need to take an urgent trip.
"Last minute" must not be taken literally. Unfortunately a large number of naive travelers believe they should actually search in the last days or so. Never put yourself into that much risk. Rather, search 1-2 weeks before departure.
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