8 Secrets to Booking a Killer Deal on a Last-Minute Trip
Here today, Mexico tomorrow
With summer Fridays coming to an end soon and the next long weekend just around the corner, there’s no time like the present for a little R&R. And the good news is that it’s not too late to score a deal. Here’s what you need to book a last-minute trip, stat.
Many airlines release deals Mondays through Wednesdays when they’re looking to off-load undersold flights for the next weekend, and these two apps specialize in totally last-minute flights.
Next Flight: For a one-time investment of $3 on iTunes, you can get access to available same-day flights and flights leaving within two days from your departure airport. And it only shows direct flights, so you’ll never have to deal with pesky layovers.
Get the Flight Out: Want to fly from New York to Bermuda for $329 round-trip at the last minute? How about a $194 flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas that leaves in five hours?This app finds and books the best available round-trip flights that leave the same night or the following morning. You could literally book your trip on the way to the airport. Oh, and did we mention the app is free?
We love Airbnb, but it’s not always possible to find a room or apartment at the last minute. Whether you prefer hotels or real residences, these two services have you covered.
Hotel Tonight: This app presents a curated list of hotels in dozens of cities with same-night availability. And because these rooms are empty, they are usually heavily discounted. Pro tip: Book in the morning when rooms go on sale to get the best possible rate.
Overnight: Consider this the Airbnb of last-minute stays. You can choose from shared roomsand private apartments, and hosts respond to your request within ten minutes.
So Thrifty and Avis are all booked up and you don’t have a membership with Zipcar or Carma? Check out these peer-to-peer car sharing and local car rental services instead.
Getaround: There are no monthly or yearly fees, but hourly rates can add up. So figure out what kind of trip you want to take (afternoon getaway versus weekend escape) and look into the cost before committing.
Turo: This marketplace is geared toward day and weekend trips and even offers car delivery straight to your house. How’s that for service?
TRAVEL PACKAGES AND CRUISE DEALS
Bundling can save you tons, so if you’re taking a trip that requires a combo of hotel + airfare or airfare + car rental, consider sites that specialize in package deals. Same goes for cruises—package prices drop drastically right up until departure.
Last Minute Travel: Owned and operated by Travelocity, this site covers every aspect of last-minute travel by getting you bundled deals on flight/car, hotel/car and flight/luxury hotel combos.
Anyone living in California knows it can be nearly impossible to get a campsite unless you booked it six months in advance on recreation.gov. The secret: Take Friday off, head out first thing in the morning and claim a first-come, first-served or walk-in site.
Hipcamp: This site searches both public parks and private lands (they have special partnerships with landowners to make open space available to campers). While public parks may be booked well in advance, this special access to private land means you’ll likely score a last-minute reservation. Plus, some of these private sites are way better than the tent-only, pit-toilet accommodations at parks.