October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012

5 Tips for Booking Last Minute Travel

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you have been having a safe and great week so far. It is another very busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Yesterday, I blogged about some tips for being able to travel on a budget. Today I will blog about how to get some last minute travel deals.

If you are willing to, well OK, fly by the seat of your pants, there are plenty of great last-minute vacation bargains to be had. Below are a few strategies to help you get the best deal on a fabulous vacation booked at the last minute.

1. Being Flexible Is Better
Last-minute deals arise when airlines and hotels need to fill seats and rooms. Period. So it's much easier to find bargains if you have no particular travel agenda. This might mean traveling on weekdays, flying very early or late in the day or on indirect flights, visiting a destination in the off-season, or even heading to a city that you never before considered.

2. Start with Last-Minute Vacation Websites
One-stop sites like LastMinute.com can save you up to 70 percent on airfare, hotel rooms, activities and even entire packages. Travelzoo.com carefully screens thousands of website and e-newsletter deals. VacationstoGo.com is great for last-minute cruises.

Unfortunately, many offers won't matter to you. A deal for Boston to Ireland won't help if you're trying to get to Cancun. In such cases, check sites like AirfareWatchdog.com, which analyzes seasons and trends for the best prices. Just plug in departure and arrival airports for a list of cheap flights. Fly.com, a TravelZoo sister site, lets you do the same by date and for flights, hotels and rental cars.

3. Hotels Have Deals Aplenty
Most hotels have some deal or another going. Often these run for weeks or even an entire season, so you needn't book until you've found the cheapest airfare. Depending on the terms and conditions of the hotel offer, you might save additional money through memberships in loyalty programs or organizations like AAA or AARP. With larger hotel chains, check for deals on both the main and local property sites. And don't be afraid to call the hotel for an unadvertised special or a manager willing to make a last minute deal to fill an empty room.

4. Plan Ahead
Sound like a contradiction? It's not really. Many savvy travelers stick to last minute vacations. They stay on top of deals by signing up for special offer e-newsletters and email blasts from travel planning sites, airlines, hotels and credit card companies. They also do a little old fashioned research to avoid planning trips during peak seasons or major events, when prices skyrocket.

5. Move Fast, but Pay Attention
Book incredible deals as soon as you see them. On some sites, they can be snapped up in minutes. That said, be sure you've read the small print and understand fully what you're getting for the money and what you're not.

Hope these tips help you live those dreams you have had about seeing parts of the world when you thought you could not afford it.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Wednesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab