You can’t plan for everything. There will come a time when your boss asks you to take his place at a conference in China, or a friend calls you up for an impromptu Vegas trip, or your meeting gets rescheduled and you have to change your vacation plans at the last minute. But contrary to popular opinion, snagging last minute flight deals can be done on the cheap. Though it certainly takes a bit of legwork, if you follow a few of our sound strategies, booking flights at the last minute doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Flexibility is a virtue. Keeping your plans wide open is the best tip to help you grab a great deal. Be prepared to be flexible about which airport you go to, the airline you ride on, and time you fly. This might also mean choosing to travel through a different route. Look for flights that are scheduled in the early hours, as the airlines go to great lengths to fill empty seats and offer the greatest deals at the last minute.
Unleash the Search Engines
Start browsing ASAP! Many of the airlines may offer web-only deals in order to lure every possible paying passenger onto their flights. Sign up for online airline programs; this will give you the latest and greatest deals in town. There are even websites and agents that specialize in providing last minute flight deals.
Travel With No Frill, Low-Cost Airlines
Choosing a low cost (lesser-known) airline over a more easily recognized airline can usually provide you with a cheap flight. Low-cost airlines tend to shell out their best discounts for last minute travelers. So go ahead and book those cheap flights with confidence and save yourself from spending a bundle on major airlines.
Call Airlines and Hotels Directly
One of the smartest things you can do is call the airlines directly. Most last minute flight deals can be negotiated over the phone. If there are any seats still open at the last minute, the airlines won’t want to miss out on any extra money because now those “free” seats are sunk costs.
Look for Group Deals
Group deals give the deepest discounts. Purchasing travel packages or multiple tickets at once is the way to get the greatest last minute travel deals. So if you see a great deal out there, don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. Often times, they’d also be looking for any excuse to get out and travel and a great deal at the last minute might be just the excuse they’ve been looking for.
If you’re looking for those last minute flight deals, then just follow these easy steps and you’ll find yourself traveling more frequently for much, much less!
What are some of your tips and strategies you follow when looking for last minute deals? Share your thoughts in the comments section.