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, booking a last minute flight can be done on the cheap. Though it certainly takes a bit of legwork, if you follow a few of my sound strategies, booking last minute flights doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Here are a few tips for finding cheap flights at the last minute. So stretch your ears (not your pockets!) and learn how to travel at the last minute without breaking the bank.
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, 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
Use the Net. The internet is a great place to fish out cheap, last minute deals. You know where you want to go and when, so just browse Google, Bing or Yahoo. 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 booking for last minute deals.
Travel With No Frill, Low Cost Airlines
Prefer cheap airlines. Choosing a low cost (lesser-known) airline over a more easily recognized airline usually provides you a cheap flight. Low cost airlines tend to shell out their best discounts for last minute travelers. You don't have to worry about their safety as they all follow the required standards. So book those cheap flights with confidence and save yourself from spending a bundle on major airlines.
Call Airlines and Hotels Directly
Make a Call. One of the smartest things you can do is to call the airlines directly. Most last-minute offers available 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.
If you are lucky, maybe they might let you go for free.
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 on Facebook or Twitter. Often times, they’re 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.
What are some of your tips and strategies you follow when looking for last minute deals? Anyone find a really good last minute deal of recent? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
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