Not everyone can plan their vacations well in advance. But when you do get a chance to travel at the last minute, these sites and apps will help find the best deal possible.
This is not only about finding cheap airfare, but also about exploring destinations and ideas you haven’t considered. But yes, since most of our travels are by air these days, that’s the main consideration. If you don’t want to fly, we do have other resources to power up your road trips.
1. Secret Escapes: Last-Minute Discounted Hotels
When hotels have a few empty rooms, they’ll often sell them at a steep discount. And sometimes hotels have package discounts if you stay a certain number of nights. Secret Escapes tracks such deals from across the world to give you high-class accommodation at low rates.
Apart from the featured deal at the top of the site, you’ll find plenty of other hotels. Set your dates, or keep them flexible. Say whether you’re traveling as a family or alone. And filter by the type of vacation you want. Secret Escapes will tell you the best deals you can get right now. These are all hand-picked by editors, not generated by algorithms.
If you don’t find what you want on Secret Escapes, there are other excellent hotel search engines you can try. But those are run of the mill hotels, not hand-picked experiences!
2. Airfare Watchdog: When Price Matters More Than Destination
Sometimes, the destination isn’t that important. What matters is getting to travel while on a budget. At Airfare Watchdog, you can key in your closest airport, and find the cheapest fares from it.
As with any flight search engine, you can set a price range, add filters like non-stop flights, and select favorite airlines. Airfare Watchdog also lets you set alerts for certain search results, so that you can grab a great deal as soon as it’s available.
While it’s primarily a site for flight deals, it also works for hotel bookings. A quick glance showed some promising hotel discounts, but dedicated sites like Booking.com will give you better offers. Stick with flights only for Airfare Watchdog.
3. iCruise: Collection of Last Minute Cruises
Instead of flying or driving, with their additional hotel cost, how about taking a nice cruise? The full site at iCruise offers information about all types of cruises, but the Last Minute Cruises section is what we’re interested in here.
If you’re ready to leave soon, you’ll find some deep discounts at this page for cruises to the Bahamas, Carribean, Mexico, and Europe. Sort by price, date, or cruise line to find the best choice. As always, with any cruise, make sure you double-check the port of origin and add the cost of getting there to your full budget.
If you’re a little more flexible with your budget and dates, browse around the site for all the offers available. But that’s not ideal for a last-minute travel plan.
4. The Points Guy and The Flight Deal: Hand-Picked Flight Deals
We recommend two blogs to find flight deals hand-picked by real people. The Points Guy is one of the most popular blogs for regular travelers, while The Flight Deal lists almost every good deal you can get.
Browse the sites regularly or subscribe to their newsletters to get daily updates. Both sites track airfare deals for people in America and Canada, but once in a while, you’ll get deals for European cities too. But boy, you’ll get deeper discounts here than anywhere else. It’s no wonder these are some of the best-kept traveler secrets for cheaper airfares.
The only problem with these two sites is that you can’t search by travel dates or by budget. Everything is listed as a blog post, so you’ll need to browse through the blog to find the right deal for you.
5. Holiday Pirates: All Types of Deals in One Site
If you know your travel dates and your budget, why should you restrict yourself to only searching for cruises, or hotels, or airlines? Holiday Pirates puts all types of these last-minute deals in one site.
You can filter by the category, but it’s best to add your departure point and click “Go” to see all the deals possible. Alternately, add your travel dates and see where in the world you can get a great discount. Holiday Pirates will show you flights, hotels, cruises, and holiday packages with your set filters.
Why shouldn’t you use this site alone and forget about the rest? Because it’s not as comprehensive as Airfare Watchdog, Secret Escapes, or iCruise. Those sites feature deals that aren’t listed on Holiday Pirates. Once you get your preferred deal with Holiday Pirates, check the respective category’s site too.
What’s Your Last-Minute Travel Tip?
A friend who travels regularly had an excellent tip: “Always keep a suitcase packed with bare essentials and your toiletries kit. Those are the things you might forget and regret not having them. It makes last-minute packing easy.”
What’s your best tip for last-minute travelers?