Have you ever looked out on a dreary day and wish you could simply fly away to somewhere fun and relaxing?We have all had days like that, but for most people the dream of a last minute holiday is destined to remain as a dream only. It does not need to be that way, however.Last minute holidays can be not only a great antidote to the strains of everyday life, they can also often be a great deal. That is because holiday operators often offer them at clearance prices on the basis that some money earned is better than none at all for an empty hotel room or aeroplane seat.But not everything which is described as a last minute holiday deal is the bargain you may be looking for. We’ve dug into how the travel industry works and here we give you an easy checklist to know how to find the best last minute holiday deals.
Is it Really Last Minute?
A last minute deal should be exactly that.Sometimes you will see holidays advertised promising last minute discounts, but when you dig into the dates you discover that they are available weeks or even months in advance. In that case, the label of last minute is simply a marketing gimmick designed to attract your attention, not an accurate description of what is on offer – which means that you might not get the discounted prices which last minute deals are famous for.Last minute holidays are sold in the days or even hours preceding the departure day and time. Sometimes they are so last minute that they are offered by travel agencies at airports who act as a final clearing house for packages involving flights which will depart just a couple of hours later.
Know What is Included
A good last minute deal represents good value – and that will be determined in part by what is included and what is not.Some last minute deals are offered on an all inclusive basis, while others are half-board or lodging only. That can make a significant difference to how much you end up spending in total for the trip, especially if it is at a resort in an area which is expensive or has few outside dining options.Similarly, package deals often include transfers between airport and accommodation, but if they do not, it is worth knowing how much that will add. The same goes for all the other types of incidental expenditure which may or may not be part of the advertised price, such as staff gratuities, activity fees and bar tabs. A last minute offer might still be a great deal whether or not these items are included, but knowing exactly what is included helps you make that assessment.
What are the Timings Like?
If you want very convenient travel times, a last minute deal will be harder to find.Package operators often bundle together packages with options like charter flights utilising off peak airport slots.That is one of the ways in which they are able to offer competitive prices, but it also means that the timings can be a little unusual. For many people this can actually be a positive thing, as for example it may allow you to leave at nighttime without taking a day off work. But make sure you know the days and times before committing to a last minute deal as they don’t suit everybody. If you have young children, for example, consider what it will be like if you are boarding a plane in the middle of the night.
Consider Unnamed Options
Just like a brand outlet store, hotels want to unload unused inventory at lower prices without damaging their brand.That means that often, last minute deals won’t include all of the information about the resort. For example, they may simply state “three star hotel” or “accommodation allocated on arrival”. This can go either way. If you are lucky, you will be allocated great accommodation whose rack rate is far above what you would effectively be paying for it. If you are less lucky, you may end up in an unpopular accommodation option in an inconvenient location that doesn’t want its name attached because its poor reputation would put off holidaymakers.You may take a bit of a chance, but you can mitigate that by asking the travel agent for as much information as possible about the accommodation. You may also be able to work out what unnamed accommodation is based on its description.
Check Who Else May be There
Discount packages might be offered in a specialist resort to fill up spaces when the specialist market hasn’t been big enough.For example, a hotel may cater primarily to retired couples, families with children, business conferences, dance music club goers or many other types of holidaygoer. The atmosphere and environment of the accommodation may well represent its target clientele.If you can, find out whether the last minute deal uses accommodation with any particular reputation and decide whether being amidst that would suit you.Last minute holiday deals are alive and well. They are a great way to get away at short notice and on a low budget. With our quick checklist you can swiftly evaluate your options. Why not have a look today to see what is on offer?