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Face it, sometimes you let time slip away from you. You get caught up in the daily grind and put excitement on the back burner. Or you're more of the live-in-the-moment type, you don't like to plan too far ahead and want to jump at opportunities when they feel the most right. Either way, when it comes to planning a spontaneous trip, stress is sure to arise. As travel deal experts, we've compiled a list of tools you can use to grab the best last-minute deals—So your vacation doesn't blow through your savings.
Looking to jet off somewhere in the very near future, but hoping not to dish out loads of money? The main key to saving on a spur-of-the-moment trip is flexibility. If you're open to exploring any place, you'll be surprised by what type of deal you can snag.
Our first suggestion would be to choose your destination based on the Kayak Flights or Google Flights Explore options.
You can navigate the Kayak Explore map by clicking and dragging to specific regions. You then can find the lowest flight prices on exact dates, or specific time frames.
We recommend choosing a location based on your budget and the type of experience you may be looking for.
Remember to think of seasonality. Sometimes there are perks to traveling to a specific location outside of its peak tourist season. For instance, locations in the Caribbean tend to be cheaper from mid-summer to early fall due to unpredictable weather (hurricane season). If you do decide to travel during this time, do make sure to keep up to date with weather alerts and local news, and most importantly, to get travel insurance or make sure your booking is flexible with free cancelation or no change fees.
A tip for finding great-value last-minute accommodations is to utilize filters, after picking your location based on the most affordable transportation options. Platforms like Trivago and Kayak allow you to search for hotels on specific dates based on location. You then can add filters to show options based on lowest to highest price, number of stars, if it includes breakfast, all-inclusive options, and general guest ratings.
Oftentimes, hotels will offer better rates right before you go. This is because they are trying to fill space last minute.
For last-minute activities, it's always worth checking out sites like TodayTix to see if you can snag final seats for shows or events happening on the same day. Also, a lot of platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram will share tips on free things you can do in specific areas.
GetYourGuide also has a function where you can sort activities by location, date, and price range.