How To Get the Best Deals on Last-Minute Travel

By Tracey Dowdy

If your holiday plans haven’t quite fallen into place and you’re still not sure what you’re doing, have I got a list for you! These websites and apps are guaranteed to help simplify the process of booking last-minute travel or accommodation in less time than it takes to say “Are we there yet?”

Twitter

twitterTwitter may not be the first name that comes to mind for last minute travel, but if you know where you’re going and who to follow, it can be a lifesaver. Airfare Watchdog (@airfarewatchdog) covers all major airlines and tweets destination-specific deals daily, and JetBlue (@JetBlueCheeps) posts low fare deals every Tuesday. If you’re not sure who to follow or are looking for a getaway rather than planning a specific destination, TripTwit  searches the best travel deals on Twitter and sends the five best to you via email.


Last Minute Travel

last-minute-travelLast Minute Travel provides exactly what you expect – deals on last minute travel, including flights, accommodations, and touring activities once you reach your destination. Sort flights by price, stops, airline or length of trip and booking is literally as simple as one, two, three – it’s a three step booking process. For the best possible deal check out their hotel+flight+car rental packages. One recent deal offered 4-nights in a 3-star hotel in New York City, plus airfare, for $350.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Next Flight

next-flightNext Flight offers up-to-the-minute information and deals on airline travel. Simply start with your location, add your destination and departure date, and the app sends you a list of flights with arrival and departure times, terminal and gate information. You can’t book directly from the app because the information is geared to travelers booking at the last possible moment, so a call to the airline is required.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Cost: $3


Hotel Tonight

hotel-tonightHotel Tonight promises you a room with “three taps and a swipe”, all in 10 seconds. The site works in conjunction with hotels to fill unsold inventory and provide you with last-minute discounts – some pretty deep – on rooms. Type in your destination and the app loads hotels in that city divided into categories like “Basic,” “Solid,” or “Charming” with prices included. Tap on the photo for reviews, additional photos, and to book.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free


Travel Zoo

travel-zooTravel Zoo is a favorite among those who can take advantage of spur of the moment vacation packages, but it’s also a great option for last minute holiday travel. They promise discounts up to 65% on flights, hotels, dining and entertainment.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Expedia

expediaExpedia gets top marks for simplicity and convenience as well as price. The home page is divided into three columns, “Tonight, This Weekend, Next Weekend,” and provides a list of the best flight and hotel deals for your destination. Click on a deal to see photos of the rooms, which other rooms are available, and pricing. Similarly, click on the flight you want and a list of flights comes up with similar arrival/departure times for your destination.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Get Away Tonight

grouponGet Away Tonight is a mobile-only feature from Groupon. Under the Hotel tab, users can search for accommodations in the desired city and Groupon will bring up a list of offers. Room assignments are made at check in and users not only get to take advantage of deep discounts but also get a 5% Groupon credit.
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free

Keep in mind that last minute travel can sometimes mean taking the red-eye instead of a day time flight or a courtyard view instead of beach front, but if you can be flexible, these sites and apps can ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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