Have you heard the one about how you can get great deals on airfare, hotel rooms or cruise vacations at the last minute?.Well not so fast.It is true that many last minute travel bargains can be found on the web, but it is not as easy as waiting until the day before an important trip to try to make your reservations.First the bad news: if you want to travel on or around an exact date, trying to book your travel a week or two before that date will almost certainly result in exorbitant fares rather than reduced costs.
If you have a specific time you need to travel, due to a vacation, holiday, family gathering or a special event; you are far better off booking months in advance.The key to getting great last-minute deals is flexibility. Flexibility in when you can travel and how long you can stay.
Let me give you an example. My parents are retired and, because my mother is disabled, they prefer to take their vacations on cruises.Last year, they got an email alert from a cruise agency, announcing a seven day cruise of the Hawaiian Islands for about 20% of its usual rate. But ? and if you call this a catch, here it is ? they got the email on Saturday and the cruise was scheduled to depart on Tuesday.Fortunately, they were flexible with their schedule and were able to be on that ship when it set sail four days later.
There are several points to be made about last minute travel deals from my parents' story: First, cruiselines, airlines and hotels offer last minute deals when it is in their interests to do so. The cruiseline knew it had a number of empty cabins scheduled for the cruise that was about to depart. At this point in time, any cabin sold, no matter what the price, was additional revenue they were not going to have otherwise.The same thing applies for hotels or airlines. An empty hotel room is a complete loss, and so is an empty airplane seat. So rather than accept a total loss, these companies will often offer travel values well below the going rate, just to bring in additional money.
But can you imagine what would have happened if my parents had called up the cruiseline asking for a reservation for that very same cruise just days before its scheduled departure date? Do you want to be they would not have received the same 20% price?.I think not. In all likelihood they would have paid morethan the normal rate just for booking so close to departure.The second point is that my parents had subscribed to travel alerts from the cruise agency. This way, the cruise agency, rather than my parents, initiated the contact.
There are several third party sites on the web where you can opt in to such last minute email alerts. Here are a few:
. After you have checked out these third party sites, you should also check out the websites belonging to specific airlines. Many times the best travel deals are not communicated to the third party sites above, but can only be found from the airline itself. Here are a few examples: www.aa.com www.
united.com Once you log onto any of these sites, look for the place to subscribe to email alerts of bargain fares. Sure your email inbox will receive a lot of messages you have no interest in, but occasionally you will get the exceptional bargain rate on a last minute vacation you will remember for the rest of your life.
COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved..Think budget travel equals boring travel? Think again! Learn the Guerrilla Traveler's insider secrets to budget adventure travel to the world's most exciting places and experience the coolest travel adventures without spending a bundle.
Charles Brown is a former attorney who now spends his time indulging his passion for travel and shares the unique travel destinations and adventure travel bargains he uncovers on his blog, Guerrilla Traveler - Adventure on a Budget, http://www.guerrillatraveler.blogspot.com.
By: Charles Brown