Everyone loves cheap last minute holidays. The holiday itself is a joy, for sure. But the bigger buzz might even come from getting yourself a bargain – nabbing a trip which would have cost you more just weeks before. But what’s the secret? When is the best time to book a last minute holiday?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the data – and give you some of our own advice.
Best time to book a last minute holiday?
You’ll have noticed that “when is the best time to book a last minute holiday?” is a question to which everyone has a different answer. However, what matters is that different holidaymakers have different needs – and the answer depends on the type of holiday that you’re searching for.
Depending on whether you’re looking for winter city breaks or for family package beach holidays, there’ll be a different optimal time to book. For the latter, three to five weeks before looks like the best time to book a last minute holiday. Meanwhile, according to Travel Supermarket, the cheapest time to book a weekend city break is nine weeks prior to departure.
Is it better to book last minute or early?
From this evidence, last minute holiday deals are not actually that last minute. You’ll find most cheap last minute holidays an average of five weeks prior to the date you are setting off. But if this is the sweet spot for cheap last minute travel bookings, how do the numbers compare to booking early?
A lot of people ask the question about when to book air tickets. Whilst airlines have been known to give cheaper fares late on to fill up their seats, the usual pricing strategy works the other way around.
Usually, flights have a limited number of seats at a given fare. When they sell, the price is usually bumped up – and the prices for hold luggage and hand luggage too.
Generally speaking, it’s best to book flights early.
When it comes to accommodation, however, the opposite can be true.
Of course, through sites like Airbnb, you can find some of the best deals early on – as the cheapest places are still available. However, Airbnb hosts are known to lower their prices last minute. According to one study, Airbnb prices are on average 18% lower with just six days before a stay.
Hotels are known to do the same, too.
Which day of the week is best to book a holiday?
Again, the question of the best day of the week to book a holiday provokes a lot of different answers...
Back in 2019, The Independent reported that Sundays were the best day to book cheap flights. This year, the Evening Standard is calling it a Wednesday. Interestingly enough, Confused.com confidently states that Tuesday is the best day.
The fact that the answers differ so wildly suggest that it’s worth taking these calculations with a pinch of salt. At best, “the cheap day” is highly changeable. At worst, there’s no truth in it at all.
Rather than relying on waiting for the best day to book a holiday, we recommend you go hard on your search for the best deals – at all times of day and on any day of the week.
How do I find the best last minute holiday Deals?
The secret to how to book a last minute holiday is to be flexible, to be patient, and to dedicate the appropriate time to the research. As different days and trends change year on year, finding cheap last minute holidays is about commitment to the cause – and an ability to go away whenever rates are good.
Exploring the whole range of travel booking sites is the best way to ensure a deal. Try price comparison sites, Airbnb, and check out the individual sites of hotels – although this can be a little labour-intensive. The key element of the strategy is to pounce quickly when you see a deal.
Important note: If a deal looks too good to be true, remember to triple-check the reputation of the agent or travel company. Scam websites can list holidays that don’t exist, and will happily take your money and run. Dig into the review forums, and look for official accreditation before making payment.
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