This is a guest post.
Several recent surveys have proven that the trend of booking a spontaneous last minute holiday is on the up among the British. Figures from a Travelex survey said that 25% of respondents left it just seven days to book their trip, while a ballsy 10% waited until the day of departure.
But further down the study, the reasons behind this mind-set became clearer. Nearly a quarter of participants had saved between £200 and £300 by booking late, and over one third (35%) has saved £100-£200.
Last year, I booked a trip to Reykjavik less than two weeks before the departure date. It was an exciting, spontaneous decision that I later worked out, saved me around £150 compared to booking the same trip six weeks earlier. That money allowed me to take an exhilarating trip around the country’s famous Golden Circle, and tuck into an extravagant tasting menu in one of the city’s most lusted-after restaurants.
There’s a lot to be said for booking last minute – going on a cut-price holiday the next week is becoming more and more tempting for Brits. Cheap deals are there for the taking at almost all times of the year, as airlines and hotels still need to fill their seats and rooms; and a small amount of revenue for them is almost always better than no revenue at all.
Booking last minute often gives you the chance to explore a destination you’d never have otherwise thought of. I doubt I’d have ever visited Reykjavik without seeing the slashed price – but it was one of the most interesting and unique countries I’ve ever been to. It’s a great time to be brave and dive into something that you maybe wouldn’t want to risk at full price. Go all-inclusive if you’ve never been, or try self-catering if you usually rely on others’ providing the dishes for your trip! Try a solo traveller’s trip and meet new friends along the way, or maybe try a mini cruise if you’ve wondered what it’d be like to hop-off and on a cruise liner for a weekend.
There are a few pearls of wisdom I can pass on after my last minute booking experience. Firstly, take a look at potential deals 2-4 weeks before you want to depart. That’s around the time hotels and airlines will usually start slicing their prices to get any latecomers through the doors. Secondly, make sure you’re definitely bagging a deal. Check that you’re not overpaying for a flight to overcompensate for a cheap hotel, for example. It’s also an idea to try new hotels in the area you fancy heading off to on your spontaneous adventure – new venues will often offer cheap introductory rates, even more so just a few days before you want to check-in.
If you’ve got a few days’ holiday left over that you need using up by the end of the year, it’s definitely worth looking into a last minute booking. It was one of the best holiday experiences of my life, and the aspect of spontaneity really added to the experience.
Author bio: Stephanie Bartup is an avid traveller, and has spent time exploring south East Asia, the USA and Eastern Europe.