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Travel: My 5 Top Tips For Finding Last Minute Holiday Deals in 2018

5 Top Tips For Grabbing A Last Minute Holiday Blog














Have you ever booked a holiday last-minute?

For me, there is rarely something more satisfying than bagging a last-minute travel bargain on flights. The excitement kicks in straight away and you can start planning your mini-break. If you're willing/able to be flexible and leave at the drop of a hat, late deals are a super way to save yourself some extra pennies with upfront costs - plus, just think of all the extra funds you'll have for future trips away!

For me and Alex, this 2o18 is all about short trips, little and often, basically, trying to pack in as many fund-friendly city-breaks and short weekend trips around our holiday leave and busy schedules as we can! We've just done Munich this February, and have Lisbon booked for April, where will we go next? 

Take a look at my 5 useful tips for ensuring you get your mitts on the best travel deals this 2018 and you could be exploring your favourite city or lying on the beach with a Pina Colada in hand in a matter of days!


(1) BE AS FLEXIBLE AS YOU CAN WITH YOUR DATES


If you’re able to be flexible with your flying schedule in regards to time and dates it’s always going to prove helpful in your quest for cheaper holidays! When recently booking flights for our city break to Munich and Lisbon we didn’t really have any specific dates we needed to fly; just an ideal month we wanted to go in mind. Ideally, the flights would fall over a weekend to minimise the number of annual leave days we needed to take from work i.e. Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday. 

Typically if you can find flights Friday - Sunday without taking any leave this is the ideal scenario for any budding travelistas, however, these slots are so popular they tend to be quite expensive nowadays. In my experience, I've found Saturday - Monday, and Sunday to Tuesday breaks work out much more affordable. 

I’ve always found that super-early morning flights or late night flights always work out the cheapest per person. For our Munich trip, for example, I managed to bag £50 return tickets from Gatwick to Munich with EasyJet for a 2-night stay with 3 whole days, with only one leave day required from work. 

Our outbound flight was early at 6.20am in the morning and our return flight was 9.20pm on Monday evening. It worked out perfectly because it meant we had 3 full days to explore Munich, albeit a little bleary-eyed on Saturday morning, but nonetheless, with only an hour and a half in the air we quickly recovered on the ground in Munich after a large stein of Radler or two, plus, when we arrived at the hotel to check-in at 11am to our delight the room was ready early which granted us a quick power nap before heading out to explore the city.  

If you're able to fly out early, come back late or can afford the odd day or two leave either side of the weekend, I'd definitely recommend exploring your options, as it could significantly lower the cost of your flights.  


(2) CONSIDER ALL-INCLUSIVE DEALS


Although all inclusive can immediately seem like the most expensive option for a cheap last minute break, it’s not always the case! All inclusive deals can sometimes work out better value for money when your luggage, airport transfers and food and drink are already included in the upfront costs. Plus, booking an all-inclusive deal can prove much less hassle on the day and on the run-up as there is very little you need to think about organising yourself!

For example - this weekend we had our city-break in Munich. On the day we were due to fly home we paid for x 2 train tickets from central Munich to the airport, however, we (actually this was very much Alex's fault) stupidly managed to board us onto the wrong train and only figured out we were going in the wrong direction 8 stops later. Another €80 later in a panicked taxi ride to the airport, we had already spent over €100 on our return trip to the airport. Pre-arranged airport transfers can sometimes be a godsend if you haven’t spent time doing your train travel research (shamefully like us!).


(3) TRY LESS POPULAR DESTINATIONS


If you're not fussed about where you want to go, it’s worth browsing through less popular destinations for cheaper travel deals. If you are open to suggestions, Sky Scanner is always a good place to start by selecting the “any destination” function to see what destinations pop up.

As I write about travel I'm always looking for inspiration from other travel lovers so regularly read blogs about up-and-coming travel hot-spots and seek out hotel inspiration and reviews from the Guardian and the Telegraph

When it comes to accommodation, I tend to look at hotels as a last resort as the overall cost can quickly add up. Recently, I've been spending more time researching boutique holiday apartment providers. I recently discovered Sweet Inn - an apartment provider with hotel services, dreamy interiors, and central locations - basically the best of both worlds at a much lower cost per night. Their destination list is growing but it's worth checking out their apartments in Barcelona, Lisbon, Brussels, Milan, and Madrid. 


(4) LOOK OUT FOR DISCOUNT CODES


It’s always a good idea to keep a look out for discount codes or special offers before you book a last minute break. For example, Lastminute.com hotels regularly offer a “top-secret hotel” option where you can save up to 40% off great city-center hotels. You are given some overview information about the hotel, however, the name is not revealed until you have confirmed the booking. 

I have tried the top-secret hotel option a couple of times, in particular, when seeking out a city-center hotel for a Saturday night stay in London. With elevated weekend prices in London, it’s very easy to spend between £150-200 a night for a room in a 3/4 star hotel or for your regular Holiday Inn or Travelodge chain. 

Recently I booked one of their secret hotels for a weekend stays in March for Alex’s birthday. As it was a special occasion I was willing to part ways with a little more money, however, managed to find a 5-star boutique hotel in the central St Paul’s area for £114 for the night. The room was usually £179 for a night! As mentioned above, before booking I also did a quick google search for “last minute discount codes” and managed to save a further £20 on our booking by applying a discount code at checkout. 

It’s worth keeping your eyes peeled on social media too for any discount code mentions from bloggers or the brands themselves, plus, it's worth signing up to a couple of newsletters because some companies may even send you a discount code as a welcome offer. 

If you're lucky enough to still benefit from student discount sites like UNiDAYS, don’t forget to also explore their holidays & hotels category. They offer discounts on websites like virgin experience days, hotels.com, expedia.com and train travel via National Express etc. Don’t forget to check your credit card provider too - American Express offers additional discounts for members of certain hotel and transport providers, worth seeing if you can save a few extra pennies. 


(5) FLY FROM AN ALTERNATIVE AIRPORT


When flying, Gatwick airport is always our airport of choice because it’s a mere 20 minutes drive from our house. However, sometimes going that little bit further afield can really help save the pennies. If you don’t mind traveling further afield, sometimes you can save yourself a small fortune, take it from me; when flying to the Maldives for our honeymoon back in November, believe it or not, it worked out around £300-400 cheaper flying out from Heathrow airport as opposed to Gatwick airport. 

Luckily, Alex’s parents live closer to Heathrow than us and were more than happy to help us out with a lift to the airport on the day. We stayed at their house the night before and even ended up saving money on petrol too! 

What are you're top tips for finding last-minute holiday bargains? I'd love to add to my list!

xo. 

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