Is it possible to find cheap flights for last-minute getaway deals? Yes, it is, if you know where to look. Check out these six strategies to find last-minute getaways, then start packing.
1. Compare fares
Compare airfares on a fare search site: This simple, basic strategy to finding the cheapest tickets really works. Unfortunately, some people will never know this because they go directly to a favorite airline site because it “always has the best deal.” It doesn’t. No single airline always has the best deal, so if you don’t compare, you could pay too much. Maybe even way too much.
2. Look for cheap cities, cheap destinations
Some cities are cheaper than others: This has been a good year for finding deals to Boston, Denver and Fort Lauderdale but some of the best deals of all are in Europe. Check out transatlantic prices for Dublin, London, Paris and Scandinavia and chances are good you’ll find some excellent bargains. Tip: Use our Getaway Map tool to find the best deals from your city.
3. Fly cheap days
Avoid Fridays and Sundays: The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday while the most expensive days are usually Fridays and Saturdays. Notice we say ‘usually’ because this is not always true. But often, a relatively cheap getaway itinerary might be a Saturday departure and a Tuesday return.
4. Flexibility matters
Check prices for connecting flights: You can sometimes save as much as 50% or more on your flight by adding a stop to your route, especially on certain long-haul flights. Airlines often factor in a ‘convenience fee’ for non-stops which most of us happily pay but if you don’t mind the inconvenience of a longer travel day, you could save big. Just be sure to price both non-stops and connecting flights because there will be times when nonstops are cheaper, especially on short hops.
5. Delay trips
Summer season: If you want to get away in summer, wait until late August or even early September; by then, expensive peak season prices have dropped to fall levels and you will see significant savings.
Other seasons: Fly throughout the fall and winter for exceptional savings as long as you avoid big holiday periods like Christmas, New Year’s, and in the U.S., Thanksgiving.
6. Pack light
Use a carry-on bag: Here are four good reasons. 1.) Most major airlines allow carry-ons for free but even if your airline charges a baggage fee, here’s why it’s worth it: 2.) The bag that travels by your side is the bag that does not get lost. 3.) When you land, no long wait at the baggage carousel. 4.) If there’s a problem with your flight and the gate agent sends you running to another gate to get the last flight out, you know your luggage will make the flight, too.