6 Strategies to Find Last-Minute Getaways

Published by Rick Seaney on March 9, 2020

Is it possible to find cheap flights for last-minute getaway deals? Yes, it is. Here are six strategies to find last-minute getaways for destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

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 price, so if you don’t compare, you could pay too much. Maybe even way too much.

2. Look for cheap destinations

Some cities are cheaper than others: There are lots of relatively cheap destinations; for example,  Boston, Denver and Fort Lauderdale are traditionally good deals and many European cities such as Barcelona, Dublin, London, Madrid and Paris have had excellent fares for several years now. Tip: See the Deals section of FareCompare for the best bargains from your city.

3. Fly cheap days

Avoid Fridays and Sundays: The cheapest days to fly within the U.S. are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday while the most expensive days are usually Friday and Saturday. Notice we say ‘usually’ because this is not always true, but a relatively cheap getaway itinerary might be a Saturday departure and a Tuesday or Wednesday return, or flip it to a Tuesday or Wednesday departure and Saturday return. Tip: For international flights, weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends.

4. Flexibility matters

Check prices for connecting flights: You can sometimes save 50% or more on a flight by adding a stop, especially on 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 a longer travel day – adding a stop could save you money. Tip: Be sure to compare the prices for nonstop and connecting flights so you know for certain which one is cheaper, and if the connecting flight is cheaper, make sure you save enough to make up for the inconvenience.

5. Delay trips

Summer season: In the U.S., summer fares generally dip in late August or early September; if you can wait until then, you will save.
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 to pack light. 1.) Most major airlines allow carry-ons for free. 2.) The bag that travels by your side is the bag that does not get lost. 3.) When you land, a carry-on means 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 try and catch a substitute flight, you won’t have to worry about your luggage, it’ll be right there in your hand.

Safe travels.

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