Is it possible to find cheap flights for last-minute getaway deals? Yes, it is, if you know where to look. These six strategies will help.
6 Ways to Find Last-Minute Getaway Deals
1. Compare fares
Compare airfares on a fare search site: This is basic, but it works. Unfortunately some people will never know how well it works because they continue to go directly to a favorite airline site that “always has the best deal.” Problem: No single airline always has the best deal, not one. If you don’t compare, you may pay too much.
2. Look for cheaper destinations
Some cities are cheaper than others: This has been a good year for finding deals to Dallas, Denver, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Other cheaper cities include Boston, Ft. Lauderdale and New Orleans. If you have your heart set on Europe, we’ve seen excellent deals to Scandinavia and several good fares to Paris.
3. Fly cheaper days
Avoid Fridays and Sundays: The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Most expensive days are usually Fridays and Saturdays. A good itinerary could be a Saturday departure and a Tuesday return.
4. Avoid non-stops (sometimes)
Try connecting flights: You can often save as much as 50% or more if you add a stop to your route, especially on certain long-haul flights. Airlines often factor in a ‘convenience fee’ for non-stop flights and most of us willingly pay. If you don’t mind a little inconvenience, meaning a longer travel day, you could save big. Just be sure to price both non-stops and connecting flights so you can see the difference for yourself.
5. Delay travel
Wait until late August: Generally speaking, most domestic and international fares drop when demand drops; this happens in late August. Fly then or later in the fall when you can save even more money.
6. Travel light
Use a carry-on bag: You will avoid the checked-bag fee* and your bag will not get lost. Plus, no wait at the baggage carousel after you land so vacation starts early.
*Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit also charge for carry-ons but do allow small, under-the-seat bags for free.