Your last-minute holiday guide

Written by

Sophie Venner

Sophie Venner is a Yorkshire-based content writer specialising in crafting content for the financial services industry. She’s written over 300 articles on finance, but she’s covered everything from insurance to digital marketing trends. Her content has been featured in the likes of Semrush, Digital Marketing Magazine and Insurance Business. In her spare time, you won’t find Sophie far from a notepad and pen as she squirrels away trying to write a novel.

Monday 31st July 2023

Whether you’re jetting off for a week in the sun or opting for a family-friendly adventure abroad, we’re sharing all you need to know about booking that last-minute getaway.

The benefits of a last-minute break

1. Save money on your trip

If hotels or package holiday companies have a few spots still to sell, they may offer a discount to help them make sure they’re operating at full capacity.

This means you stand to save a fair chunk of money if you shop around for last-minute deals.

2. Embrace the unknown

Do you enjoy classic tourist trips or prefer to seek out hidden gems? It’s time to mix things up a bit. You won’t always be able to decide on the destination for your trip if you’re looking out for the best offer – so why not see what comes up and grab the opportunity to try something different?

3. You don't need to worry about your plans changing

Holidaymakers often book their trip months if not years in advance. But what if your circumstances change and you can’t get a refund? If you’re only booking your trip a few weeks ahead of departure, it’s unlikely change of plans will get in the way of your holiday.

4. Minimal planning, maximum excitement

Book your holiday and jet off in just a few days without overthinking your holiday schedule. Last-minute getaways are perfect if you’re dreaming of a break but haven’t quite got round to organising it. No need to spend hours researching every last detail of a holiday, just pick a trip that catches your eye and get packing.

5. Real-time roaming

If you’re booking super last minute, you really can choose the weather. Look at the long-range weather forecast to help make sure you only travel in the sunshine. For many, a trip in the sun is a must have – and booking last-minute can help you avoid any unexpected stormy showers or chilly weather that can put a dampener on your holiday.

Top tips to help you bag a bargain

1. Shop for deals weeks in advance

The very best last-minute deals usually go live around one to four weeks in advance. If you book many months ahead, you could miss out on last-minute offers. But hold out until just a few days before, and it’ll not only be a rush to get organised but a lot of the best offers might have already been snapped up.

2. Set a budget

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re booking a holiday, but don’t let the excitement get the better of you. Start browsing with a clear idea of your holiday budget. This will hopefully stop you overspending when you spot a trip that’s just out of your financial reach.

You should always benchmark prices too. Otherwise, how will you know whether a ‘deal’ is really saving you any cash? Surf the web to find out how much you’d be paying for the trip without any discounts. Then you’ll be able to see straightaway how great an offer really is.

3. Get ready to shop for deals

You’ll find the best last-minute offers in all sorts of places, so set a bit of time aside to shop around. Travel comparison sites or apps are a great place to start, but don’t discount checking the hotel or airline directly to see if they have any offers available. Travel agents or traditional tour operators might also be able to help.

Make sure you sign up to receive notifications when last-minute deals become available, too.

4. Book off-peak

Avoid busy periods by booking your trip off-peak. Of course, avoiding term-time holidays will work out much cheaper (think May, June and September). But mid-week trips can also help you to save a bit of cash.

Different destinations will have different peak seasons. Research various destinations to find out when they’re most in-demand so you can plan your visit a few months before or after.

If you’re booking a getaway with the kids during the summer holidays, look out for the best deals towards the end of August. It’s slightly less popular to jet off during the last week or so of the summer holidays, so you’re more likely to bag a good price.

Also consider local school term-times. For example, travelling from an area when kids have already gone back to school might work out cheaper than flying from an area still in the swing of the school holidays. Don’t forget that other countries’ term dates can be vastly different to UK holidays so factor this in when picking your destination too!

5. Be prepared to be flexible

Often last-minute deals are only available on very specific dates, so you’ll have to make sure you can get the time off work at the drop of a hat. Speak to your manager and, if possible, pencil in some holiday time that can be fixed once you’ve spotted a fabulous last-minute deal.

6. Create a dream destination shortlist

Last-minute offers can spring up out of nowhere – and you’ll need to grab them fast to avoid missing out. You might have to be a bit spontaneous when it comes to where you jet off to, as there’s no guarantee a trip to your perfect holiday location will be discounted.

Come up with a shortlist of destinations you’d like to visit, so you can easily spot the right offers for you without being too restricted by where you want to go.

7. Consider the whole picture

You might have bagged a 5-star hotel suite abroad at a bargain price… but how are you going to get there? Unless you’re opting for a full package holiday, you’ll need to book your flights separately – and last-minute flights aren’t always going to be super cheap.

Think about the price of your travel – including airport transfers – before checking out to make sure you don’t end up going over budget.

8. Do your research

Every aspect of your trip doesn’t need to be planned out before booking a last-minute holiday, but it’s definitely worth checking customer reviews of the hotel and researching the destination before parting with your hard-earned cash.

Make your holidays happen with a low-cost loan

One of the biggest barriers to booking a holiday is finding the funds. With a holiday loan from us, you can borrow the money you need quickly so there’s nothing standing in the way of you and your dream destination.

Use our loan calculator to get a quote, apply online in minutes and get an instant decision on your application. If accepted, once your application’s complete, the money could be with you in just a couple of working days – and usually much sooner. Ideal if you’re gearing up to buy a last-minute getaway.