10 Ways To Find The Best Last Minute Travel Deals

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Travel Deals

Do you get the impression new travel engine “clones” are popping up every day on the net.  Both new and well-experienced bargain travel hunters are having a tough time sorting through all the information to find the best travel deals.  They end up spending ridiculous amounts of time searching through every imaginable site for “the best” deal.  If you’re looking to book something a week or two (or even a day) in advance, there isn’t a lot of time for the price research you normally would like to do.  There is too much information to sort through to dig up the most relevant booking sites.  I’ve compiled the following list of the resources to find the best last minute travel deals:

1. Kayak.com and Sidestep.com These two sites get the highest ratings for finding the lowest airfare/travel deals.  These two companies recently merged with each other, and I pretty much consider them the same site (even though Kayak says they search 140 travel sites and Sidestep searches 200).  The two sites feature a wide range of the most useful travel deal search tools on the net.  These include the Buzz Calendar tool, which shows a snapshot of the best deals for every day of the month without waiting for a search.  The Buzz tool allows you to search for the best deals to various regions of the world.  Also, you can search for trips in the upcoming weekend, calendar month or three days before or after your travel dates.

2. Hotwire.com Hotwire is able to consistently offer some of the lowest rates on hotels, flights and rental cars because it doesn’t disclose which flight, company, or hotel you’re going to book until after you’ve paid.  This is too risky for most people for airline flights or hotels, but with rental cars, you get the same type of car regardless of which company provides it.  Works best for big chains in the US or Canada.  The site, www.betterbidding.com, is a forum which helps you determine which hotel you’re booking on Hotwire.  I’ve used Hotwire to book 4.5 Star hotels in Toronto for more than 50% off what any other site advertised for the same hotel.

3. Priceline.com Allows you to “name your own price” for rental cars, hotels, and flights.  They boast savings of up to 30% for rental cars, %50 for hotels, and %40 for flights.  Like Hotwire, Priceline doesn’t tell you the name of the hotel/flight/rental company you’re booking until you buy it, and it doesn’t refund your money if you cancel.  The savings are usually worth the chance you take though.  Beterbidding.com also offers a section for determining the hotel you are booking on Priceline.

4. Aggregate Travel Search Engines – I lump all of these “clones” together.  They may have some different prices, features and deals, but they all give you the impression of being the exact same site.  I usually check out these sites after referencing prices on a site like Kayak.com.  Sometimes you can get the best deals here when adding on coupon codes.  You can find the current coupon/promotional codes at sites like Retailmenot.com and Couponloco.com.  Here are the three best engines to use:
a. Orbitz.com
b. Travelocity.com – Find their last minute deals here
c. Expedia.com – Find their last minute deals here

5.  International Versions of Aggregate Travel Sites – Sometimes different markets in other coutries charge lower prices for flights and/or vacation packages.  For example – Expedia.ca may have better deals in US dollars than Expedia.com.

6.  Craigslist The popular global classifieds site sometimes lists desperate sellers trying to offload upcoming flights or travel packages for a small percentage of their value.  Keep a watchful eye for scammers on this site and try to only deal with people face to face.

7.  Airfare Watchdog – This site is known to be the fastest for posting airlines’ so called “fire sales”, which are unbelievable low fares usually lasting a short time.  They even include fares for smaller airlines that might not show up on the bigger airfare search engines.  Sign up for emails notifying you of unadvertised, “hidden” fare reductions in your city.

8.  VRBO – Offers over 110000 vacation homes, apartments, condos, b&b, cabins, beach houses & vacation villa rentals around the world.  Negotiate with the owner to get last minute deals at some of the nicest vacation properties in the world at a fraction of the price.

9. Vayama They advertise the best selection of flights for international travel.  I like their interface better than any other travel search engine I’ve used.  Go to their Deals link to view the best last minute airfare prices.

10. Canadian Vacation Selloff Sites – If you live in or near Canada, these sites are my first choice when looking for a last minute vacation package.  The prices listed are usually in Canadian dollars, which gives you additional savings when the exchange rate is in your favor.  Wait to buy a last minute selloff package a week or two in advance.  Of course your going to have to be more open to the destination and have the time off of work, but I’ve been able to take 4-star vacations for next to nothing prices.  I’ve taken an seven night, all-inclusive (flight, 4-star resort, meals, and drinks included) vacation to Punta Cana for around $600.
Check out:
Air Canada Last Minute Vacations

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