Last minute holiday shopping isn’t for the faint-hearted. Whether your plans have suddenly changed or you’re simply the sort of person who likes to get the most value for your money, it’s tempting to consider a late booking. If you are a last minute holiday first-timer, here are five top tips to bear in mind.
1. Be flexible on dates.
This is probably the best way to keep costs down, but remember that for the best deals you need to book no later than around eight weeks before travel. This is when companies really start to discount their block booked holidays, so keep an eye out.
2. Be flexible on destination.
Again, being flexible allows you to take advantage of any surpluses in the holiday market. Don’t get carried away though – just because it’s cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it will be right for you. Consider drawing up a short list of preferred destinations and including some ‘high end’ possibilities if the price is right. India and Thailand, for instance, can become surprisingly affordable if you are lucky in your timing.
3. Do your research.
This is where you need to put in the most effort when trying for those last minute deals. By all means use price comparison web sites, but be aware that they may not cover all holiday companies. You should also find out what is included, such as meals or entertainment. Hidden extras like airport transfers, local taxes or even a poor exchange rate can make that bargain rather less attractive (if travelling to Greece, Spain, Cyprus and some other countries bear in mind they all use the euro as currency).
4. Be flexible about the style of holiday
Do you really need a hotel based experience? Would self-catering or villa rental (which are very common in Spain, for example) be acceptable alternatives?
5. Make sure you have the necessary paperwork
It’s easy to overlook the basics but remember you will need a valid passport for any foreign travel. Bear in mind some countries require it to have up to six months validity remaining after your intended departure date. Ensure also that you have time to obtain holiday insurance, vaccinations and any visas (you will need one for India for example).
It may sound like hard work, but chasing a bargain can be extremely exciting and not to mention rewarding. It shouldn’t be long before you are relaxing on your dream vacation.
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