No matter how much you love to plan for the future, sometimes you need flights last minute to get to your destination. Whether because of family emergencies or spontaneous trips, sometimes you don’t get the luxury of advanced notice. So, knowing how to get cheap last minute flights can be a real savvy tool for any flier.
Plus, what’s life without the thrill of adventure? Travel is the best form of adventure there is. And, it’s the last minute travel that pumps the adrenaline and gives you the thrill you seek.
So, if you want to save some cash on a flight and travel on a budget, then these tips to get cheap last-minute flights are sure to come in handy.
10 Tips to find cheap last minute flights
1. Keep Your Travel Dates Flexible
If you are flying last-minute, the best way to get wallet-friendly plane tickets is not to have a fixed date in mind. The more open you are about when you travel; the more chances you gain for cheap last minute flights. That is to say, do your research before your trip. No matter how last minute you are, browse through flight search engines to track the best flight possible for your destination.
Secondly, flying during the week, rather than the weekend, tends to increase your chances of scoring cheap tickets. Weekends are favorite times for people to go on vacations or getaways. So, flying during the week means you can escape the “rush hour” and possibly find money savvy deals.
2. Be Open-minded With Your Destination
The same flexibility is an advantage when it comes to your destination. Having a fixed destination limits your chances for cheap last minute flights. Think of it logically, when browsing through flight search engines, looking for flights to multiple locations in the world can expand your search results. Hence, you are more likely to find cheap tickets.
Another point to note, when searching for last-minute flights, it would help to choose less popular destinations for travel. Traveling to places people are less likely to go means more chances for you to find cheaper airfares. Plus, it’s the best way to discover a hidden gem in this vast world!
3. Consider Budget Airlines and Alternative Airports
Airports are also something to consider when you want a budget-friendly trip. If you have the budget for a little taxi fare or car rental, it will help save cash on flights if you choose airports that are a little further away from your intended destination. Budget airlines, for instance fly into alternative airports, that is considerably cheaper than the main airports and some time on the outskirts of the city limits.
Not traveling directly to a major city can be a significant advantage when you are trying to get cheap last minute flights. Plus, Budget Airlines, themselves are cheaper than their counterparts. They might require great compromise on luxury on your part, but I’d say that’s an acceptable bargain against less cash in your wallet.
4. Avoid Booking for Tickets in Groups
Having friends who love spontaneous trips as you is a luxury not everyone has. But, when it comes to saving on airfares, sometimes it’s best to let go of your friends.
When searching for cheap flight deals, it’s best to explore independently than in groups. Letting the airlines know you want more than one ticket is a surefire way to see only higher airfare rates in your search results. Besides, being practical, finding one cheap last minute flight is much easier than finding a bunch of them for the same destination and flight time.
Therefore, when traveling in groups, at least, book your ticket solo; you might not sit together on the plane, but you get to enjoy your impromptu trip with those you love.
5. Be Willing to Fly Red-eye
Another way to get cheap last minute flights is not to be particular about the flight time. I know no one wants to disregard their beauty sleep, but if you’re going to maintain your travel budget, then flying red-eye might be your best option. You are more likely to find cheap flight tickets for flights going early in the morning or late at night. It is undesirable flying at 6 a.m., but that’s precisely why the flights are more wallet-friendly than those going out on a reasonable time.
6. Fly When You Want to, Not Need to
I know I’ve mentioned the need to keep your dates flexible, but it’s also important that you fly when you want to, not need to. What I mean is that booking a last-minute flight for a meeting you knew of beforehand gives you zero flexibility and no chance of getting a cheap flight.
Flying out for Christmas or Thanksgiving or any other major Holiday, implies you book your tickets early. When you know you are needed somewhere at the required time, then don’t wait till the last minute to book your flight.
Going on a spontaneous vacation, when you don’t need to, gives you more flexibility with your flying time; hence, more chances for you to find cheap flights.
7. Use Air Miles
When you are a frequent traveler, it’s best to use your flyer miles to book last minute flights. Airline Reward Programs are the best way to save on flights; plus, you can get free updates and extra tickets depending on the points you have.
Even if you are not a regular flyer, signing up for flyer miles doesn’t hurt. Besides, you can rack up points without flying by credit card sign up bonus, online shopping surveys, special offers, etc. Moreover, flying on partner airlines can also help you get flyer miles. So, you are not stuck with just one airline.
8. Stalk Airlines
If you want to be up-to-date on flight rates to your desired destinations, then you need to follow the right people.
In this era of social media, it’s easy finding out anything about anyone, even airlines. So, if you want to know how to get cheap flights last minute, consider stalking your airlines on social media.
9. Avoid Flying Close to Major Holidays
It’s expected that people are going to fly out during Christmas or summer and spring vacations. So, finding cheap last minute flights for preferred travel times is sure to be a dead end. Airlines aren’t blind! They know people are going to be eager, around the holidays, to get to their friends and families. Which is why they are likely to raise the rates to get in more profit, knowing people will buy the tickets, despite the prices. Thus, for last minute travel, it is best that you avoid dates around the holidays.
You should also look up favorite travel times for your destination and try to avoid it. Cheap last minute flights are easier to find when the seats are less likely to be filled for your destination.
10. Search for last minute Deals
Alternatively to booking solo tickets, you can look up last minute deals for when traveling in groups.Join the mailing lists and keep an eye on any upcoming deals on airfares.
You should also look up package deals for accommodation and flights. It’s easier to find cheap last minute flights for package vacations, then flights alone.
Keep in mind to read the fine print on any deal to be sure what the package entails and know exactly what you are paying for.
Last minute cheap flights are a rare find but possible if you know what you are doing. So, chew on these tips for the next time you want an impromptu vacation and save on your travels.
Author: Haziqa Ishtiaq is a newbie blogger and a content writer for PennySaviour. She has written blogs on many diverse topics including travel, business, tech, fashion, etc. She has a Hons degree in Biotechnology and is passionate about Literature, Genetics, music, movies, and, of course, traveling.