15 Tips To Book Last Minute Flights To Save Money

While spontaneous trips have their charm, booking flights at the last minute, regardless of the reason, can be expensive. In this article, we’ll share tips and strategies to ensure you get the best flight deals even when booking last minute.

Check Flights From Nearby Airports

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Don’t limit yourself to just your local airport. Explore the possibility of flying out of nearby airports, even those in neighboring cities. These lesser-known hubs might offer significantly cheaper flights. A little extra legwork to get to a different airport could translate to major savings on your flight. But remember to factor in any additional transportation costs. You don’t want to spend your saved flight money just getting to the airport.

Be Flexible With Destinations

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When it comes to last-minute flights, ditch the rigid itinerary and embrace spontaneity. Instead of setting your heart on a specific location, widen your search. You might score an incredible deal on a destination you never considered – a charming coastal haven, a vibrant metropolis, or a peaceful mountain retreat.

Adjust Your Travel Dates

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If your heart is set on a specific place, date flexibility is vital. Be willing to adjust your travel dates by a day or two – sometimes, weekdays offer steeper discounts. Set fare alerts for your chosen location to snag deals as soon as they appear. Remember, a little calendar creativity can unlock huge savings on your last-minute escape.

Opt For One-Way Flights

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Choose one-way flights instead of round trips. While airlines often price round-trips the same as two one-ways, searching for one-way flights can reveal hidden deals. You might score the cheapest option on each leg by mixing airlines, but be aware of luggage fees that could vary greatly.

Book tickets individually

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Avoid booking tickets together as a group. Airlines often inflate prices for all seats when you book together. Search and purchase tickets individually to score lower fares, even if you’re traveling with a group. Once you’ve bagged those individual fares, coordinate with your airline to link your reservations for seating arrangements. A quick call usually does the trick.

Book Flights One Leg At A Time

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For even steeper savings, explore single legs. This involves searching for one-way flights for each leg of your trip, not just the origin and destination. Imagine you’re flying from Seattle to Miami. Instead of just comparing round-trips, look for a cheap one-way to a central hub like Dallas, then another one-way from Dallas to Miami. Remember, this requires more planning and flexibility, but the potential savings can be significant.

Take Advantage Of Any Price Drops

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Airlines sometimes adjust fares, so keep an eye on your flight’s price even after you’ve purchased it. Fare-tracking tools can automate this process for you, sending alerts when the price dips. If you see a drop, head straight to the airline’s website or call them – some airlines let you rebook at a lower rate or give you an e-credit for the difference. Remember, time is of the essence here, as these deals might have limited availability.

Hide Your Location

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Mask your location for hidden deals. Airlines use your IP address to show prices based on your area. Use a Virtual Private Network to browse and see flight prices from different regions anonymously. This strategy might unlock cheaper options you wouldn’t see otherwise.

Try To Book A Week In Advance

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Ideally, book a week before departure to avoid dramatic price hikes. Airlines raise prices significantly on domestic and international flights within seven days of the trip. So, while “last-minute” might mean different things to different travelers, a week’s buffer can make a big difference to your wallet.

Opt for Budget Airlines

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Consider budget airlines for last-minute deals. While comforts like legroom and freebies might be slimmer, the savings can be substantial. Budget airlines often beat traditional carriers on price, especially for short-notice flights. Pack snacks and drinks, and be mindful of checked baggage fees to avoid surprise costs.

Go Incognito When Searching For Flights

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Incognito mode can be your secret weapon for last-minute deals. Websites track your searches and might raise prices based on your interest. To avoid this sneaky tactic, search for flights in incognito mode, which resets cookies with each new window. This ensures you see the most current fares, potentially saving you money on your last-minute adventure.

Pay In Foreign Currency

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Before securing that last-minute deal, see if paying in a foreign currency saves you money. Budget airlines often require payment in the departure country’s currency, but some offer flexibility. Look for the option to change the currency during checkout – it might unlock a hidden discount.

Use Price Comparison Tools

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Save time and find the best deals fast. Price comparison tools are your secret weapon for last-minute flights. These tools let you compare airfare across multiple airlines, side-by-side, in one place. No more hopping between websites – you’ll see the cheapest options instantly.

Choose Early Morning or Late Night Flights

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Early morning or late night flights are often less popular, so airlines might offer lower prices to fill those empty seats. This strategy can be a great way to grab a last-minute deal, especially if you’re flexible with your travel schedule. Be prepared for less-than-ideal departure times, but the potential savings could be significant.

Contact The Airline For Discounts

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Some airlines offer discounts for seniors, students, or the military. Even family emergencies might qualify. While contacting the airline can’t guarantee a discount, it’s a quick way to check and save on your last-minute trip.

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