There’s little I like more than a great vacation with family or friends. Or both. But what tops it is getting those vacations for a steal of a deal. There are so many different strategies for saving money on travel and you’ll probably hear contradicting advice depending on who you’re talking to or what you’re reading, but I’m here to tell you that we have personally saved some big bucks by booking last-minute sun holidays.
One of the best last-minute Caribbean deals we booked was when The K Man was just two years old. We had no plans to go anywhere because I was pregnant with Miss Q, but as we sat in our rec room hanging out with my parents, a travel newsletter popped up in my inbox. Six sleeps later we woke up in Aruba!
Here are my top 7 tips to get YOU last-minute sun holidays deals of your own:
1. Don’t be picky about the destination.
This is not the time for a bucket list moment. Hey, if one of your dream destinations happens to be available when you start searching, that’s a nice bonus. But don’t toss aside the idea of a last-minute trip just because that resort on your vision board isn’t up for grabs. Instead, use this opportunity to consider a country or property that may not have even been on your radar. Aruba wasn’t on our radar and nearly a decade later it’s still one of my all-time fave islands.
2. Be flexible about which day of the week you leave.
Just because every time you go on vacation you leave on Saturdays, you’ve gotta roll with departure days. Last-minute deals are often tied to very specific parameters — change something as simple as the room category, or departure day, and the deal may no longer look so good after all. And if that means leaving on a Wednesday? Well, that’s still five business days off of work. Bonus: two short work weeks sandwiched with a vacay.
3. Don’t start looking for deals too early.
“Last-minute” really means about a week or two before the departure date. Be patient and wait for a tour operator like Air Canada Vacations to list those deals (and don’t forget to hit “refresh” so you don’t miss newly added sales!).
4. Use an incognito window while you’re on the virtual hunt for last-minute sun holidays.
This may or may not be true, but when I put my special foil hat on that turns me into a conspiracy theorist, I listen to the voices that tell me Big Brother is watching. The cookies know when you’ve looked at a resort listing more than once, so it stands to reason that going incognito may help you get the best price no mater how often you re-visit a specific webpage. At the very worst, it’s an extra four-and-a-half-seconds of your life to open that new window.
5. But on that note, pull the trigger as quickly as possible.
Even if the price for your last-minute vacation doesn’t change during the eight times you pulled it back up to show your partner or kids or send it to your besties, those deals are getting snapped up WAY faster than average reservations. So waiting won’t do you any favours. Make a decision and get that booking number locked and loaded. Who cares if you didn’t ask for the time off? I believe the saying goes “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Or something like that.
6. Ignore people who tell you there are no deals on last-minute sun holidays during peak seasons.
Lie. Lie. Lie. There are last-minute deals year-round, including Christmas holidays and March Break. Just keep in mind that the discount prices will be relative to its peak season. So while you may not think a $7,000 family getaway is a “deal,” if it’s at a five-star all-inclusive resort during a holiday break that would usually cost double, that’s definitely a deal. I checked Air Canada Vacations’ Last Minute Deals page and saw several options for March Break this year.
7. Consider a room upgrade or premium economy seating with some of the money you saved.
Booking that last-minute vacation could mean that you saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you came in under budget and have some fun money to play with, think about using it to get a better view or bigger room (provided changing those details doesn’t impact the base price, of course). Oceanview suite, anyone? One of the things we love to do when we’ve got a few extra bucks burning holes in our wallets is upgrade to premium economy seating on the plane to enjoy more legroom.
Remember that spontaneity is part of the fun. It’s OK if this doesn’t turn into the most memorable vacation of your life, and it’s OK if it does. Throw your hands in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care because you scored a sweet deal. Last-minute sun holidays FTW!
To see the latest deals from your departure city, visit the Air Canada Vacations Last Minute Deals page. You can save up to 40 per cent off your next vacation. Who knows…maybe you’ll wake up in Aruba six sleeps from now?
DISCLAIMER: Air Canada Vacations compensated me for this post. All opinions and suggestions, however, are my own.