Travel booking hacks for last-minute getaways

Kristine Tarbert
·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

With constantly changing travel restrictions and border rules some Aussies might be hesitant to book a holiday too far out incase anything changes.

But the truth is there are plenty of ways to bag great last-minute deals as well, if you’re happy to be a bit spontaneous.

Silhouette of joyful young Asian mother holding hands of cute little daughter looking at airplane through window at the airport while waiting for departure
Are you wanting to get away this summer? Photo: Getty

According to Skyscanner data there has been a 21 per cent increase in last-minute bookings - specifically between seven and 28 days of departure.

If you’re looking at getting away during the summer months Paul Whiteway, Senior Direct and Aussie Flight Expert at Skyscanner has shared his top 5 travel hacks to bag last minute flights for less, and how to navigate last minute bookings.

“Historically last minute travel bookings - and flights in particular - have been notoriously inflexible and expensive,” Paul tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“However, the events of the past few months have forced airlines and hotels to take a more flexible approach, coupling amendable bookings with extremely attractive pricing.”

Woman relaxing in deck chair on veranda.
Nothing like escaping your four walls. Photo: Getty

How to find cheap last minute flights:

  • Mix & Match to save $$

No it’s not a summer fashion trend, but mix and matching the airlines you choose to fly with can seriously cut costs. Fares don’t have to be booked as returns, so compare prices and look at flying out with one airline and back with another to save dollars for holiday spending when you’re there.

  • Bargain hunters

Unlike shopping in store, you don’t have to spend hours rummaging around to find the best bargains for flights. Always sign up for airline newsletters for airlines you fly with regularly. This is the first place where they’ll mention last minute sales or price drops and if they have spare seats to sell, they’ll tell their subscribers first. Also if you can consider travelling a day before or a day after your original departure dates, flying on less popular days of the week is always cheaper.

  • Higher, lower!

Signing up for price alerts is an easy, effective way to get more bang for your buck. You can mark a flight you’re interested in you’ll get an email every time the price goes up or down. If you’re ready to take a gamble and wait it out, the price might drop right at the last minute.

  • Flex is the word

In the past being flexible with travel might have meant flying at anti-social times to get a good price. But now with travel restrictions changing at the drop of a hat, it’s important to know what the change policies are on flight tickets and accommodation. These policies are highlighted on searches, for how to book last minute travel that can be changed easily, without getting stung with extra costs.

  • Search, everywhere?

If you’re looking for a change of scene but not fussy about where (who isn’t looking to escape their four walls?!), you might find it’s significantly cheaper if you switch up destination and select the search filter ‘everywhere’ on Skyscanner. 2020 has been all us rediscovering our own backyard and you might even discover a hidden gem or new favourite destination. It might not be Tuscany, but wine tasting in Adelaide, anyone?

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