Sunset in Australia

Last Minute Travel Ideas

Feel like getting away from everything? One of the best lessons we’ve learned during our round the world trip so far is that travel doesn’t have to be planned. There’s often no need to book things months in advance or do hours of research beforehand, in fact, some of the best experiences we’ve had on the road have been spontaneous and unplanned. With that in mind, here are some great last minute travel ideas to inspire you.

Sunset in Australia

Fancy a last minute break on a tropical island?

The Advantages of Last Minute Travel

When it comes to travel I’ll readily admit that there are times when it pays to plan ahead. You may need to pre-organise travel visas, book international flights in advance to get the cheapest rates or pre-book activities for high-season trips to avoid missing out or paying over the odds. However, there are significant advantages to last minute travel, the main two being, in my opinion:

  • Cost – last minute holiday packages, accommodation and flights can all be extremely cheap. We’ve booked low cost domestic flights a week or only a few days in advance and found cheap accommodation options from hotels simply looking to fill rooms at the last minute. Of course, trying to find last minute flights or accommodation during high season in popular destinations will likely back-fire on you and end up costing much more than it would if you’d booked in advance, so bear this in mind.
  • Flexibility – one thing that I’ve learned the hard way while we’ve been travelling is that plans change all the time. We might arrive in a new place only to find that we hate it and want to move on as soon as possible, while we might love another destination so much that we stay far longer than we originally planned. Last minute travel allows you the flexibility to change your plans at the drop of a hat; to add in destinations you’d never considered before and move on when you get bored.
Budget Hotel in Ubud, Bali

Budget Hotel in Ubud, Bali

Cheap Last Minute Holiday Ideas

So, do you fancy a cheap last minute holiday? As I mentioned above, unplanned travel can work against you and cost more if you’re not careful; here are some tips on how to find the cheapest last minute deals:

  • Find a winter sun holiday – booking a last minute holiday to a winter sun destination can be cost-effective as long as you shop around, are flexible on dates and avoid travelling during school holidays. Andrew and I once booked a last-minute holiday to Tunisia in January to escape the post-Christmas blues and dismal British weather. We got a very cheap deal because we were travelling just after the school holidays finished, we weren’t picky about our destination and we were happy to fly at unsociable times.
  • Check out daily deal websites – these regularly offer cheap hotel stays, spa packages or restaurant deals which can help you plan a low-cost last minute break.
  • Take a last minute city break this can also be a good option if you find a cheap last minute deal via a package. You can also organise a cost-effective city break if you travel during the off-season or take advantage of flight, rail or hotel promotions.
  • Search for last minute flights – we’ve saved a lot of cash on our trip so far by booking flights only a few days or weeks before we travel. This strategy works better for domestic rather than international flights; we got some incredibly cheap domestic flights in Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia as airlines drop prices at the last minute to fill their aeroplanes.
  • Look for low season deals – one of the best low-cost travel secrets I’ve discovered while travelling has been to take advantage of low season deals. I’ve found that hotels, for example, will drop their prices by as much as 50 percent in low season under the rationale that it’s better to have a low-paying customer than an empty room for weeks on end. Currently we’re staying in a hotel in Koh Samui in Thailand which costs 800B per night in high season; we’re paying just 500B per night because it’s low season right now.
  • Search for Last minute hotel bookings – many hotels, regardless of season, will offer spare rooms at discount prices at the last minute under the same rationale mentioned above: it’s better to have guests paying a cheaper rate than to have empty rooms generating no income. There are plenty of websites which specialise in selling these kinds of deals but you can also walk the streets looking for them when you arrive in your travel destination.
  • Take a weekend break – sometimes all you need to recharge is a weekend away; a short one or two night break can be a really affordable last minute option.
  • Package deals – although we prefer to travel independently these days, booking our own flights and finding our own accommodation, we have managed to book extremely cheap package holidays in the past to places like Crete and Turkey, so always be on the lookout for good package deals.

Do you have any more last minute travel ideas?


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