Planning your vacation months in advance isn’t always a possibility. You may have annual leave to use up or just desperately need to get away for a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, we all face times when we need to book a last-minute escape. Why not give in to your spontaneous side and explore the exciting places you can visit at the drop of a hat? Leaving the booking until the last minute often means saving some money in the process. To help you out, we’ve put together some top tips on how to get the best deal at the eleventh hour.

Do Your Research

You’re probably not going to find the winning ticket just by typing "last-minute deal" into a search engine. To find what you’re looking for you need to put some effort into researching. Check out comparison sites, like Ice Lolly, for late deals. Comparison sites are an excellent way to see lots of deals in one place, whether you’re hoping for a package holiday, cruise or just accommodation. What’s more, comparison sites are a good way to see what’s out there and tempt your traveling taste buds. Doing your research gives you an idea of the possibilities and what you might be able to achieve within your budget.

Let the Deals Come to You

When you’re doing your research, make sure you sign up, so you’re alerted of new deals. After all, you can’t keep doing extensive research every day until you jet off. There are many services that will email you as soon as there are bargains to be had. Whether it’s general deals from companies like Travelzoo, all inclusive holidays from Secret Escapes or budget flights from Jack’s Flight Club, you’ll know as soon as they do. Don’t forget to sign up on voucher sites too, it may be unlikely that they have exactly the discount you’re hoping for, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Also, we have to mention that Seeqr brings you incredible deals as well. You can sign up for those travel deals here.

Speak to Travel Agents

As it’s so easy to search online these days, it can be easy to forget about travel agents. They may not be as popular as they used to be, but high street travel agents are still doing business and, more to the point, they know the business. It’s worth calling in and asking if they know of any last-minute deals that might tempt you. They often have offers that aren’t available to the general public, so you wouldn’t find them online even if you tried. Failing that, you can always be a bit cheeky and ask them what they can do for you. They need to put bums on seats too, so why not ask if you can pay a bit less for yours?

Hold out for the Best Price

What one person considers a last-minute booking is planning in advance for someone else. It’s worth noting that most travel sites will consider last minute as anything later than 10 weeks before departure. What that means, however, is that 10 weeks before prices may drop, but they have the potential to go much lower. If you truly want to snag the best deal, you need to be able to hold your nerve and wait for the best price. This is a bit risky as there are no guarantees but the later you can wait the lower the prices tend to go, assuming there is still availability.

Have an Open Mind

If you’re going to be able to hold out for the bargain prices, you need to be open-minded as to where you go. If your favorite destination doesn’t come up, there are sure to be other bargains to be had. Use sites like Skyscanner to see the cheapest airfares flying anywhere to widen your horizons. At the end of the day, airlines want to fill all their seats and hotels want to fill all of their rooms, so they will drop the prices to do so. Consider the day you travel as well, if you can head off mid-week and at an unsociable hour, chances are you’ll fly for less.