Your budget should always be your first concern when you travel. Whether you are interested in luxury or affordable traveling, you probably enjoy getting good deals and saving money where you can. One of the things that many travel industry experts warn against is booking last minute, whether it is hotels, flights, or transportation. However, you can still find great last minute deals if you know where to look.
Pros and Cons of Last minute Booking
Often, it’s the price that draws people to booking late, but there are downsides to this practice, such as reduced availability. Hypothetically, if there’s a major event going on in your destination, you might be out of luck since you waited too long to book. We’ve gone ahead and listed some of the various pros and cons involved in booking your accommodation last minute:
- You may find a last minute deal at a hotel that would normally be out of your price range.
- It teaches you to be resourceful and adaptable when it comes to traveling.
- You may discover an entirely new area of your destination because you’ll likely have to book in less popular areas.
- Dealing with your new conditions may become expensive if you’ve planned poorly.
- Accommodations may not be guaranteed based on the time of year.
- It can be stressful not having your whole trip planned ahead of time.
How Long Should You Wait?
It is probably in your best interests to book as soon as you know what your vacation plans are going to be. However, if extenuating circumstances prevent you from planning accordingly, then it’s a good idea to at least ensure you’ve reserved your accommodation within a few weeks of travel. This will eliminate the uncertainty of where you’ll be staying, as well as keep you from the punitive pricing that comes along with last minute booking.
Where to Find Last minute Hotel Deals
There are so many options available online to check out different hotels and accommodation options that it can be hard to know which of them will be reliable. There are several trustworthy sites that many people use again and again with good results, particularly when searching for last minute deals.
This a site monitors many hotels around the world and lists them by user review, price, and distance from a location. Booking.com is a site that is frequently used for last minute options because it offers some of the best prices out there, often better than the hotel’s own website. If you become a member, you can also unlock secret deals and save more money.
Lastminute.com is a no-brainer for travelers looking to leave in a hurry, but the best part is that they offer “Top Secret” Hotel Deals. This means that you can often find an amazing hotel for much less than you would usually pay, however you’ll be booking your reservation without knowing exactly what hotel you’ll be staying at. After you pay, you’ll find out the location, and people often find that they have been booked into a gorgeous 5-star hotel for less than half the price.
This site offers rooms, apartments, and even entire houses from local owners all over the world. Its easy-to-use interface and great customer service make Airbnb one of the best options for travelers. The cost is typically lower than a hotel, with the added benefit of experiencing life like a local. These bookings, whether they be apartments or homes, are also usually equipped with a full kitchen, meaning that you will be able to cook for yourself.
If all else fails, there’s always the old travel standby, youth hostels. Historically, hostels have been fairly low budget, but they’ve really come into their own in the last few years with some luxury options. You’ll most likely still be sharing a dorm room with other people, but private rooms are usually offered as well. If lack of privacy doesn’t bother you, then staying in a dorm can be one of the most affordable options out there.
Is It Worth It?
Whether it’s worth it to wait until the last minute to book your accommodation is up to you. If you have no other reason to procrastinate your hotel booking, it is far more prudent to book in advance. That way you already know what you are getting and you also have peace of mind that you will not show up at your destination without a place to stay. It’s always a roll of the dice to put things off until the last moment because of extenuating circumstances. You never know what you’re going to encounter if you wait, so it’s best to plan ahead.
That being said, if it’s beyond your control, some of the above-mentioned resources are a great way to make sure that you will find a place to stay after you land. There are other alternatives as well, so make sure to do your research before booking your stay. Even a last minute booking deserves a little investigation to make sure you end up in a decent place, and it’s a good idea to read reviews and other testimonies from previous customers before making your final decision.
Booking a hotel last minute doesn’t always have to mean breaking the bank. Sometimes you can find great deals or new types of accommodation. You might experience your very first hostel or apartment rental experience and decide to leave hotels behind forever. You might also be lucky and find yourself in the lap of luxury even though you’d have never expected it.
The savvy traveler knows that their best option is to make sure they are well-housed before they arrive in their destination, but if you’re interested in something a little more daring and throwing caution to the wind, you can take your chances with booking your hotel last minute. It could be a grand adventure and a wonderful story to tell later down the line. It could also be a disaster, but that’s the chance you take when you leave life up to the luck of the draw.