PACKAGE, ALL INCLUSIVE & FAMILY HOLIDAYS
Offers, discounts and late availability on package deals to the sun, or anywhere else for that matter; including all-inclusive deals and family holiday packages with offers and discounts.
ADVENTURE, ACTIVITY & SPECIAL INTEREST
Offers, discounts and late availability on all types of special interest holiday, find deals on walking and cycling breaks, wintersports trips, sailing, canoeing and surfing holidays, garden tours, photography and painting courses, and general adventure travel.
SINGLES & SINGLE PARENT HOLIDAYS
Deals, specials and last minute offers on singles holidays, from relaxing beach breaks to adventure trips; from dedicated singles breaks to standard holidays where singles are made welcome. Also a special section of offers for single parent families.
HOTELS, B&B & GUEST HOUSES
Find the best sites for hotel special offers, B&B deals or late availability on any sort of catered holiday accommodation Worldwide. With links to some useful booking engines as well as individual B&B's, guest houses, hotels and hotel chains with offers.
SELF-CATERING VILLAS, COTTAGES, APARTMENTS ...
As well as great choice of booking engines with last minute offers we list individual and privately owned self-catering villas, cottages and apartments all over the world – and our specialty, a lot of extra special accommodation like windmills, oast houses and castles.
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS
The early bird really does get the worm – book early and get discounts and deals on all kinds of breaks, from sunshine package deals to adventure and activity holidays.
Travel-quest tips for booking holiday deals and last minute travel
• Remember that the tour operators are masters of presentation and that, when scanning through a website, it's easy to get lulled into thinking you're seeing an offer when in fact you're not. Don't assume that the because the price is in red, or a larger font size, or on a bright 'flash', that what you're seeing is a price reduction. To be sure you're getting a real discount make sure you can see the original price and can compare and work out any saving for yourself.
• Be clear about the terminology used too:
• Late Availability – this is generally just referring to places available on a particular departure, don't expect a discount as well.
• Last Minute Holidays – ignoring the fact that there is a well-know travel company by this name (who do in fact offer some excellent deals!), the term 'last minute' is used widely by many travel operators, large and small. Taken literally it should mean the same as 'Late Availability' and some operators do use it that way; but others will using it to cover discounted packages too, so be aware!
• Late Deals – another widely used term, but a good one to look for as it's generally holidays with a discount (money off deal or percentage reduction) on available packages. 'Late deals' means different things to different operators, but these usually become available six to twelve weeks before departure.
• Special offers – might be used just to describe straightforward money off deals, but also includes other incentives like: 2 for 1 offers, extra days, children go free, free wine, free excursions, equipment hire etc. Some offers are very specific, Expedia for example has a '24 Hour Sale' deal on some of its hotel offers, where special discounted deals are offered within a strict 24 hour time frame; the 'Last Second' section of Lastminute.com offers a similar deal.
• Early Bird – early booking deals are an alternative way to get a discount if you're able to commit yourself well in advance, an added incentive being that you'll be getting the holiday you want at the time you want it, rather than having to select from whatever is left.
Tips for the search itself
• Search for holiday deals first thing in the in the morning, websites usually update their offers overnight.
• Flexibility is key to getting the best deals and you'll get the best options if you're able to vary your departure date, departure airport and destination.
• Avoid school holidays if you can, not only do prices go up by something like 30% over this period but there are fewer last minute deals around.
• If you have to take your holiday around Bank Holiday periods then opting to travel on the actual Bank Holiday itself can often pay off.
• Once you've found a last minute holiday deal that suits your budget, don't delay booking – deals go quickly once they've been released!
• Book online if you can, it costs a travel company a lot less if they don't have to deal with bookings over the phone, on many sites some these savings are passed along to the holidaymaker. With Thomas Cook, for example, the majority their packages get an additional 5% discount if booked online (and in some cases its more than that).
• Watch out for 'allocation on arrival' offers, this is where the holiday accommodation (be it a hotel or self-catering villa/cottage) is not allocated until you arrive in the destination. You can certainly get some great deals this way but to avoid disappointment it's probably best not to have high expectations!
• Don't just look at packages, compare the price for independent travel too as it can sometimes work out a lot cheaper. Conversely, consider an 'all-inclusive' deal (a package where all the extras, like drinks, excursions, activities, kid's clubs etc. are included), this sort of package means you can make extra savings by not needing to spend when you get to your resort.
• If you're using the DIY approach and are planning to fly with one of the budget airlines, don't delay booking as fares go up the closer you get to departure.
• For ski and snowboard holidays waiting till the last minute means you can choose your resort depending on where the snow conditions are best. If you're a couple try hotels, self-catering apartments and catered/serviced chalets; groups may also find offers in self-catering chalets, just be aware that prices quoted will probably be for 'maximum occupancy', so if you don't fill the place it will cost you more per person.
• UK holiday cottages get very full over the festive period (Christmas in particular) and last minute offers are unlikely unless you can find a cancellation.
• Pay by credit card for security in case the company goes bust, the Consumer Credit Act protects transactions over £100 paid for by card. Also a good idea is travel insurance that includes cancellation cover.
• Check destination weather patterns and the like before you book, make sure that temperatures will suit you, that it's not monsoon or hurricane season, or high season for midges. Sometimes there's a reason prices are slashed at certain times of the year!
And for the more exotic destinations:
• Do you need visas? Don't rush to make a last minute booking only to discover you need a visa you don't have time to get! For visa requirements try the Which? Guide to getting the right visa.
• Is it safe to travel? For the UK the FOC issues up-to-date travel advice, country by country.
• Do you need any jabs? The Department of Health issues information about protection from major diseases as well as medical treatment abroad.