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HomeTravelHow to Book Actually Affordable Last-Minute Travel and Hotel Deals

How to Book Actually Affordable Last-Minute Travel and Hotel Deals

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Contrary to the advanced planning most people are used to, there are actually benefits to impulse travel or waiting until the last possible second to finalize a trip. Last-minute travel deals can be the key to cutting costs no matter where you’re headed.
It’s time you flip your mindset and realize that the internet is filled with discounts for extra adventurous travelers who are ready to just pack up and go. Whether it’s a flight for a spontaneous solo trip you booked after getting fully vaccinated or an impromptu staycation to clear your head, you’ll find all the best tips and tricks for scoring these affordable travel accommodations.

How to Find Last-Minute Travel Deals to Anywhere

One site all last-minute travelers should bookmark is Booking.com. The platform has it all, including budget-friendly rates on Airbnbs, boutique hotels, flights and the list goes on. Plus, if you sign up for the email list, you’ll be able to take advantage of even lower “Secret Deals” as a subscriber.
Beyond these benefits, the most useful feature is Booking.com’s “free cancellation, no prepayment” policy. Any customer who comes across a good price can lock it in for purchase until 24 hours before arrival (sometimes longer depending on the hotel) with the option of canceling if you find something better. Don’t forget to also sign up for the free Genius loyalty program, which provides an up to 15% base-rate discount, complimentary breakfast and more.

Check Out Booking.com

Rear view of a couple relaxing in the chairs at hotel balcony
Credit: iStock.com/AJ_Watt

Get the Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals, Even on Same-Day Bookings

Not knowing where you’re staying for the night can be nerve-racking, but you can channel your anxiousness into the potential of paying less. HotelTonight is focused on bringing people same-day discounts. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to reserve multi-night stays, but the closer you make your reservation to your check-in date, the greater the savings.
While users have seen prices marked down as much as 70%, most save an average of 25%. When you log on to the site, keep an out for the Daily Drop feature that guarantees hotels for up to 30% off. The only caveat is that you have to decide within a quick 15-minute time window if you want to go through with it.

Check Out HotelTonight

Do You Prefer All-Inclusive Travel Deals?

Priceline is the place for steals on last-minute all-inclusive travel deals and vacations. It’s a catch-all travel site with deals on everything, including the ability to filter by all-inclusive properties. And if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been to before, Priceline is even more useful since it can basically act as your virtual travel planner.
In addition to the hotel, you can select your flight and rental car if you need, all in one go. The best part is, through Priceline’s Bundle + Save program, the more last-minute shopping you do on the site, the more you’ll save.

Check Out Priceline

woman reading by the pool
Credit: Canva

Get Rewarded for Your Loyalty

For some of the absolute best last-minute hotel deals, you can count on Hotels.com. The site has a solid “Last-Minute Deals” selection that includes five-star hotels and luxury suites for over 50% off. Additionally, it pays to be loyal. Similar to a punch card at your go-to coffee or frozen yogurt shop, your 11th night with Hotels.com will be free after 10 nights booked on the site. Plus, joining the Hotels.com Rewards program will also get you “Secret Prices” sent to your inbox for extra savings on already discounted rooms.

Check Out Hotels.com

The Best Last-Minute Hotel App

When it comes to a next-level last-minute hotel app, One Night is a must. It makes getting a nice room for the night a breeze. Similar to HotelTonight, it’s designed for same-day bookings, but the differences are price point and location. One Night is only available in certain cities around the U.S., and you’ll get a carefully curated list of higher-priced, trendier options.
Not to worry, just because One Night’s hotels are fancier, it doesn’t mean the discounts aren’t there. You’ll still be able to enjoy the low, last-minute rates.

Check Out One Night

couple on a cruise
Credit: iStock.com/anyaberkut

Go On an Unplanned Cruise and Spend Less

Once they’re back in business, a pro tip on how to find cheap last-minute travel deals is by opting for an impulsive cruise. Unlike airfare, cruise prices are known to drop as the sail date approaches. The premium staterooms may be taken, but cruise lines will definitely be selling lower-tier accommodations for less to fill up the ship.
In case you want to keep an eye out for these deals, chance it around “shoulder season,” which is basically like the off-season for most destinations between September through November. A few sites to look at are Cruise.comCruises.comExpedia and even Costco.

Check Out Expedia


Make sure you don’t miss out on any other cheap last-minute travel deals by setting a custom Deal Alert. We’ll let you know whenever new discounts on flights, hotels, cruises and car rentals hit our forums. Additionally, be sure to browse through current discounts on our Travel Deals page.
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Author

Isis Briones
Isis Briones
Isis Briones is a freelance writer who covers everything from travel to video games, fashion and everything in between. From Manhattan to Muramvya, Burundi, she's also lived all over the world. There's actually no telling where she could end up next, but she's always ready with a carry-on packed for whatever adventure comes her way.

Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any product before you apply.

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