Last minute trip booking can be stressful on your emotions, your schedule – and your wallet. But since emergency trips are sometimes unavoidable, you can reduce the stress in all areas with a number of last minute trip booking tips.
Last minute flights can cost a bundle, but suggestions from FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney can help reduce the cost dramatically.
- Cash in frequent flyer miles: Even if you don’t have your own frequent flyer miles, family and friends may be able to transfer theirs to you to help reduce your airfare.
- Ask airlines about emergency fares: Some major airlines have discounts they offer for emergencies, although you’ll have to call them to find out. And calling may involve a fee, even if they’re unable to help. Also note that smaller airlines may have less expensive flights to begin with, even without an emergency discount.
- Go for vacation packages: Booking a whole package that includes airfare, hotel and car rental can often get you a discount on all three. If you don’t need the hotel and car rental, you can always cancel them – after you’ve booked your cheaper flight.
- Review flight dates and “stay” requirements: You may be able to book a cheaper flight based on how long you’re planning to stay at your destination. For instance, certain airlines reduce fares if you stay at least two nights or overnight on a Saturday.
- Consider first-class or business class: If you can’t nab a coach flight deal, check out the pricing for first or business class, which may actually be cheaper for last minute trip booking.
Getting a good deal on last minute lodging may not be all that tough. In addition to booking a package deal that includes flight and hotel, try these tips.
- Apps and websites: A number of apps, such as HotelTonight, work with hotels to negotiate discounts on unused rooms.
- Call the hotel directly: Calling the hotel and asking about last-minute available rooms and rates may help you snag a better deal than you could by simply booking through its website.
Neighbors, coworkers and family members are the first place to look for someone to feed the cat, look after the dogs or otherwise help out with daily chores while you’re away. If none are available, other options include:
- Pet sitting services in your area can be researched through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, or you can try the local community site Nextdoor.
- Plant care can involve putting your houseplants in the sink or tub in a shallow pool of water, or investing in a self-watering device
- Put a hold on your mail with a quick visit to the USPS website
If your emergency trip is taking your out of the country, you may also need a last minute passport; Swift’s processing time on new passports can be as few as one business day.
Being semi-prepared is another way to reduce last minute trip booking stress. AARP suggests stocking a small bag with toiletries, keeping a list of important phone numbers and websites you’ll need for travel plans, and taking three shirts, three bottoms and up to three pairs of shoes you can mix and match.
Feel free to contact Swift with any additional questions or concerns; we’re always available to help.