Most people plan their holidays far in advance, and doing so can be a nifty way to make some savings. However, whether you thrive on spontaneity or suddenly have some free time to fill, booking at the last minute can save you hundreds.
And, with the weather outlook in the UK looking relatively miserable for the rest of the summer, last-minute deals have seen a sudden surge. According to the Met Office, “showery conditions” and “average” temperatures in the lower 20s are expected to plague the rest of August, leaving sun-starved Britons desperate for some golden sunshine to bask in.
As a result, package holiday providers have seen an increase in bookings. “It looks as though holidaymakers have given up hope of a hot summer in the UK and instead have booked last minute trips to find some sun abroad with more than half of bookings made in July leaving in the next two months,” a spokesperson from Onthebeach told Express.co.uk.
The online travel agent reported a 7.4% surge in bookings compared to June. A spokesperson says they believe fewer bookings were made during the brief heatwave experienced in the UK in June. But, as the wind and rain rolled in, bookings increased, with over half of all holidays booked for July, August or September.
A spokesperson from Jet2 also noted that the destination doesn’t seem to matter, as long as there is sunshine in store. They told the BBC: “More people are simply looking to get away this summer and swap the UK weather for some sunshine, regardless of the destination.”
The good news is, this could mean a bargain holiday – though the best deals are likely to go fast! Big-name airlines and holiday providers often add discounts on last-minute holidays and flights they need to fill spaces on, and there are also dedicated websites out there to help you search for cheap, last-minute deals.
Some of the best easyJet deals, latest Jet2 sales and cheapest British Airways deals include last-minute flights and holidays for those leaving things down to the wire.
If you’re looking for tips on where or how to snag the best last-minute deals, scroll down to read our top tips and recommendations, or click on the links to jump to the relevant section.
Last-minute flight and holiday deals
If you’re looking to bag a last-minute flight or holiday, you can either go down the route of using a price comparison website to compare options. Or, you can use a dedicated online travel agent, such as lastminute.com, which specialises in last-minute trips.
These last-minute deals are often far cheaper than other holidays and can see you jetting off for less than £300 per person.
Many big-name airlines and package holiday provider offer their own last-minute deals on flights and holidays with some incredible discounts. But you’ll have to act fast to snap up the best deals!
At the time of writing, TUI will fly holidaymakers to Marios Hotel in Zante, Greece for £293.95pp on August 29 when flying from London Gatwick.
You can jet off with easyJet holidays to Dalaman, Turkey for just £343pp when departing on August 23 from Glasgow Airport.
Meanwhile, Jet2 is offering holidaymakers seven nights bed and breakfast in Gran Canaria for £629pp when departing on August 17 from Newcastle Airport.
- Book a last-minute flight or package holiday with Jet2 and Jet2holidays
- Search for last-minute flight and package holiday deals with easyJet and easyJet holidays
- Find last-minute flight and holiday deals with British Airways
- Look for last-minute and late deals on flights and holidays with TUI
- Find cheap last-minute flights and holidays with Virgin Atlantic Holidays
Search for and find the best deal on last-minute package holidays and flights with Jet2 and Jet2holidays.
easyJet and easyJet holidays have an array of last-minute holidays and flights, search their latest deals today.
Late deals and last-minute holidays are on offer from TUI for under £200pp. Search their latest deals now.
Search for and find the best deal on last-minute flights or package holidays with British Airways.
Last-minute flights and holidays are available with Virgin Atlantic holidays. Visit their website to search for the best deals now.
Alternatively, if you want to search and compare prices with an online travel agent, there are plenty offering last-minute flight and holiday deals including:
Online travel agents, such as Onthebeach, not only offer late deals but also often host flash sales which dramatically slash the price of holidays throughout the year.
At the time of writing, Onthebeach is offering holidaymakers the chance to jet off to Barcelo Fuerteventura Mar on August 30 from £1,535 for two people.
Or Skyscanner has found direct, return flights between London and Ibiza from £85pp in August.
But once again, if you are hoping to bag a cheap last-minute deal, you’ll need to be quick!
All prices are correct at the time of writing (August 2023) but are subject to change.
Compare late deals on package holidays and flights with Travel Supermarket today.
Search for last-minute flights and holidays on lastminute.com or find the best savings in one of their flash sales.
Compare prices and find the cheapest deal on your next flight with Skyscanner.
Looking for a last-minute package holiday deal? First Choice has a selection of holiday options on their website. Search and compare prices today!
When is the cheapest day to book a flight or holiday?
Finding the best price on a flight or holiday could be down to the day you choose to book your flight according to research by Skyscanner. Though booking on a certain day isn’t a completely foolproof way to get the best prices, there is some evidence to suggest it could help.
By analysing three years’ worth of Skyscanner booking data, the travel comparison website found that there could be some booking hacks worth knowing. Although mid-week has long been touted as one of the best days to fly and save money, Skyscanner found that booking on a Wednesday could end up costing you around four percent more than if you wait until the end of the week and book on a Sunday.
On a £500 flight, this adds up to £25, which may not seem like a lot for cheaper tickets, but could add up on group bookings.
However, Skyscanner did also note that waiting until the last minute might not be your best bet, with airlines often ramping up the prices in the days before departure.
If you’re looking for a cheaper, last-minute trip, it’s well worth browsing the last-minute deals on offer rather than specific dates. Flexibility with when you travel and for how long is often the key to bagging a bargain holiday.
When are the best last-minute deals available?
If you’re looking for a last-minute deal, it goes without saying that waiting is the best way to snap up some of the best savings.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact day that last-minute holidays are likely to be cheaper, deals tend to go out between eight and six weeks prior to departure – and often get cheaper in the final few weeks leading up to the holiday.
The later you wait, the more flexible you will need to be about where you jet off to and when your holiday takes place.
However, leaving things right down to the line can see holidays getting cheaper and cheaper as providers become even more eager to make a sale.
While most big-name holiday providers provide last-minute deals, you can find some of the best deals and flash sales through dedicated third-party agents such as:
When is the cheapest time to fly?
Though mid-week has often been hailed as the cheapest time to fly, according to Skyscanner, the trend is changing. Based on their research, the cheapest time of fly from the UK is typically a Friday.
And, by comparison, if you’re getting off from the UK, booking to fly on a Sunday could end up costing you more.
However, if you’re on the hunt for deals, being open to flying on any date is the best way to snap up savings.
By their very nature, last-minute deals tend to be a quick turnaround and can pop up on any day, so the more flexible you are, the more likely you’ll be to find a great deal.
How to avoid additional fees on your last minute holiday
Even if you’ve managed to secure a cheap deal on your last-minute holiday, unexpected fees at the airport could tip you over budget if you’re not prepared. Most airlines and package holiday providers will notify you of exactly what is included in your fare, however there are certain elements that might come at an additional cost.
Avoid excess luggage fees
One thing which holidaymakers often find themselves lamenting over is excess luggage charges. How much luggage you are allowed will depend on the rules specified by your chosen carrier.
For short-haul airlines, hand luggage rules vary and hold luggage typically comes at an extra cost. This varies slightly for those who have booked package holidays, such as with Jet2 or easyJet, where one item of hold luggage may be included.
The majority of long-haul operators tend to allow passengers an item of hand luggage, as well as a hold item to be checked, but this does depend on your ticket type.
Along with checking your luggage allowance, you should also make sure your bags don’t exceed the weight or size, as this can incur an often sizeable fee at the airport.
If you’ve already planned a trip, our guide to the best easyJet luggage hacks, Jet2 baggage packing hacks and Ryanair luggage rules can help to save some extra pennies.
Get the best price on room upgrades
Typically, package holiday deals will increase in price if you’re hoping to upgrade your hotel room. To book room upgrades, you’ll need to research the options available from whichever provider you book with and what additional price is associated.
A little bit of added luxury is likely to come with a price, but there are deals to be had.
Some package holiday providers who offer luxury holiday deals include:
- Indulgent Escapes by Jet2holidays
- British Airways luxury holidays
- TUI luxury holidays
- Ultimate Travel Club
- Secret Escapes luxury holidays
Save money on seat selection
If you’re jetting off with the family and have hopes of sitting together, you could be looking at an additional fee to secure the seats you want. Although some airlines, such as British Airways, allow passengers to select their seats when checking-in online in the 24 hours before departure.
If your airline does allow seat selection for free, it’s worth checking in as soon as possible to ensure you get seats together.
Even if your airline has the option for paid seat selection, in many cases, so long as there is availability, airlines will seat groups together. The only major exception to this rule is for those travelling with Ryanair. Passengers will often need to pay in order to sit together.
Before jetting off it’s best to read up on your airline’s seat reservation rules to decide whether it is worth shelling out for seat selection, or if you’re happy to take the risk and save some cash.
You can find out the seat selection and reservation rules of airlines by visiting their websites:
- easyJet seat selection and reservation rules
- Jet2 seat selection and reservation rules
- British Airways seat selection and reservation rules
- TUI seat selection and reservation rules
- Virgin Atlantic seat selection and reservation rules
- Ryanair seat selection and reservation rules
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