Has anyone ever booked a very last minute holiday deal in the summer holidays? Do they exist?

(28 Posts)
NorbertDentressangle Sun 01-Feb-15 21:14:56

The plans we had for the summer look as if they might change which leaves us wondering what to do. Normally by now we tend to know what we're doing or have booked it.

I was wondering if it's feasible to just walk into a travel agent/look online at the beginning of the school holidays and find a last minute deal for 2 adults, 2 children (aged 11 and 15) or do these sorts of deals not exist any more.

DP and I did this pre-DC via a travel agent back in the days before most people had access to the internet shock..... yes that long ago, but obviously things have changed.

I won't be be working over the summer and DP is self-employed and could be flexible so we could literally go the next day if needed!

Has anyone done this? If so please tell me more!

NorbertDentressangle Mon 02-Feb-15 09:31:06

Bumping this on this icy cold morning.....

mollyonthemove Mon 02-Feb-15 09:34:42

We used to do this but it's becoming a lot harder I think. This year we booked flights to Portugal for March back in September and got 4 returns for £288, now they are £500.... Back in 1998, we went to Corfu for two weeks for three of us for £600, again, last minute would now be about £2500! I guess it's possible but I wouldn't want to risk it!

spookyskeleton Mon 02-Feb-15 09:36:25

I don't know but will be watching this thread with interest.

Have booked 2 weeks off work at the end of August but holidays seem to be expensive this year so am wondering whether to try and book a last minute deal instead but not sure if this may be to risky hmm

mollyonthemove Mon 02-Feb-15 09:48:08

What we have managed in the past few years is to get super cheap deals on caravan holidays in this country last minute though! Always been really nice too. But abroad is harder I reckon.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 02-Feb-15 09:50:14

Molly it was back in the late 90s that DP and I last did that.

We walked into a travel agent and came out an hour later with a holiday to Fuerteventura leaving in a few days!

Part of me wants that spontaneous thrill again I think grin

Christelle2207 Mon 02-Feb-15 10:05:27

Realistically I think the good places and the decent flight times will have been snapped up. I think pre-kids you can be a lot less fussy but when you have kids your requirements are much more particular. I think families book early for this reason. You could well get lucky but I think you need to be realistic and flexible. Now that we all have trip advisor people have so much more info available which means that the good places are booked up well in advance. There'll be a reason why a particular hotel/flight hasn't sold out at very short notice in peak season.

mummymeister Mon 02-Feb-15 10:10:58

if you want to be spontaneous with holidays then you have to accept that you will either a) pay over the odds or b) have to be completely flexible about where you go and what you stay in.

If you are any sort of fussy, forget it.

Mr Gove and his policy of no holidays in term time have well and truly put paid to the last minute August deals. people with kids are all now booking for these 6 weeks so more people chasing the holidays means prices are higher and places scarcer.

A travel agent once told me that the last minute deals are actually the holidays no one else wants and you have to ask yourselves why when booking.

sorry but we just wouldn't do this any more. If you want to risk it then go ahead but be prepared to either pay over the odds or stay on a building site. if you aren't, then book in advance because it is really what everyone else with kids is doing.

Christelle2207 Mon 02-Feb-15 10:51:18

Also i think partly due to tax increases etc the super cheap hols of the past, at least in peak times, really don't exist at all, discounted or not.
And when you think of taking "low cost" flights, the airlines charges you more and more the fuller the flight is. If there are any discounts to be had its for those that book 10months plus in advance not super late.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 02-Feb-15 12:14:00

Good points about the last minute holidays being the ones nobody has booked for whatever reason.

However I must say that the sort of holidays families often book way in advance are the ones that we'd want to avoid (AI, large resort with facilities like a couple of swimming pools, entertainment on-site, kids play areas, touristy attractions nearby etc).

We'd be happy with a S/C apartment or small villa in a small development without the all singing, all dancing extras. DP is happy to drive abroad so location can be quite flexible and, because I'm not working this summer and DP is self-employed we can be flexible over dates. Just hoping that these factors might be in our favour (although I realise I might be clutching at straws!)

We usually book our flights and accommodation independently (thanks to Skyscanner and Owners Direct or Home Away) so I'm not scared to trawl the internet and review sites if anyone can recommend any useful sites.

mummymeister Mon 02-Feb-15 15:36:36

Norbert sorry to disagree but it is most certainly not the families looking for AI, large resorts etc that book this far in advance. we book our holidays exactly the same way as you do and so do all of our friends and we book masses in advance or we take the hit of high prices. have a quick trawl through the rest of the travel section. you will see that the AI type holidays you describe are in the minority. the problem this year is that the Gove changes have come home to roost! Last year families blagged in term time holidays by showing they were booked in advance. this year theres no chance of doing this so everyone wants those 10 or 12 weeks if they have kids. Keep trawling but if you leave it late then be prepared for the stuff no one else wants (expensive AI are always available last minute) or to pay the premium. we booked our Canada holiday almost a year in advance and we had trouble finding return flights.

angle2014 Tue 03-Feb-15 07:51:35

last minute.com web is quit useful. you can get good deals some times.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 03-Feb-15 18:46:32

Thanks all.

I think we'll just have to see what happens nearer the time I guess.

Plan B is we've got somewhere to go in the UK (family) if we can't find anything . Maybe our flexibility can be to our advantage there and we can go when the weather forecast is good!

angle - I hadn't thought of Lastminute.com despite using them for occasional UK hotel bookings, d'oh!

Has anyone used Travel Zoo or Travel Republic?

Christelle2207 Tue 03-Feb-15 20:44:03

Travelzoo is good but you have to snap up the offers immediately.

revealall Tue 03-Feb-15 21:17:18

Travelzoo compile the best offers but ones that fall in school holidays are few and far between I've found.

If you can do the tunnel then it's pretty cheap to takes car abroad - the prices stayed low even last minute last summer.That gives you plenty of choices if all else fails.

Lots of discounts about ATM though. Can I ask why you aren't booking something now?

NorbertDentressangle Tue 03-Feb-15 21:38:01

We can't really book something now in case our original holiday plans still happen (bit long and complicated and I can't really go into it but it involves an issue with extended family and their situation. It's all out of our control so it's a case of sit and wait see).

revealall Tue 03-Feb-15 21:54:05

Ah ok. You need ( not horribly expensive) plan B.

I usually find something end of June/July. We normally do shorter breaks though and fly on whichever flight is cheapest rather than Saturday to Saturday. We have booked the tunnel 2 weeks before in August though and it was still cheap. But flights and ferries are really expensive once you get into August.

You can find unsold package deals with chartered planes although these are normally a bit grotty. But you can always use the flight bit and find a better resort or hotel?

NorbertDentressangle Mon 18-May-15 19:39:46

Reviving this thread....

I've come back to this thread as it looks as if our original summer plans are now not happening which was always a possibility, hence me starting the thread in the first place.

So, we find ourselves without anything planned or booked .....any information or advice about availability of last minute deals this year?

Millymollymama Mon 18-May-15 22:52:13

Last minute can be ok for a cruise where they need to fill up the ship. Flights get more expensive when there are less seats available so decent times and destinations tend to go. Ferry crossings might be ok but summer hols must be difficult. I would try deals from companies like the Family Adventure Company. Less obvious destinations might have availability. Eg South Africa, Peru etc

NorbertDentressangle Tue 19-May-15 08:33:24

Oh no, not a cruise I'm afraid as that would be my worst nightmare I think. I'd spend the week looking this colour ----> envy.

As we're only probably looking at 7/10 days I don't think it would do justice to the more exotic places like Peru (although I would love to go somewhere like that).

I think we're probably looking at the more common European destinations TBH.

mummymeister Tue 19-May-15 08:46:56

what is your budget and how many people Norbert? the definition of "last minute deal" is extremely variable smile so it would be helpful to know how much you want to spend. have seen some threads where its £400pp and others where it is a couple of thousand. does it have to be abroad?

NorbertDentressangle Tue 19-May-15 09:05:38

2 adults, 2 children (age 15 and 11)

Somewhere sunny (so yes, abroad), shorthaul, ideally near the coast (if not then with a pool), not a huge resort or "party" area so somewhere that's got a local feel about or interesting little towns nearby eg. we've been to Port De Pollensa in Majorca which was lovely but wouldn't want to be in somewhere like Magaluf!!

Budget - probably cheap and cheerful TBH as it's a 7-10 day getaway to the sun, to laze about, read books by the sea/pool, mooch along to local market/supermarkets/restaurants rather than looking for life-changing experiences IYSWIM smile.

Previously we've booked everything independently so have never really done the 'package deal' thing but it's too late and too stressful to try and match up availability of flights and accommodation now.

Babymamamama Tue 19-May-15 09:16:30

Last year few people I know used icelolly website to great effect. Eg Majorca bed and breakfast lovely hotel. Seemed to be much cheaper than what we paid to go to Turkey. Good luck.

Roseformeplease Tue 19-May-15 09:20:05

Try Cachet Travel. They are a good independent travel company (Greece and Turkey mostly) and do villa holidays and apartments. I often get really good deals at the last minute on my e-mail, because we have booked with them before.

Celeriacacaca Tue 19-May-15 09:32:32

Broadway Travel might be a good website to look at. Also, if you can leave your holiday until the very last week of the school hol's then you'll definitely pick up a cheap deal then as charter flights still flying but people not travelling so much and kids in Europe have already returned to school, so resorts less busy.

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