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10 Expert-Approved Hacks to Score the Best Last-Minute Travel Deals

by Julianne Suazo

Spur-of-the moment getaways aren’t necessarily a bad idea. Sometimes you just have to quench a sudden thirst for travel, even if it means planning a trip last-minute.

Need to make the most of your planning in the least amount of time? Challenge accepted! With several seat sales and flight promos popping up almost every month, it’s hard to resist a spontaneous trip out of here. In order to master the art of last-minute travel deals, I’ve enlisted the help of these three travel experts to make sure you never miss a cheap fare again.

Catherine Mabini of Airscape Travels Inc.

Janelle Marie del Puerto of Highflyers International Travel and Tours

Jeng Rigor from Pan Pacific Travel Corporation

If there’s anything I’ve learned from years of traveling with family and friends, it’s that travel agents are experts for a reason. They know their stuff—from the golden hour of cheap flights to when the worth-it travel expos are. Take a look at some of the best-kept secrets of our travel specialists:

1. Travel apps and airline newsletters are your new best friends

I know that getting those constant phone notifications and weekly newsletters can sometimes be too easy to ignore but trust me, you’ll start looking forward to them when you’re hoping to find the best fare possible. With the rapid pace of technology working to make life easier, sometimes all it takes to score the cheapest flight is a click of a button. Don’t miss out on important announcements such as flash seat sales and limited promos!

2. Keep a copy of your passport details (and your travel buddies’) on your phone

INSTAGRAM: lanelanolin

A few of my friends have developed the habit of booking when they’re out, whether they’re having lunch at a restaurant or working out at the gym, not wanting to miss even a second of a good travel sale. They keep their passport details on their phone and that of their families or friends so they can easily book for their group. Don’t waste precious time by struggling to contact each and every travel buddy for their passport details. Store all that info, stat!

3. Have your credit card ready

Always double check with your bank about your credit limit and have it with you at all times. There is no set time for seat sales, so preparation is key. After all, is there any sweeter purchase than a vacation?

4. Sign up for travel rewards and incentive programs

INSTAGRAM: cheryl_bristow

Collect miles and take advantage of the rewards after. It might take some time until you see all those full-priced flights give you something back, but it’ll be well worth it especially for frequent travelers.

5. Memorize your target travel dates (and your backup ones)

Last-minute deals are best for flexible dates. Even if you’ve already set a target travel date for you and your travel buddies, it doesn’t hurt to experiment with close and nearby dates to check the cheapest deal you can score. Tip: have at least 3 backup travel dates. If moving your trip a few days back saves you a whole lot, then who can say no?

6. Stay alert during the golden hour for flights

INSTAGRAM: hrzn_bl

A little bird once told me that the perfect time to look for flights is at 2:00 AM and I sought out the help of these experts to confirm whether or not I’ve been throwing away hours of sleep for nothing. Specialists say this is both true and false. In a way, the wee hours of the day are when promo fares usually come alive, but it lasts all the way until 12:00 NN for most airline websites.

7. Observe airline sale dates

Different airlines have different travel sale periods. If you find yourself leaning towards a particular airline for your flights, then you should try observing when they usually hold their seat sales. Some airlines always go on sale on or before paydays (15th or 30th of the month) so make sure to put up that bi-monthly reminder to check.

8. Pay a visit to big travel expos

INSTAGRAM: ohmhaegosh

The biggest travel expos in Manila usually take place during February, July and October. Several travel agencies and airlines worldwide have special flight promos that are only ever available during the expo, so going out of your way could definitely pay off.

9. Watch out for hidden charges

Remember that the flight price you first see may not be the same when you check out. As much as seat sales and limited promos may cause you to panic, you wouldn’t want to find out that your newly purchased ticket isn’t actually a steal after all. Hidden charges usually come after you click ‘book’ so make sure you’re not losing out by double or triple checking.

10. If all else fails, score deals with your hotels, tours, and transport instead

INSTAGRAM: wandertwinstravel

I’ve learned that as much as we want to take advantage of holidays, it’s definitely difficult to score a sale price during peak season because a bulk of airlines have their travel sales when it’s lean season instead. The good news is that flights aren’t the only things you can score deals on for your travel adventures—you can always find deals and discounts for your accommodations, itinerary, and transportation instead. Start right here, where you can get great deals at the best price!

Got any more last-minute travel tips? Share them with us in the comments!

Check out our Travel Guides for inspo on where to go, what to do, and how to make the most of your stay.

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About Julianne
When she's not doing PR work, Juli spends most of her days trying out skincare trends and watching dramas with coffee in hand. She has written for MEGA Magazine, Philippine Star Supreme, Candy Magazine, and The Neighborhood.

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