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How to get a bargain: planning ahead or last minute holidays?

The short answer is: there are great deals to be had on holidays these days, whether you book a year ahead or leaveit  to the week before.

There are variations according to the time of year and whether you’re going for all-inclusive trips, but in general, the deals are there – you just have to find them. So let’s take a look at some of the main advantages to each approach…

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To plan or not to plan

So what is the big distinction between advanced-planned holidays and last-minute trips? For one thing, it’s psychological. A holiday planned months and months in advance is something you carefully strategise and savour: you have given yourself the time to choose just the right package or else selected à la carte, taking advantage of low hotel prices, creating the perfect combination of flight, accommodation and activities.

This kind of well-planned holiday is often associated with greater freedom of choice as regards destination: you can organise that two-week tour of Dominica or that bucket-list trip to Ayer’s Rock in Australia. It’s an opportunity to identify the real bargains, including finding valuable accommodation discounts in the low-season. There are some great hotel offers out there that can include treats like a 5 star hotel suite with ocean views priced at the level of a twin room in a standard hotel. The pre-planned holiday, so eagerly anticipated, can become the trip of a lifetime.

Last-minute treats

A last-minute trip, on the other hand, is exciting in a different way. By its nature it’s more spontaneous, maybe even a little daring, as you have basically decided to jump on the best deals available for this specific moment in time. It may be a package holiday that a company puts out there to fill seats and beds that need filling, so the bargain itself could be just as significant as a holiday scoped out a year in advance.

Or perhaps an airline has suddenly advertised an incredibly low airfare to a country you have always wanted to visit but haven’t had time to plan for. The price is so cheap that the car ride to the airport is more expensive than the flight overseas. You often get deals like this when you are open to a last-minute grab-a-holiday approach.

Bottom line

Money can be saved in the age of great package holidays, hotel discounts and cheap airfare, it just depends on whether you want to be spontaneous and enjoy being surprised or have full knowledge – well in advance – of the holiday awaiting you in the season to come.

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