Last Minute Travel
If you understand the general principles of economics, you can figure out how to beat the system and get a great last-minute deal on hotels and rental cars, and often on flights as well. It mostly boils down to the principle that an empty room, car, or airline seat is perishable. If unsold, it vanishes without making money. If it sells for less, then it earns something rather than sitting empty. When supply is higher than demand, the consumer wins. It’s all a game, but the winnings can be grand!
Using Priceline and Hotwire
If you live in the U.S. or Canada or are traveling in those countries, your best friends should be Priceline and Hotwire (banner links below). They routinely offer 25% to 50% off the lowest hotel room price you will find on any other web site. The rental car savings aren’t that dramatic, but they’re still worth checking out. Time and again, savvy bidders score amazing bargains from these two players, who are basically selling unsold inventory for hotels who don’t want to make it public that they have a load of empty rooms.
But you don’t want to just go in and bid blindly. You need to check out BiddingforTravel.com and BetterBidding.com. These two web sites, which are essentially message boards, give you the lowdown on what other people have bid–and what got accepted. The downside of these two programs is that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. Armed with the info on the latter two sites, however, you can usually narrow the possibilities down to two or three hotels at most.
If you are planning a vacation package, with both airfare and hotel in the price, you can often find a great deal through the last-minute travel sites. You can occasionally find decent package deals at Priceline, Hotwire, and even the traditional booking sites such as Travelocity. Also subscribe to the proper e-mail newsletters so you can just watch your inbox for specials.
If you like to go first class all the way, but don’t like paying retail, check outLuxuryLink for fixed-price deals and auctions on high-end hotels and vacations.
You can also find some great bargains on resort timeshares by checking out sites like SellMyTimeshareNOW.com which offer last minute timeshare rental deals for unfilled luxury resort units.