I like to think I am an organised soul; I’m never late, I plan my weeks religiously according to wonderfully colour-coded and systematic spreadsheets, and I certainly never run out of milk. That said, there are some aspects of my life I’ve been known to leave to chance, like how exactly I might get home from the pub after one to many wines or the most basic of preparation for important interviews of any kind, but most notably – travel plans! My family often say I “wing things”, or that things “fall into my lap”, but I prefer to think of it as taking things in my stride. My solo trip to Hong Kong smacked of ill-planning where booking a trip on a whim, hopping on a plane and seeing where the road went was about as far as my preparation went. And whilst spontaneity will more than likely eventually be the death of us all, I am a firm believer that whilst there are some things you just can’t plan for, there are others that you just shouldn’t! Biting the bullet and booking a last-minute trip is the best move you’ll make all year. Not convinced? Read on…
Save, Save, Save!
If, like me, you’re one of those students avoiding the real world, then leaving things until the last minute is an inherent quality. Couple this with a frugal and budget-savvy lifestyle and you’ve got yourself the ultimate candidate for a last-minute holiday. But let’s face it, who doesn’t want to save money? So, this of course translates to the real world too as the number one reason why people go in search of holiday gems at the last minute. It’s been shown that you can literally half the price of your spend if you’re willing to be patient and not wince in the face of compromise.
It’s All About Timing…
Last minute shouldn’t be taken literally. In fact, the experts out there say that booking anywhere between 8-10 weeks in advance is when the real deals start to flood in, especially if you’re looking for a package holiday. The reason being simple; those in charge of buying up the rooms and filling up the planes have already laid their cash out and will be feeling keen at this point to ensure they don’t make a loss. If you’re not too fussy and have less specifics to worry about – like exactly which of the ‘London’ airports that aren’t actually positioned anywhere near London that you’ll be flying out of – then aim to make your booking with just seven days to go. You’ll need nerves of steel, but if you don’t have ties such as kids, school holidays, pet iguanas etc. etc. this is the option for you.
If a package holiday doesn’t get you reaching for the passport and you’d rather head down the DIY route, there are still pounds to be saved. Legend has it that the cheapest flights leave on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but of course it’s always a good idea to tune your favourite comparison site to let you know when to snap up a deal as prices fluctuate massively.
You’ll Discover New Places
Some people become set in their ways when it comes to travel, checking off a mental list of what they do and don’t like as they tirelessly trawl through the pages upon pages of possibilities. When you become restricted to your chosen dates, that doesn’t necessarily mean less options. It means more opportunities; opportunities to visit new places that you’d have never thought of or come across in your research when sticking to the status quo. For example, if you’re usually somebody who opts for sun and sea year-on-year, you might find that taking a punt on a last-minute city break or hiking holiday among the great outdoors is right up your street. So don’t feel squeezed by your dates – embrace the possibilities they might bring and hit the search field running with open mindedness.
Peace and Quiet
If you’re willing to travel last minute, that probably means you’re also winning to travel off-peak too. And of course, travelling off peak will not only save you dough, but will also make for an all-round more pleasant experience as hotel numbers verge on dwindling, leading to more TLC time from the staff alongside moments of great revelry as you swoop straight in to the breakfast buffet without needing to queue (priorities). Not only that, but getting around becomes a much more appealing experience as those iconic landmarks become stripped of the swarms of tourists that usually frequent them, and public transport becomes a breeze. The last two weeks of summer are a fantastic time to travel as the kids head back to the classrooms, sunburnt mum and dad in tow, ready to tuck the beach towels away for another year.
Okay, So Some Planning is Allowed
I’m not saying you need to be able to drop everything and race down to the local airport at the drop of the hat, because for the majority of people that’s just not possible. However, pinpointing and fully committing to some dates in the diary ahead of time – leaving a day or two either side for good measure – will serve you incredibly well on your quest and provide a starting point, and probably go down well with your employers.
It’s Less Stressful and Way More Thrilling
Whilst some may find the idea of the unknown a stressful affair, to others it’s the ultimate way to eliminate worry. You’ve booked the time off, you know you’re going, and there’s no time to let the stress and anticipation often associated with travel to build up. If, however, you ask me – leaving things until last minute has a certain thrill to it. There’s an air of mystery and a sense of excitement that comes with the knowledge that you’ve got the whole world at your feet and you really could get on a plane and end up anywhere. The prospect of travelling to new places without a clue what I’m doing, where I’m going or how to speak the language continues to fill me with excitement, and I hope that never changes! If it does, I guess that’s when I’ll hang up my backpack for good.