Don’t have plans for the upcoming long weekend? It’s not too late to make some! If you’ve procrastinated to the max but still need a chance to relax, here’s how you can get cheap last-minute flights and travel deals.
The best weekend getaways involve just a few elements: flights, accommodation, food and things to do. We’ll help you plan the perfect weekend getaway—AND get last minute travel deals—with these simple tips.
How to Find Last-Minute Flight Deals
The first thing to find with any last minute weekend getaway is your flights. Of course, if you can book your flights in advance, it’ll almost certainly save you some cash. However, if you need a last minute flight, we can help. Here’s how we find last minute travel deals:
- Download flight booking apps to your phone, so you can search and book flights at a moment’s notice. You can download the StudentUniverse app or the Flyaway app (if you’re not a student). Plus, if you have the app, you can easily get notified when the price changes. Which brings us to our next tip:
- Sign up for price alert notifications. Search for the itinerary you want and turn on price drop notifications. We’ll alert you when the prices drop so you can find the best deals without having to constantly search for them.
- Take a red-eye flight. Red-eye flights (aka overnight flights) are often cheaper than flights during the day. You can often find cheaper last minute flights if they’re at an inconvenient time!
- Fly on a budget airline. You don’t have to fly on a budget airline to find last minute flight deals, but it can help! Check out airlines like Spirit, Frontier and Jetblue if you need a cheap last minute flight. (Pro tip: you can search dozens of airlines and itineraries at the same time on StudentUniverse.)
- Use a promo code. We have last minute travel deals and sales often, so if you need a last minute flight, check our promo codes before buying! You can save up to $30 more off your flight during our last minute sales.
Looking for a rental car instead? We’ve got great deals on last minute car rentals. The easiest way to find last minute rental car deals is to compare a variety of rental car sites and options before booking. Luckily for you, you can compare hundreds of car rentals with StudentUniverse, and find the cheapest and best option for you with one search.
How to Find Last-Minute Hotel Deals
Once you’ve gotten a cheap last-minute flight, you’ll need somewhere to sleep—and the easiest way to find a place to stay last-minute is to look for a last-minute hotel deal. You can find last minute hotels using a last minute hotel app or using the StudentUniverse app to search for hotels on-the-go. Not sure how to find the cheapest hotels? Check out our advice and travel hacks for how to find cheap hotels.
Pro-tip: if you’re searching for hotels last-minute, it helps to search for hotels outside of the main downtown or city center. Hotels in the city center will always be most expensive. Plus, downtown hotels are often booked last-minute by business travelers (who aren’t on a budget). Hotels know this and will price last-minute rooms accordingly. However, hotels a bit further away from the main downtown area will often have last-minute rooms on sale.
If you’re looking for a cheap spot to crash, hostels are also often a good option. This is especially true if you’re traveling through Europe, South America or Southeast Asia—you’ll find tons of unique, quirky, clean hostels that cater to backpackers and young travelers on a budget. Besides making new friends, you can score a super cheap stay and there’s often last-minute availability. Never stayed in a hostel before? Here’s what you should know.
How to find things to do for a weekend getaway
Planning last minute travel can be stressful, but finding time to spontaneously get away for a weekend and enjoy a new place definitely makes it worth it! If you’re on a budget, you can find free things to do in almost any city, whether in the US or abroad. Here’s how to find things to do when planning last minute vacations:
- Look for city event calendars. Googling “[city] event calendar” can bring up tons of free or cheap events, festivals, concerts and more happening around your destination. This is a great way to find cool things to do and explore, or join in some local celebrations.
- Check out little-known free things to do and hidden gems in your destination on our blog. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Try googling “free things to do [destination]” and see what you can find!
- Spend time exploring without a plan. Sometimes last-minute adventures are more fun without too much planning! Wander through the city center and see what you can discover—any city will have plenty of hidden gems to explore. Grab takeout from a local restaurant and head to a city park for a picnic, or find a nearby lake or waterfront to walk or bike down.
- When all else fails, ask a local! Staying at a hotel? Ask one of the front desk staff for recommendations on places to eat or things to see. Grabbing coffee from a local coffee shop in the morning? Ask the barista what their favorite thing to do in town is.
Is it possible to get cheap last minute flights?
Cheap last minute flights can be tough to find, but it’s possible to find great last minute travel deals! Check our promo codes to see if there’s a last minute deal to save on your flights. Or use the flexible search feature to find cheaper flights within a few days of your intended departure date, if you have some flexibility. With StudentUniverse, you can find last minute flights up to 30% off for students and youth.
How to book a last-minute flight ticket?
Booking a last minute plane ticket is easy—just search for the itinerary you need on StudentUniverse and book, and your confirmation will be in your email within minutes. From there, you can check in online or head directly to the airport to check in. Just be sure to buy your tickets at least 4 hours before the flight departure time.
Do flights go down in price at the last-minute?
Flight prices will almost never be at their very cheapest right before a flight. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find great last minute travel deals! Flight prices tend to go up in price as the departure date approaches, but then often drop in price around 14 days prior to departure. With StudentUniverse, you can get cheap last minute flight deals and save with student and youth discounts on flights departing within the next two weeks.
So where are you off to next? You don’t have to go far—a weekend trip might be just what you need to recharge. We’ve got the last minute flight deals you need to make it possible!