Traveling is always a pricey expenditure, but it becomes even more expensive when you need to hit the road at the last minute. The average traveler spends about 44 percent more than other ticket holders when they book a flight at the last minute, USA Today reports. That high price hike could take a $300 plane ticket to over $420.
Fortunately, you don’t have to accept these exorbitant last-minute prices. You can turn to a travel app instead – one that’s designed to score you the best possible deal. These apps can make the process of traveling unexpectedly less financially painful.
Here are the 5 best apps for last-minute travel deals.
1. GTFO (Get the Flight Out)
Simplistic in its design, the GTFO app packs a powerful savings punch for people who need to travel within the next 48 hours. GTFO is designed for impulse travelers seeking the best price on round-trip flights from the closest airports. Just open the GTFO app and you’ll see only available flights in the next 48 hours. Using data from a variety of travel sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hopper, GTFO allows you to select the best priced flight.
GTFO is free to use and offers a quick roundup of all destinations available whenever you need to travel ASAP. In a recent test, a round-trip flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Heathrow Airport in London was only $632. Online, other flights between these two airports leaving on the same day were selling for more than $2,100.
Fareness is an app and website that seeks to make airfare as inexpensive as possible. Conde Nast Traveler dubbed Fareness the “Best New Website for Airfare Searches” in 2015, and the app and website have continued growing ever since. Fareness boasts an average savings of 50-75 percent. During a recent test, we found round-trip tickets from Detroit to Miami listed at 78 percent off for people looking to travel five days in the future.
Fareness is free for all users. It focuses solely on airfare, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for a hotel room and rental car. If you have some flexibility with your departure date, Fareness makes it possible to get an even cheaper deal, but you can still search for low-priced flights leaving within the next couple of days.
3. Last Minute Travel
As the name of this app and website implies, Last Minute Travel provides discounts for people who want to travel within two weeks. It’s also possible to search future dates for flights and many other travel options.
Anyone can search via the Last Minute Travel site and app. However, if you want to get the best savings, you have to become a member of the Last Minute Travel Club, which costs $50 per year. Members of the Travel Club get up to 65 percent off hotels worldwide, meaning you can score savings on both last-minute travel and your accommodations. This is most useful for travelers who like to book into big chain hotels with little notice – and those who won’t mind paying a fee for lower prices.
Expedia has long been a favorite deal search site for travelers, and now the popular site has a robust app that helps travelers get the best deals on the go. Regardless of whether you want to leave tomorrow or next month, Expedia allows you to search rates from airlines, hotels, and rental car companies to make last-minute travel seamless and easy. Expedia typically provides discounts of approximately 20 percent, but it’s possible to save as much as 50 percent on some options.
Expedia accounts are free for all users. Want to make your search even easier? Choose one of the company’s travel bundles and book your flight and hotel together. Just be careful that you’re searching for specific dates in the near future – the Expedia search engine doesn’t always accurately find flights leaving within 24 hours.
5. Secret Escapes
This app and site boasts discounts of up to 70 percent for hotels and bundled travel packages. You can browse through a list of special discounts for popular destinations, and Secret Escapes discloses when the sale price will end. Membership is free and is required before you can look at the app’s discounted offerings. Visitors have anywhere from one day to two weeks to take advantage of these last-minute, limited time deals.
Secret Escapes offers big discounts, but you generally need to buy a package to get the best deals. Because upscale hotels are typically included in travel packages, you usually won’t be able to see exactly what hotel you’ve selected before you book.
Don’t Forget to Compare Prices
These apps are working hard to make last-minute travel both easy and affordable. However, don’t forget to continue searching and comparing. You might find different prices on different apps – and you don’t want to miss out on an even cheaper vacation.
To get the best possible price, make sure you check multiple apps before committing to a ticket purchase. At the same time, it’s vital to complete your comparison shopping quickly so you don’t miss out on a great deal.