Last-minute travel

I had a call recently. 

It went sort of like this.  

“Hi, I want to find a really good last-minute deal to somewhere warm. It has to leave either Saturday or Sunday, be a direct non-stop flight, and by the way, I can’t go anywhere thru the United States”.

Okay, this person is not the definition of the ‘Last-Minute Traveller’. The true last-minute vacation has no restrictive parameters. Ideally you can travel anytime, anywhere, and any way possible. The minute you place restrictions on your choices, I recommend you plan in advance, and take advantage of early booking pricing.

Examples of restrictions would be:

I can only travel the first week of Spring Break.

I only want to go to Hawaii.

We are a large family group originating from three different cities.

I haven’t got my passport yet.

The value of a last-minute vacation is also somewhat suspect:

It will never be at a luxury resort such as Atlantis or Sandals.

You’ll come back to a large credit card bill.

You will have limited availability of destinations and/or accommodations.

Your flight choices will likely be red-eye, or even require overnight stays enroute to destinations.

If you wait until the last minute to book something out of Vancouver or Calgary, you’ll find that any savings gained will be lost with the high cost of last minute flights out of Kelowna.

If you drive (and who wants to drive the Coquihalla in January?), where do you park, and how much are the overnight hotels at the airport going to cost?

The reality is this: 

The best pricing for winter travel on the charters out of Kelowna generally occurs before the end of October. This is because the tour operators are benefitting from early booking bonuses.

As of November 1, you’ll usually see the prices go up, then you have to wait until two or three weeks prior to your preferred departure date, only to see it go back down to the price it was in October. 

So if you know where/when you want to go, and what resort you prefer, book early. The majority of suppliers offer a price drop guarantee anyway.  

If you can’t book far in advance:

I’ll give you some advice. The best pricing for winter vacations is anytime in November thru to returns prior to Christmas day. The next best is the first three weeks of January, due to the higher than average post-Christmas debt load.

Two week vacations rarely go on sale. It’s the one week getaways that you constantly see offered, and usually at the hotels which the tour operator offers on an exclusive basis, or has the largest number of rooms.

Keep in mind as well that Air Canada Vacations offers extremely low priced add-on flights from Kelowna to their hubs in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto in order to connect to a much larger variety of destinations than those offered direct out of Kelowna. Again however, advance booking is required to facilitate the connectors.  

In the end, it’s up to the individual to define what value is to them. It is your time and energy versus perceived savings.

More The Joy of Travel articles

About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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