Best Websites and Apps for Planning Last-Minute Trips
The best case scenario is you always have plenty of time to plan a trip far ahead of time. This ensures you get the best deals on flights, food, tours, hotels, etc. But what happens if you suddenly need to travel somewhere for work or a family emergency? Does that mean you’re stuck paying far more for everything you do, just because you didn’t book far in advance?
You can’t let that happen when there are still amazing, last-minute deals to be had. You just have to know where to find them. This list of the best deal-finding sites can help you book your last-minute trip to anywhere via the perfect combination of deals and perks.
If you’re booking a trip for international adventure, Vayama is a fantastic place to find those last-minute flights right on the homepage. You don’t have to click through to a hundred different subpages and links to find the current and upcoming deals.
Looking for discounted flights? Then CheapOair is your ticket to the best airline deals. Click on the "Last Minute Flights" tab to find the cheapest rates on the site, which usually are way cheaper than the other guy, especially when it comes to last-minute flights.
If you’re looking for price estimates for flights, then your best bet is doing a quick Google search to check out the Google Flights finds. According to many users and media outlets, including CNET, Google Flights has the best, cheapest, up-to-date flights compared to many of the more popular and well-known sites and competitors.
Rome2Rio is kind of the perfect airfare and transit app for finding all the cheapest, best ways to get from Point A to Point B. You plug in the locations you’re traveling to and from, and within a minute or two, the site pulls up all the different ways to get there.
TravelZoo is an amazing website and app combo that gives you incredible deals for last-minute travel on tons of things, not just the standard travel fares. You can find great packages, hotel rooms, cruises, flights, tours, restaurants, spas and other amazing activities at the destination of your choice.
Airfare Watchdog is fantastic for finding savings on last-minute travel in more ways than the usual sites offer. First, the website lists all the last-minute deals from your local airport — or whichever airport you set as the default. That means you can find all the cheap deals related to your location and keep an eye on them more easily.
This app for Android or iOS is stylishly modeled after the Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris. It basically turns your device display into an arrivals and departures board so you can keep track of flights. It has information from more than 3,000 airports and updates that information every 5 minutes.
Groupon is the perfect app and website to find fantastic last-minute deals for things you want to do at night in a new city. If you have ever used it at home, you already know you can find everything from a dentist’s office for a sore tooth to a beautiful restaurant, fun shopping spree and tickets to a great show.
If you’re in need of help planning an entire vacation at the last minute, this is the app for you. Not only does it offer great deals, but you can do all the planning in one place. You don’t have to hop around from site to site, just to find what you need.
This amazing app lets you do just about anything in a single place as well. You can reserve hotels for same-night accommodations, book complete packages for last-minute trips and find tons of other deals for your vacation. The credit card scanning feature allows you to auto-fill your details for even faster, hassle-free bookings.
This is one of the best apps to use when you just need to get out of town — for any reason or no reason at all. To use it, you have to type in your home airport and the destination desired. The site will then present you with round-trip flights for the next two months.
If you’ve got a specific destination in mind, but you can be a little flexible on the exact dates you fly, Hopper offers a fabulous way to track possible inexpensive flights from the present to six months away. The app crunches the data to decide when you should book the flights to get the best price.
GTFO! (Get the Flight Out)
If you need a flight like now, then GTFO! (Get the Flight Out!) is one of the best places to look to find your deals. The tracker comes from Hopper and incorporates an inventory from major airlines and low-cost carriers alike, all with the best possible prices for last-minute flights.
This Android or iOS app is your go-to last-minute "travel book" for the phone. You don’t have to pay a ton for it, nor do you have to tote around those old travel books that heavily weighed down your suitcase. Instead, the app just costs a couple of dollars, and the guides are updated for popular destinations each year.
If you’re planning a last-minute trip but don’t want to crash at some youth hostel or budget motel to save money, then you’ll love SecretEscapes.com. This site helps you find last-minute deals on upscale hotels, often for as much as 70% off published rates for hot spots around the world.
Want to take a cruise, but you didn’t book in time to find a decent deal? Well, that’s the kind of problem iCruise is made to handle. With this app, you can usually find a decent deal for cruises on all kinds of ships going all kinds of places for way less than you would ever imagine, especially for short-notice trips.
Of course, last-minute travel planning isn’t just about the flights. Getting the right hotel room at a reasonable rate can be pretty challenging as well. That’s where LateRooms comes in to save the day — or the night, to be exact. The app is available on Google Play and iTunes, and it allows you to find rooms anywhere in the world.
This booking app allows you to book hotels up to a week in advance. You can also book up to 100 days in advance for long-term stays of 14 nights, but it is definitely geared toward those last-minute finds for travelers. If you have dreamed of staying in a particular hotel, use the app to find the best deals on stays there.
Here’s another hotel booking app that you might find super handy, especially if you’re really shopping at the last minute. One:Night lists same-day deals starting at 3 p.m. for hotels that simply haven’t booked up their rooms yet. That means you can find much better rates than pretty much anywhere else for the same stay.
You have probably heard of Cruise.com before, especially if you’ve ever considered taking a cruise. Sometimes, their deals are just so-so, but if you look at the "Last-Minute Cruises" section — found under "Cruise Deals" — you will find a lot of discounted sailings, including extremely popular options like a 4-day Caribbean cruise for less than $300 a person.
This site does have a $50 membership fee, but if you travel at least once or twice a year, you make much more than your money back, thanks to the huge discounts you receive through the site. You can book flights, cruises, vacation homes, hotels, rentals and trip packages, all for up to 65% off.
Spotted by Locals
North America, Europe and the Middle East have more than 76 cities in the Spotted by Locals app, which offers you amazing city guides similar to those you would find on Lonely Planet. However, each of these guides is based on tips entirely supplied by locals, not travel writers who just sometimes visit the city.
If you’re looking to head to the Caribbean or perhaps even Mexico’s Riviera, be sure to check into CheapCaribbean.com. It offers tons of deals on last-minute vacation packages, airfare, resort deals and more.
Another cruise site where you can find amazing spur-of-the-moment deals is CruiseCompete.com. It provides tons of quotes from multiple travel agencies offering amazing last-minute deals. Specifically, check into the "Super Cruise Specials" section.
Available on Blackberry, iOS, Windows and Android for free, TripIt is a fantastic app for keeping all your travel planning details organized coherently. Your last-minute plans will be way less stressful using this one — seriously, it’s all-in-one — app that lets you store all the info from your TripIt emails in organized electronic itineraries.
Where is one of those apps that you’ll need more than you ever thought possible. It’s an app that helps you find local hot spots when you’re in a new area or even at home. Where uses your built-in GPS to find your location and navigates from there.
If you’re headed to Europe, Asia or North America on your next trip, you will want to check into Citymapper to find cheap transit on the ground while you’re visiting. The app doesn’t provide information for every city yet, but it does include a large number of the most popular destinations for travelers, including Paris, Brussels and Chicago.
Gate 1 Travel
If you’re looking to find last-minute vacation packages, then Gate 1 Travel is a website you need to explore. The options on the site include a wide range of adventures and outings, airfare deals, resort discounts, accommodation sales and more. You may have to do a little scrolling to find the best options, but it’s worth it.
Of course, we do have to also speak about some of the better known sites that sometimes offer amazing travel deals for the last-minute planners out there. Expedia is one of the longtime sites that has been saving tourists money on all kinds of travel items for years.
Priceline.com is another commonly known travel booking and planning site. Thanks to all the famous people who have advertised for them, almost everyone knows all about Priceline. But it’s not just about hotels and flights anymore. In fact, the site is a great place to find cruises and rental cars as well.