Are you hoping to get back into your jetsetting ways but worried about booking hotels and flights too far into the future? It’s likely you’ll want to find the best last minute hotel deals, cheap upcoming flights and other tricks to get a value-for-money holiday while you know it’s safe to do so. And fortunately for travellers, there are plenty of these to go around.
Be sure to check local government advice as well as travel advice for the destination you’ll be visiting. Travel restrictions may be put in place without notice.
Price Alerts for hotels and flights
Forget about checking websites day after day, to make sure prices for the holiday you want haven’t gone up. Set up Price Alerts, and we’ll notify you whenever the price of a flight or hotel changes.
Whether it be flights or hotels you’re after, if you’ve searched for a city and the dates you want, just press the ‘Get Price Alerts’ icon and you’ll be prompted for a mode of delivery — email, or phone alerts.
Then, when hotel prices change, you’ll be notified by message, email or push notification so that you can immediately take advantage of the change in costs. This is one of the best ways to score a deal on a last minute getaway.
Find the cheapest time to book
Save money and hassle by knowing exactly the right time to book flights or accommodation.
In the past, our research has shown that the best time to book international holidays is 22 weeks in advance, and the best time to book domestic holidays is 21 weeks before you intend to travel. This can make it a challenge for travellers who love last minute getaways.
The message is clear — if you want a cheap holiday, you should book ahead. Hotels and flights both tend to get more expensive the closer you get to your intended holiday dates.
Avoid peak times
Hotel prices can change from season to season and day to day. If you have freedom over when you can travel, it’s advantageous to avoid busy periods.
Weekdays are cheaper than weekends. School holidays and major events lead to a surge on hotels, which means prices go up. Popular holiday seasons — like summertime — are also more expensive than travelling off-season.
There are other benefits to travelling at less popular times. Attractions have smaller queues, restaurants have more deals and flights tend to be cheaper too.
When you search a destination, you’re able to see prices the ‘Cheapest month’ – this is usually a time when hotel prices will be low, too.
The cheapest month to book
Finding the cheapest time to book may be easier than you think. On the Skyscanner homepage or app, enter your starting and arrival airports then, in the departure date box, change the ‘specific date’ search to ‘Whole month’. You can even view the ‘Cheapest month’ this way.
If you know you have to fly in a specific month, you can search for every day in that month to fly.
However, if your schedule is a bit more open, choosing to search by ‘cheapest month’ will show you which month of the year currently has the best deals.
This is true for both flights and hotels. You’ll be able to switch between the two, and you’ll get a short summary at the top of the best deals based on one adult flying or two adults sharing a hotel room (per night).
On the calendar view, these are colour coded like traffic lights, with green the cheapest days, yellow the moderate days and red the most expensive time to holiday.
For flights, you can also switch between a calendar view and a graph view depending on how you like data represented.
Using these tools together can help you book a spontaneous holiday with confidence. Whether the missing piece is last minute hotel deals, cheap ways to fly or something else, Skyscanner is here to help you explore Australia and, later on, the world.
Discover where you can travel from Australia
Are you making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global travel restrictions map. Sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Frequently asked questions about finding last minute flights
Often, you will find that hotels drop prices as check-in dates approach as they’re desperate to fill up rooms and it’s better to have someone paying a discounted rate than having an empty room. However, this can be risky at times and you may find that you’re unable to get a room at an affordable rate.
If you have flexibility with your travel dates, it’s best to avoid booking a hotel during busy periods. This means avoiding weekends, school holidays, major events and peak seasons.
Getting good last minute hotel deals can be a game of chance. In some instances, hotels will drop prices closer to the date when they have space or have had cancellations. However, in peak times, this can also be the worst time to snag a bargain.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus Travel Advice: Discover the latest COVID-19 travel information.
- Flight Price Alerts: How to find the best flight deals: With our handy Price Alerts tool you can snap up the cheapest flights and hotels available without having to check back every day.
- The new world of hotels: What your hotel stay will be like during coronavirus: The future of hotel stays after the Coronavirus outbreak and what new measures are there in place to keep guests safe.
- The 11 best beach hotels in Australia: Make the most of Australia’s best beaches.