Have you ever been guilty of travel snobbery? Peering down from your lofty backpacker perch onto the seething mass of sightseers and thinking “I’ll never be like them…” Of course there are certain touristy tropes that it is worth ruling out on principal – poking sea turtles from glass bottomed boats and creating demand for 700 room concrete beachside hotels isn’t exactly progressive.
But if you automatically dismiss options like package holiday flights, organised tours or last minute cruises, you run the risk of missing cheap ways to get where you’re going. If you need to get from a to b and you can do it cheaper by spending a few days on a boat than going by air, why not? You don’t have to go and watch the light entertainers (although we reckon you should poke your nose in, just so you can say for certain that you don’t like it – instead of dismissing it on principal).
Last minute savings
The last minute travel phenomenon has been around long enough for everyone to know about it – not every “last minute” deal necessarily gives value for money. But the basic reason for it remains unchanged; operators charter whole planes, boats or buses and then sell seats on them. Say the departure date is looming and any seats or berths remain unsold – as time goes on the chance that these will sell for full price gets lower and lower. The operator would rather get some money for them than none at all (and probably marked them up a fair whack to begin with anyway). So genuine last minute discounts are real – but you really do need to be up for making your .
Poised for action
There are two ways of going about this. One is to say “I have x budget. What choices do I have at this time?”. The other is to decide where you want to go, then wait until a good opportunity arises, decide whether or not you think it’s good value, and pounce.
The first option is better if you’re fed up with (or can’t afford to stay) where you are now, or your visa is about to run out and you don’t have the luxury of time to wait for a good deal to pop up in a specific direction. The latter is better if you are travelling in a fixed direction, but you need to get into the habit of cruising the deal sights now, for 30 minutes each day, because it might be a couple of weeks before something useful pops up.
Get ready to run for it
If you’ve been travelling around the world you should by now have got the hang of packing light, and it shouldn’t take you long to pack up and leave. But if you’re that brand of human who somehow manages to spread their possessions everywhere and always leaves things behind if you’re not careful, it’s worth getting your things together in one place so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. You don’t need to say your goodbyes just yet, but you can tell people you’re thinking about leaving when the chance arises, just so your leaving doesn’t seem too abrupt.