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5 reasons to scoop up that last-minute travel deal


Get in those annual leave requests, stat.

COVID-19 and travel: As of March 17, the Australian government is advising all Australians: "Do not travel overseas at this time. If you wish to return home, do so as soon as possible." Please check the status of your travel destination on the official Australian government Smartraveller site before booking. Within Australia, some state governments are also urging against non-essential interstate travel.

Those final few days leading up to a holiday are the longest days, and cutting back on how many of them you have can save a lot more than just your patience. From saving money to saving your sanity, here's why you shouldn't necessarily book your trip months in advance.

This guide is presented by humm, travel now, pay later. Book your accomodation, flights or deals up to $5000 at 10 Travlr and you can opt to pay in slices up to 6 months. Fees, terms and lending criteria apply. Australian residents only. Learn more.

1. You can save so much money.

Whether flights, ships or tour buses are half-full or packed to the rafters, the departure is probably going to happen anyway. To entice travellers to fill up the remaining spaces, companies will discount remaining tickets in hopes of getting as close to capacity as possible. And these savings are nothing to sneeze at.

For example, if you book a last-minute Contiki tour you can save up to 25%. Book with TopDeck and you can save up to 30%. This can easily translate to $1,000 or more depending on the tour type and length you're booking.

And it's not just flights. Most online tour, holiday and cruise booking sites have a last-minute deals section and shopping here can cut your costs in half – or even more.

Based on data from our flights partner, Skyscanner, we've found that flights from Australian airports to most destinations around the world are most affordable within seven weeks of departure.

2. The FOMO is real.

That flight will take off without you on it. The sun will rise over the mountains without you watching it. Those waves will crash on the beach without you splashing in them. A gondola will get to the top of that ski lift without you ready to schuss down that slope.

And, worst of all, someone else will scoop up that low price.

It's not just the trip that you'll fear missing out on, but the deal of a lifetime too.

We're talking about all those newsworthy free return flight deals to Japan, $99 fares to Indonesian islands and weekly flash sales where if you blink, you might just miss them.

Track all the best travel deals to ensure you'll never miss out on a bargain holiday again.

Couple riding motorbike with sidecar in Italy

3. You'll know what type of holiday you're in the mood for.

What happens when you book a table at a Greek restaurant a month in advance for your birthday, but by the time the big day comes around you're itching for Italian? You cancel and re-book.

Unfortunately, travel doesn't always work that way, so why book a trip months in advance when you're not sure what you'll actually feel like doing by the time it comes around?

Say you booked a beach break at a secluded island resort over New Year's when you were stressed six months earlier during end of financial year wrap-ups... but when December comes around all that's on your mind is letting loose at a party while fireworks soar into the sky when the clock strikes midnight.

If you'd booked last minute, you'd be ringing in the New Year just as you'd like to be.

4. You leave room for spontaneity, not extra costs.

Whether you've fallen in love with a destination and can't bear to leave, have made new friends and want to travel together or have simply changed your mind, any last-minute alterations to your trip can cost an arm and a leg.

If you need to change the date on your Qantas or Jetstar flight, you'll find yourself paying up to $77. Booked with Virgin? You're looking at up to $90.

And those fees don't include the difference in fare you'll be expected to fork out.

Pre-paying for accommodation usually gets you the best price, but pre-paid bookings are usually non-refundable. Cancelling a hotel booking can mean losing hundreds – or more.

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5. You can worry about paying for it later.

Found a once-in-a-lifetime offer but your next payday is still a few weeks away? *shakes fist at monthly pay cheques*

Some tour companies and also buy-now, pay-later platforms let you take up to a year to actually pay for your holiday.

Yes, you may be charged interest or need to lock in your booking with a small deposit or one-off fee to use the scheme, but if you're able to get a deal saving you 30%, 40% or 50% on the regular tour price, this may be worth it compared to the price of booking at another time.

Disclaimer: This is general advice only. Consider the product information (including its terms and conditions) and your own circumstances before you make any decision about the topics or products discussed. Compare your options and get advice if you are uncertain. Hive Empire Pty Ltd ACL 385509; CAR 432664.

Pictures: Getty Images

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