Sometimes waiting until the last minute to settle your travel plans can work out for the better.
Sign Up For An Airfare Alert
Vacation promotions abound in the summer, but you have to be ready to jump at a moment's notice. Be prepared with the right resources at your fingertips. Your first move? Type in your origin and destination at airfarewatchdog.com and a team of experts will sort through fares from online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Orbitz and Travelocity, as well as from airlines currently not included on OTAs (like Southwest Airlines), and then they'll e-mail you when they find a great deal. The experts also search airlines' own websites for exclusive sales, which OTAs don't pull in.
Timing Tip: Some fare sales expire in a matter of hours, so it's wise to act quickly.
Bookmark Last-Minute Deal Sites
Hotels and airlines often are eager to fill unsold beds and seats at the 11th hour, and they slash prices to get your business. Expedia's last-minute deals (expedia.com/last-minute) include bargain flights, hotels, cruises and flight-hotel packages in your area for deeply discounted trips departing "tonight, this weekend and next weekend." If you believe you'll usually have more notice, bookmark the deals pages at Expedia (expedia.com/deals), Orbitz (orbitz.com/deals) and Travelocity (travelocity.com/deals) to see a broader range of options.
Timing Tip: Plan to depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday, at least one way. According to farecompare.com, those are the cheapest days to fly; on average, tickets are about 35 percent cheaper than on Fridays and Sundays, the priciest days.