Getting A Last Minute Deal

Jason Ma, February 19, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q.  Are there REALLY any last minute deals for travel?   I have tried numerous sites and all of the costs are enormous. My wife and I were just looking for someplace warm for two days. Any suggestions would be appreciated. By the way do you always need to purchase at least 7 days in advance?

    A.  Other than the airlines' weekend fares, which typically only require a one day or no advance purchase(such as United's E-Fares or the Midwest fares in the blog), your best bet for last minute travel is the "Name Your Own Price" feature on Priceline.  In our experience, their last minute fares simply can't be beat. True, you won't know your exact departure and arrival times or the airline you'll be flying, and there might be a connection involved. But the savings are typically up to 60% off what you'd pay otherwise. If you can live with a little suspense and mystery, this is the way to go. We use it quite a bit, and just last May managed to book a last minute (as in, before bed, night before) weekend from NYC to San Fran for just $160 round-trip, taxes and all. Not bad!