Are Last Minute Deals Dead?

It’s not often that I find myself with ten days off and no plans.
Usually my locations are thought out with the places I want to see, go to and eat at.
But when I discovered I had miscalculated my holiday allowance and had four days of holiday left to use I found myself in exactly that situation.

I know, I know. How does somebody miscalculate something as exciting as “paid time off”.
Well, I thought that bank holidays needed to be deducted from my allowance when in fact they were already deducted. A complete misunderstanding which worked out for the best because there I was with holiday to use and the world at my feet.

Or so I naively thought…

The first thing I do when planning a trip is think about what type of trip I want to take. Long haul, short haul, beach, city, sun or snow. In this case neither S, nor I, had a clue where we wanted to go. So that was helpful. The only thing we did know is that we wanted somewhere which was less grey and warmer than England. The ‘Beast from the East’ has been causing havoc with England’s temperatures and the usual spring sunshine is nowhere to be found. But wanting to go somewhere warmer than England doesn’t really narrow down your options. So we decided to give ourselves a budget and let that decide for us instead.

At the time we started looking for deals, we had weeks to go until our time off, but everything we found and tried to book, had already been booked. I swear that companies really need to be regulated about what they advertise as being available because it hurts when you repeatedly get your hopes up only to find them dashed at the last minute. Cape Verde was out. Mexico was out. South Africa was out. All the dates we could do, were fully booked. In the end S turned around to me and said if I could find affordable flights to Thailand we could go back. Game on. You lot know how much I bloody love that country and the thought of being reunited with friends and seeing their not-so-newborn-anymore babies, Tom Yum and my beloved Mango Sticky Rice had me excited in every sense of the word. The sunshine element didn’t even come into it. I wanted to go home.

Buuuuuuuuuut, silly old me forgot that it was Easter Holidays.
Could I find affordable flights? Nah.
Flights for the week before we had off? There was plenty.
Flights for the week after we had off? Kazillions.
Flights for the week that we, and the rest of the UK wanted off, hahahahahaha no don’t be so ridiculous.
There were none.
Not unless you tripled the budget we had set.

But my excitement had peaked and I was determined to make it happen. You know how serious I am about Tom Yum and I wasn’t ready to give up on the daydream just yet. So I got my incognito on and started my search. By Google’s tenth results page I tapped out. It wasn’t going to happen. So Instead I looked at Turkey, Cyprus and Spain but couldn’t find anywhere I was truly excited about seeing. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I travel for the sake of travelling because I want to appreciate the places I visit as much as I can. In the end I realised that it was Rome and Venice that I most wanted to see. They both look so incredibly beautiful and anywhere that specialises in carbs is at the top of my hit list.

So I got back to my search and couldn’t find anywhere that was under £1,000.
£1,000 for a few days in Europe is ridiculously overpriced and whilst I was desperate to get away I didn’t want to pay over the odds for doing so. I’m stubborn and like to cost save where I can. But all of this got me thinking; what has happened to last minute deals? A few years ago last minute meant last minute. But from what I can gather from my most recent searches, ‘last minute’ now means leaving in the next 14 weeks but there isn’t much for deals departing in the next ten days.

So… Yeah.
My most recent holiday search has taught me a few things:
I miss Thailand more than I’ve admitted to myself.
Grey skies, rain and Seasonal Affective Disorder do not mix well.
The day of the last minute bargain is over. Nowadays prior planning definitely pays!

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Are you last-minute travellers or do you plan in advance?
Let me know in the comments!