Summer is coming, and along with sunburns and foot blisters, it’s also the season of late deals.  I talked last year about buying late versus buying early (in summary – it depends), but I know lots of folk feel the spur of serendipity, especially when you see all your friends posting on Facebook how they are having the time of their lives. (Whether that’s true or not is a separate discussion.)

Here at Sunshine we have our fair share of late deals.  But no matter whether you’re just taking a long weekend nearby or heading for a week in the sun, here are some common mistakes made when buying a late deal.

Not Reading the Fine Print

The biggest mistake in enjoying a late deal is not reading the fine print.  What is included? What is NOT included? For hotels, this is things like breakfast or excursions. In the case of hotels or airlines, how about the taxes? For all-inclusive late deals, what is included in the all-inclusive (yes, all-inclusive isn’t always all that… er, inclusive.)

Not Checking the Price

Daily deal sites are notorious for having deals that aren’t actually deals – I’ve seen packages where it’s $400 and get 2-for-1, where the original price is $200. Uhm, same price. Or worse, the deal is actually more expensive! Believe me, it is unconscionable, but it happens. So, what’s the average price for what you’re buying? You might be delighted to learn how much of a deal you’re getting, or you might be delighted to learn you can pay a smidge extra and travel with more flexibility.

Not Reading the Reviews

Next to the pricing dilemmas, are the reviews. A filthy hotel is never a good deal. So, take a minute to Google and find the reviews. Reputable sites have reviews and testimonials anyway, but it’s easy to check other sites. It takes two minutes!

Accepting the Normally Unacceptable

Late deals are sometimes “not ideal” because, well, they’re last minute buys. So, you might have to arrive home at 11PM and be at work 7AM the next morning. Or there are two connections. Middle seats all the way. Or the hotel is not convenient to the city centre.

I’m not saying any of these things are a deal breaker, but before saying yes, ask yourself – is this itinerary acceptable, or am I going to return home regretful? It is ok to take a deal in exchange for some minor discomfort, but how much is too much?

Not Acting Fast

Good late deals can disappear in an instant. If you see something, pick up the phone and call your travel partner, and make a decision – fast. Then you can be off to enjoy your late holiday, leaving wildly inappropriate Facebook photos for your friends to comment on, and of course – leave a review and tell the next person about your deal!

Photo by tsuna72

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Friday, June 15th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : How To...
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