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How to Book Last Minute Family Vacation Deals

The secret? Last minute family vacation deals are lifesavers when you want to book affordable family travel — if you know how to find them.

Find Last Minute Family Vacation Deals Now

While family vacations can make long-lasting memories, treating three, four or more people to a fun-filled trip doesn’t always come cheap. But we’re not here to be all doom and gloom — in fact, we’ve got some tricks to help you find more affordable family fun.

Here’s our guide to booking that awesome family vacation for less.

Family vacation ideas

First of all, you’ll need a sense of what kind of vacation you’re all looking for. When booking last minute family vacation deals, you could end up someplace you’ve never even heard of before, as you’ll be guided more by the prices than the destination. But don’t get bamboozled by all the options. Instead, get the family together and figure out what you do and don’t want from the trip before you start to research.

  • Do you want a beach vacation, a weekend getaway, or an outdoorsy trip?   
  • Do you want to do lots of activities every day, or do you just want to relax?
  • Would you like to go all-inclusive, or be more independent?
  • Will you need a car, or will you be spending all your time in the same city or resort?

There are no right or wrong answers — it just depends on what’s most important to you and your family.

(On that note, if you really fancy a quick weekend trip, check out these cheap options for weekend getaways!)

All inclusive resort deals

While it’s totally possible to get last minute family vacation travel deals on any sort of trip, all inclusive resort deals are probably the simplest to research and book.

That’s because you don’t need to do any extra planning — as the name suggests, everything is included.

Plus, lots of all inclusive resorts are specifically aimed at families, so they offer entertainment and activities for all ages. Not to mention special family rooms, and often discounts for children, too.  

Some destinations specialize in all inclusive resorts, which doesn’t just mean lots of options, but more competitive prices as well. These destinations are usually the best for last minute deals, because they have the most availability — and they need to find a way to tempt travelers to book with them instead of their competition.

Florida has some of the world’s best all inclusive resorts and deals, which is why it’s such a family favorite. So, searching for all inclusive family vacation deals in Florida is a good place to start.

Other vacation spots with lots of all inclusive resorts and deals are Mexico and the Caribbean.

But you’ll find all inclusive resorts all over the world, so if you want to research other places, you should definitely ‘follow your bliss’!

How do you book last minute family vacations?

Some other quick tips for where to look for last minute travel deals for families:

  • Look at major airports which offer lots of flights, like NYC, LA or Chicago. Why? The more flights that are leaving, the bigger the choice of destinations and airlines. Again, that doesn’t just mean more choice, but more competitive prices, too.
  • Consider super-popular resorts and cities. That might sound counterintuitive, but actually, it means there’ll be more flights departing for those places, and more hotel rooms that need filling. And that means there’ll be more deals.   
  • Another good reason to choose popular places — they’ll have lots going on, so it shouldn’t be hard to book activities and entertainment at the last minute, either.
  • It’s worth calling package vacation companies to ask if they have any same-day deals — if any of their customers have canceled, they’ll be more likely to sell at a big discount.  
  • See a hotel you like? It can be worth calling and asking about same-day deals here, too. If they’ve got rooms to fill, you might bag a bargain.

Need some inspiration? We put together a guide to the best places to go for last minute getaways here.

Being flexible = better savings

Of course, waiting ‘til the last minute to book a family vacation can be risky. Imagine you’ve got your heart set on a destination, and then can’t find any cheap deals.

The most important thing to remember when looking for cheap last minute travel is that you’ll need to be flexible. The more open you are to different options, the better chance you have of finding a bargain. And there’s less chance you’ll end up disappointed or, worse, empty-handed.

For that reason, one thing you might like to try when searching for family vacation deals is our ‘Everywhere’ search.

Here’s how to do it: when searching for flights with Skyscanner, select ‘Everywhere’ as the destination option. We’ll show you the cheapest flights we can find from your preferred airport, on your specified dates, to places all over the world.

That way, you don’t even have to spend any time thinking about destinations: we’ll do that for you. All you need to do is look at the list of deals we find, and decide where to go.

Want to know more about our ‘Everywhere’ search? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide here.

I’m not flexible… How do I find really cheap flights?

If you’re not flexible about where you go, but you are flexible about when, last minute deals can work for you, too.

Flight prices change all the time, often wildly and unpredictably. (See our guide to why here.)

The good news is, we can help you keep tabs on when the price goes down for your chosen flight route with our Skyscanner Price Alert. (More good news: it’s free!).

Because we’re always tracking flight prices, we can let you know when prices on the flights you like change.

We’ll text or email you these alerts, depending on what you prefer. And, seeing as we don’t want to pester you, you can turn off your Price Alert anytime you like.

Want to try it out? We’ve got an easy guide to setting it up right here.

How to avoid extra fees

So, you’ve found your deal, booked your vacay, and are ready to go… but now you realize how much you’ll need to splash out on baggage fees and airplane meals. When will the spending end?

Extra fees like this can really ramp up the cost of your vacation. The good news is — this is one thing you can plan ahead for. As long as you’re aware of what extra fees there might be, you can figure out how to avoid them.  

For example, don’t turn up empty-handed: bring food with you to eat on the plane. Or, if you’re choosing between similarly-priced tickets on two different airlines, check their meal policies — some still include meal service in the ticket price.

Cutting down on baggage can be hard when there’s a whole family to pack for — but it’s not impossible. In fact, if you’re smart about it, you can just bring carry-on luggage. Plus, some airlines don’t charge for carry-on, so you can make major savings. We put together some tips on packing carry-on baggage only for a family vacation here.

Ready to find last minute family vacation deals? Check out the best deals of right now, listed below: