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Last minute travel – options
Together with last minute flights, last minute hotels are big business nowadays. The idea is that you take a room that would otherwise be empty (often because of cancellations), and in return you get a steep discount. However, as ever, it’s a case of buyer beware. It can be a very common experience to arrive in a hotel and find that there’s actually no-one in it who didn’t come on a last-minute travel deal. This is either because the prices the hotel is trying to charge normal customers are too high, or because it’s a terrible hotel. To avoid these places, check whether the hotel you find a last-minute deal on is otherwise fully-booked or at least busy – if not, you should probably stay away.
Even in good hotels, though, you might find yourself stuck with the one bad room that they haven’t been able to shift – the one that smells funny, or has a view of a brick wall outside the window. While this isn’t generally so terrible, you should at least prepare yourself for this possibility. It’s also quite likely – though not inevitable – that the cheaper hotels will be nowhere near the city centre, leaving you to commute by public transport each day if you want to see the sights, or else hang around in the suburbs. You should consider the costs of transport before you book, as a slightly more expensive hotel that is more central can often save you more than it costs. A final thing to be aware of is that you can often get a good discount by booking a last minute flight and hotel as a package deal through the various agency websites.
If you are doing this, though, make sure that you don’t let the savings pressure you into taking a bad flight or a bad hotel just because the other half of the deal seems so good.
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