Money-saving tips for booking a last-minute vacation

The travel director of Travel and Leisure magazine shared her tips and tricks.

ByABC News
August 24, 2017, 8:46 AM

— -- Booking a last-minute vacation can be pricey, but there are ways to get away without breaking the bank.

Jacqui Gifford, the travel director of Travel and Leisure magazine, joined "Good Morning America" to share her expertise on how to cut costs for that spur-of-the moment trip.

When is the best time to book?

The best time to book a flight, according to Gifford, is Tuesday. Tuesdays are when airlines start looking at their inventory for the coming week and weekend ahead. If airlines see that seats are empty, they start discounting. Then, other airlines try to match and lower their fares too.

What are the best days and times to fly?

While Tuesday may be the best day to book a ticket, Gifford said the best days to depart are Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday -- either early in the morning or late at night.

Because people want to go away for the weekend, flights from a Friday to a Sunday are the most expensive. But flying on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest.

Cheapest way to pay for flights

Gifford suggests if you're looking to save, use points and miles to pay for the flight. Sometimes when the airline releases seats in inventory, Gifford says travelers can get great last-minute deals using those miles. Additionally, you won't run into blackout dates when the airlines don't let you use your miles.

Cheapest travel destinations

Traveling to popular cities in the off-season can be an opportunity to fly for less. Gifford says that in August, travel costs to New York are a bit lower before peak fall season hits. And the same can be said for Charleston, South Carolina. In the days just before Labor Day, some hotels offer great deals when you pay with a partner credit card.

Try a campground

Gifford says private campgrounds are a great way to see untouched travel spots. Hipcamp is a startup that creates new campsites by unlocking access to beautiful private lands such as nature preserves, farms and ranches. The company helps last-minute campers enjoy the great outdoors by pairing them with landowners who want to keep their property undeveloped with ecologically-minded campers. Some areas start at just $20 per night.

Use travel apps

HotelTonight, Hopper and Fareness can help customers save on last-minute planning in select cities around the world. There are also sites that show cheap flights by fielding data based on destination and dates.