Last minute Vacation departures from Calgary are available from time to time, and you don't have to belong to a last minute club to find them. However, with Alberta being one of Canada’s hottest economies in recent years, last minute vacation deals from Calgary are not as abundantly available as in other major Canadian cities, such as Toronto. Air Transat and Canjet are sold through Transat Holidays and Nolitours, as well as Westjet flights via Westjet Vacations, increasing the capacity for vacation travel out of Western Canada. Even so, last minute vacation opportunities are not nearly as abundant as they are in Toronto. Varadero, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta are generally offered year round out of Calgary. Recently, some Dominican Republic travel packages have also been offered. Otherwise, programs don’t get going until November, and run until the end of March. Following Easter, the number of seats on the market drastically decline.
The bulk of the vacation packages offered from Calgary are for departures starting in November through the end of April. The best opportunity to find last minute vacations from Calgary is in the first couple of weeks in January. Once these vacation packages sell out, the only available opportunities are through connections in Vancouver to the west coast of Mexico, if you are fortunate enough to find one, or through Toronto. Last minute vacations with connector fares are possible – but you need to buy them as one connection through the tour operator. We do not recommend that you wait for a last minute vacation opportunity that includes a connector fare, as these options are limited.
How Much Can You Save on Last Minute Travel?
Last minute travel savings average a few hundred dollars per person. Although savings may occasionally exceed 50% off of your vacation package, the average is typically 20-25%, as compared to the brochure rate.
Why Tripcentral.ca is the Best Place to Find Last Minute Vacations
Tripcentral.ca updates our database of last minute vacations twice daily, showing you the best prices on the first page of search results, with all taxes included. Another terrific feature you will find at Tripcentral.ca is price alerts. Our agents can see when prices have moved up or down, and can contact you proactively when prices change. Unfortunately, once things sell out or go up in price, we are too late, but it may give an indication to firm up immediately, rather than wait.
Understanding Last Minute Vacation Pricing and Availability
Last minute travel prices are typically reduced starting approximately three weeks prior to departure, and prices can change daily, even throughout the day. Some periods of the year are known to present less opportunity for last minute travel deals – the months of February to mid April, for example. Vacations during these periods are typically reduced in price far in advance with Early Booking Bonuses and there is often not much advantage to be gained by waiting for last minute deals. Booking approximately two weeks to ten days ahead of time offers you the optimal balance between discounted prices and a good selection of destinations for most departure dates. Depending on availability, prices will be lower the closer you get to your desired departure date. However, limited availability will certainly result in less choice for you. Prices can be volatile at the last minute, and can actually increase if the flights and hotel rooms start to book up. There are no rules or guarantees regarding last minute pricing of vacation packages. Tour operators need to fill seats and will adjust prices if necessary, but if vacation packages are selling well, prices can go up or down, depending on the current market.
The amazing last minute travel deals that people sometimes talk about typically occur very last minute, and are quite rare. A five star resort priced at 50% off with upgraded rooms is not as likely to be found. Typically, the hotels that are in demand, especially premium brand names, are not as volatile in price. These hotels have a wide distribution network and are not as reliant on tour operator business. You will generally find that resorts where tour operators take big risk also have the potential for great deals. Some hotels that tour operators offer are "at risk", meaning that the operators are committed to sell them. Look for the double page spread in the brochures marked “exclusive” and it’s more likely that it will either sell like hotcakes or be available for last minute travel deals.
Price reductions are mostly driven by a higher than expected number of unsold charter air seats. Often the greatest savings are on hotels that tour operators offer on an exclusive basis, or where they have a large number of rooms. Many popular hotels are seldom discounted at the last minute, as the hotel will often sell out early in a global market, and the tour operator has no rooms available at the last minute. Examples include theme hotels like Atlantis, the popular new Las Vegas hotels, Disney, and Sandals. Some destinations, particularly those offered exclusively by Air Canada on a scheduled basis (such as Barbados, Antigua, Grenada, etc.) are not as likely to have last minute deals.
Are Last Minute Vacations the Right Choice For You?
Last minute vacation bookings are not recommended for people who have firm departure dates, specific hotels/destinations in mind, or plans to travel during holiday periods like Christmas, New Years, March Break, and other school holidays such as college/university reading weeks. Holiday weekends are popular, and it is not wise to wait for a last minute vacation deal as these weeks typically sell out quickly. If you are traveling with a group of people, especially if your traveling companions have diverse or specific needs, it is not a good idea to wait until the last minute to book your vacation. Last minute travel booking is likewise not recommended if you need to make connector fare arrangements, as good deals are not usually available to suit these circumstances.
Another consideration is the size and popularity of a particular destination. Some destinations are relatively small and very popular, such as Panama, Honduras, and other niche markets, requiring travellers to secure a booking in advance. If you really want to travel to a specific destination or resort, it is not advisable to gamble on a last minute vacation package being discounted. Travellers who do so are often disappointed to find that their desired destination or resort sold out while they waited for a deal.
Part of the fun of going on vacation is looking forward to your trip. Your entire vacation experience, from research to return, will be far more rewarding if you take the time to identify the right vacation, book early, and enjoy planning excursions and sightseeing while you excitedly prepare for your trip. The alternative – messing around on websites, talking endlessly about choices, watching good vacation packages sell out, and being stressed out in an effort to save some money – may not be worth it. Some people enjoy the "game" of trying to find the perfect last minute deal, and our Tripcentral.ca agents will work harder than any others in helping you to achieve your goal. But there are those who find the experience of last minute booking to be worrisome and taxing. Your time is valuable, especially your time on holidays. It's important to value your time when planning your vacation and maximize your enjoyment of the entire experience.
Some departure dates are ideal for last minute vacation deals – September and October (other than Labour Day weekend and Thanksgiving), the first two weeks of December, the first two weeks in January, the last weeks of April (excluding Easter, and including odd durations), and the month of June are problem weeks for tour operators. This means excellent vacation value for you as tour operators offer low prices and monitor these dates farther in advance. If your schedule is flexible and you can travel during these optimal time periods, you will find plenty of choice and great savings at the last minute.
There are no price guarantees for last minute travel. Not unlike the stock market or filling your gas tank, the price you book at is the final price, and the packages are non refundable.
Let our knowledgeable agents who've been there help you with your last minute vacation deal.