Last-Minute flight Whether your boss suddenly asks you to attend a conference in their place or you’re in the mood for a spur-of-the-moment vacation, booking a trip at the last minute can be a bit of a hassle, not to mention more expensive than you might expect when compared to the prices you’d get if you booked the recommended six weeks in advance. However, sometimes booking a last-minute flight is simply unavoidable. In that case, there are a few tricks of the trade that all travelers should be aware of in order to get the best possible deal on a flight. Most travel sites specialize in finding the best possible flights and prices for travelers no matter when they book, so while a last-minute trip may not be ideal, you can rest easy knowing that your booking service is offering you the most competitive rates.

Know when to book

If your schedule allows it, there are a few ways you can save money on a last-minute flight just by knowing which travel days will generally produce higher rates on tickets. Most airlines have last-minute discounts available on trips Monday through Thursday, according to Expedia, so if at all possible, avoid traveling during the weekend or toward the end of the week. Flexibility is key when traveling last minute, so keep your mind open to flights that are on not-as-popular travel days or times. Most of the time, flights that are the first or the last to depart any particular airport will be cheaper than those in the middle of the day. Typically, Tuesday and Wednesday will be the cheapest days to fly.

Be flexible with your plans

Sometimes, the timing of your trip can make all the difference in the overall cost of a last-minute trip. For those who have the means and time flexibility, extending your trip can actually greatly reduce the final price tag on your flight as there are generally more options for flights within a wider price range. Also, flights are generally cheaper on weekdays, as we detailed earlier, so by extending your trip past the weekend, you can actually end up saving money on the flight. This is also a great way to utilize all that travel sites have to offer. For instance, if you’re traveling to a place you didn’t plan to spend much time in originally, using a travel site to explore what that city has to offer can be a great vehicle to customize the trip. In the same vein, travel sites make it affordable for last-minute travelers to book a bundle deal, so for those who are in a time crunch, this can be a great way to save a few bucks and get more out of their last-minute trip by staying a few extra nights at little or no added cost when compared to what they would pay for a last-minute weekend flight.

Check for discounts

Many airlines offer discounts for students, military members and seniors. If at all possible, it’s a good idea to look into what discounts you may be eligible for when booking a last-minute flight. More often than not, travel sites will not list such discounts at the forefront, so if you’re using a travel site, you may have to do some digging, but the price cut will likely be well worth your efforts. If you find yourself in a real pinch for time, visit the help center of whichever travel service you’re using and locate their support phone numbers to speak with a representative about what your options might be for discounts on a last-minute rate.

It’s inevitable that booking a last-minute flight is bound to cost you, but it doesn’t have to be a complete financial disaster. Being flexible and knowing what to look for when you’re booking can help you avoid paying an arm and a leg for your travel plans. To learn more about top online booking options, visit our travel sites reviews.