How to book an affordable, last-minute beach vacation

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Look at bundling your flight, car and hotel so that you can save on that last-minute beach trip. You can reduce the total cost of the trip by using vacation packages with Expedia or similar sites.

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Chance it with walk-ins

If you're really adventurous, try different hotels for the cheapest day-of room reductions. Room rates can fluctuate quickly even minute to minute because a hotel's inventory is always changing. Travel light, and you can do this two or three times in a week

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Try to bargain

If you find that dream beach Airbnb bungalow, talk directly with the property owner or renter. Hosts can only send you a special offer if you send them a message with specific dates in mind. Sometimes you can negotiate a last-minute deal cheaper than the advertised price because they don't want to have empty rooms.

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Try an agent

Sometimes the cheapest way is the old-fashioned way. Many travel agents have access to airline seats that don't show up on websites. They also have access to hotel savings for last-minute bookings.

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Travel by land

If you have the time, why not skip the airport stress and take a train or bus? Amtrak or even Megabus have great last-minute deals for getaways to beachside destinations.

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Sign up for emails

Make sure you sign up for newsletters and emails from different airlines. They will post last-minute deals on seats that other travel sites won't have. More and more, airlines are resorting to special "members only" sales and promo codes.

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Use rewards

Use your transferable reward points. Most airlines will open up award space a couple days before travel on unsold seats.

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Join online travel agencies

You can save up to 10 percent on last-minute bookings if you become a member of online travel agencies such as Booking.com, Kayak, and Hotels.com.

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Buy one-way tickets

When pricing a flight to that beach destination, look at one-way ticket prices. Sometimes you can get a better deal if you buy one-way flights on two different airlines. On smaller, discount airlines, one-way fares are often much cheaper than the total of round-trip fares.

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Know what day to fly

Try looking at flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the lowest ticket prices. Avoid Friday evenings and Monday mornings, which are usually booked by business travelers paying premium rates.

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Find the right app

Unless specified, all apps are free and available for Android and iOS. According to Travel and Leisure, Expedia is one of the most popular for setting up a last-minute flight, hotel room, car rental or total trip package and has some of the lowest prices.

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Call the hotel

Call the front desk of the hotel you want to stay at, and speak with them or a manager about the best available last-minute rates. Sometimes calling directly is the best way to get a great deal, especially if you're staying at one of the top beaches in the world.

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