Pop quiz: It’s Friday, and you find yourself with a wide-open, no-plans kind of weekend. What should you do?
The answer: Get out of town!
Tight budget? No problem. There are plenty of last-minute deals — if you know where to look. And we’re not just talking about the big sites like Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. Download these lesser-known hot travel apps and you’ll be one step closer to waking up on a sandy beach as early as tomorrow morning. Bon Voyage!
Best for: Luxury hotels
You got a great deal on a last-minute flight to Chi-town, but now you need a place to stay. Hotel Tonight offers up to 70% off unsold hotel rooms in cities all over the world. With easy booking on your smartphone, you can have a place to rest your head that night in a matter of minutes.
Recent sample deal: A $359 4-star hotel room in Chicago for just $179.
Hotel Tonight: Website, iPhone app, iPad app, Android app
Best for: All-in-one vacation packages
Perhaps the premiere app for last-minute travel deals (the name says it all), LMT users have access to last-minute flights from more than 175 carriers around the world and more than 100,000 hotels, 20,000 vacation homes and 10,000 activities and transfers in over 150 countries. Check out their hotel+flight+car rental packages for the best prices.
Recent sample deal: A 4-night stay at a 3-star hotel in New York City — including airfare — for $350.
Last Minute Travel: Website, iPhone app, iPad app, Android app
Best for: Travel junkies
If you’re the type who always has your bags packed for your next adventure, Travelzoo is a must-have app. You can use it to book a last-minute flight to Cancun, and when you’re there, use it again to search for local deals on restaurants, spas and other fun activities. And make sure you sign up for their weekly email; you’ll get great options for weekend travel sent directly to your inbox.
Recent sample deal: 7-night beach-and-jungle trip in Costa Rica, including airfare (from Atlanta) for $749.
Travelzoo: Website, iPhone app, Android app
Best for: European travel
Founded by the same people who started Groupon, this app boasts last-minute hotel deals in 183 European cities at up to 70% off. It’s great for spontaneous backpackers looking for a night of comfort or Americans who found a serious last-minute deal on airfare across the pond. Deals are only available for same-day booking or one day in advance.
Recent sample deal: A 4-star hotel in Barcelona, Spain, for $175.
Blink: Website, iPad app, iPhone app, Android app
Best for: Airfare deals
The social app isn’t only for sharing what you had for dinner. Major airlines often post last-minute flight discounts (JetBlue tweets their deals every Tuesday @JetBlueCheeps, for example). Or just follow @AirfareWatchdog, which covers deals from all the major airlines.
Recent sample deal: @AirfareWatchdog posted a round-trip flight deal from Indianapolis, IN, to Palm Springs, CA, for $266 over Labor Day weekend.
Twitter: Website, iPhone app, iPad app, Android app
Best for: Seafarers
Created by iCruise.com, this app lets you search 12,000+ itineraries from 25+ destinations. With multiple search options, you can find last-minute deals leaving from a port near you in a matter of seconds.
Recent sample deal: A 7-night Bahamas cruise out of Baltimore, Maryland, for $459 per person.
Cruisefinder: iPhone app, Android app