By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I've been told that to get a true last minute deal to somewhere - the prices don't really start dropping until three days before your departure date. Is this true, or will prices start dropping earlier? I'm interested in going to Las Vegas on a Sunday, but I was told that the best time to get the best last minute deal would be no earlier than the Thursday before I leave.

A: If you're looking for a deal, you'll need to be flexible. This means if you want a good affordable package to Las Vegas, one that includes plane and a five star hotel, then your chances look slim. Typically, discount travel agencies will search for the best value. So, a travel company like The Last Minute Club which specializes in discount travel will offer airfare at cheaper prices because it needs to sell them quickly. These are reduced rates based on inventory and are referred to as "sell-offs" which occur daily.

An official at The Last Minute Club advised me that if a traveller wants to take full advantage of these discounts, they should start their inquiries roughly two weeks prior to their departure date. However, the prices are all based on the old law of supply and demand. And, if a tour operator is unable to sell airfare to a specific destination, then consequently, this high supply of tickets will need to be unloaded and the prices will decrease accordingly.

So, it is not necessarily true that prices will start to drop three days before departure. It is recommended that you check with a travel agency or tour operator to see if they have space available and they can guide you.

My contact at The Last Minute Club mentioned Las Vegas is one of their more popular sell-off destinations and advised that if you're planning to fly on a Sunday start thinking about purchasing a plane ticket between the Sunday and Thursday before your departure date. The three days leading up to Sunday could just be slim pickings, if nothing at all. For more information on The Last Minute Club, dial 416.441.CLUB or contact 1.800.363.9330.


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