Can you still travel last-minute?
You know this pseudo-dramatic-romantic moment in the movies where people hurry to the airport and they ask for a last-minute ticket to somewhere exotic?
Well, in my head, that somehow become a reality and I took it up on me to check out if last-minute plane tickets are a thing. And if so, just shut up, take my money and fly me somewhere sunny. All of this on a budget, of course.
The last-minute travel experiment
I entered Schiphol Airport on Saturday morning like the world was my oyster and casually asked the guy at the ticket counter where can he send me and my friend of under 200 euros each. Preferably somewhere warm, but we were open to options. After a short WTF face from him, I understood that their ticket system is not updated for this requirement. So while the guy patiently looked up destination after destination in the hope of scoring a nice price, I could see the vision of a warm weekend flying away.
A few ticket counters later and more faces that didn’t understand we didn’t know where we wanted to go, I’ve come to this conclusion:
Last minute tickets are not a thing. You’re better off trying to score a cheap ticket online than the airport.
The last-minute travel alternative
I’d say you can check out the last-minute counter at the airport if you’re a business traveler or if you missed your flight. Or maybe if you have a destination mind and don’t mind paying the price.
With that last-minute flight tickets option out of the way, trains were the next best thing. I’ve also learned that walking to the train ticket counter and asking what trains leave in the next hour also doesn’t help because everybody’s questions will be: But where do you want to go?
So much for spontaneity, eh?
A few hours and several trains later, I got off the train in pretty Liege, Belgium. A super interesting city, i never visited when I lived in Belgium or in the south of the Netherlands. Also, awesome food and cute French accents everywhere. It reminded us of a modern city when you get out of the train station, but a communistic Bucharest when we walked along the riverside.
Wanting even more randomness to our days, we got a Blablacar ride the next day and headed towards Luxembourg city. More walks, more photos, more good food. Wandering how we got back? A 3 hour train ride to Bruxelles-Midi where common friends found us and gave us a ride to Amsterdam.
The last-minute accommodation
That’s the easiest part, i booked hotels on booking.com a few hours before reaching our destination. I guess you could try airbnb as well, but it was the Easter weekend in both the countries we visited, so I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting the booking approved or bothering people for check-in on their long weekend. On the more affordable side, hostels might’ve been an easy solution as well, except Luxembourg city didn’t have any hostel options for the days we were there.
I remember reading this article about plane hitchhiking, how that be a thing is buying last minute cheap tickets is already a no-go? Think about it, it makes sense, most planes have a few empty seats, why not put them on sales a few hours before the flight? How’s that not a win-win situation for both parts?
Let me know what you think, did you ever buy tickets last-minute? What’s the workaround to make some more magic happen in our lives?