Last-Minute Lodging

Sep 8, 2011
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As many know I’m taking a trip this year to Nicaragua. On the way back I have a full evening stop over in Fort Lauderdale. Rather than booking something now I’m planning on simply flying in (early am) and finding something that day. I don’t really care where I stay even if I have to sleep at the airport (though let’s hope not). I should be able to find a last minute deal that’s cheap and these are the apps that I plan to use to do it.

For anyone who does last minute travel, travels without reservations or winds up with a problematic reservation these apps should work for you, at least in the US.

Cheap Rental Car Hotel Deals & Flights by Priceline

Likely the first app I’ll use this should help me find a hotel close to the airport (or wherever I wander off to) for a good price. A required app for that last minute deal this app is easy to use and useful for finding the best deals no matter where you are. I like that it auto completes the city name for you when searching and also that it allows you to see a map of what it considers to be “close to the airport”.

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Airbnb

I’ve not had any luck with this app but a friend Evonne has and loves it. If you’re up for a more social time this is likely a good app for you as you may be staying with someone. I tend to gravitate towards the “I’m exhausted, leave me alone” type of last minute lodgings. One way or the other you’ll get something here you won’t find in any other app- a truly unique experience.

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Hostel Hero

This app doesn’t actually do well for last minute deals so why am I including it here? Because it will tell you what hostels are around you, show you a map and get you contact information. Sure it’s not as great as quality booking the day you need it but there isn’t a better hostel option out there and with not that many hostel choices this app does fine in a pinch for finding hostel lodging and at least connecting you.

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Hotels.com – Hotel booking and last minute hotel deals

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this app. So many search type apps can really fail but thus far this app gives me everything I want in an app. What I love about the app is that you can search by a more defined area than simply a city name. When I head to Nicaragua later this year I’ll have an evening stop over in Fort Lauderdale and it’s likely I’ll just want to stay by the airport. Unfamiliar with the area this app allows me to search for hotel deals close to the airport or various other sections of the city should I decide to explore a bit during the day. You can book for tonight with the app and best yet you can sort the results of your search by various criteria (sadly not all at the same time but go figure, few sites allow for that!). Distance from a specific area, price, guest rating, special deals, best sellers are all options to organize your search results. If you’re a last minute traveler or even someone that wants to simply poke around at costs from your phone this app is certainly for you.

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Expedia Hotel, Flight, Car Rental & Activities

You’d expect a good app from Expedia. Travel is what they do and indeed you will get a great app. The first time I downloaded this however it crashed. A delete and reinstall seems to have fixed the problem so I’ll still mark this one as awesome.
Once you search for a city it’s saved in your past searches, making typing it again no longer necessary. From there the ability to change the dates of a booking is obvious and visual. No need for a calendar pull down, just drag your finger to select the dates you’re looking for.
Your results are returned in either list or map format, depending on how you left your last search. Switching over to the map you can zoom in on an area in your city and press the search map button and voila! You have just the hotels in that area. Switch back to the list and you can see the details listed out for you. In either screen you can set filters to include price, miles from an area, the number of stars and how highly rated the hotel is.
The best part of this app is that it shows you pictures of each location. With several for each hotel you really get a feel for what you’re getting. Sure, like a real estate listing it’s probably better in picture than it is in person but you can still see that 1970’s bed spread which likely means 1970’s carpet and the like.
One of the best apps around for really digging into an area’s hotels when you’re not familiar. From the looks of it the pricing is right as well.

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