Last minute holiday destinations

Need some late holiday inspiration? Here, we’ll regularly update the best last minute holiday destinations for you to visit over the next three months. To some travellers, booking three months in advance might not seem like ‘last minute’ at all, but if you’re hoping to do something that usually requires booking a year or so in advance, like hiking the Inca Trail, gorilla watching or climbing Kilimanjaro, then three months in advance is actually super last minute – especially if you need to get training in. Read on to find out what kind of adventures are waiting to be grabbed.

September last minute holidays

People in the know, and those who are lucky enough not to be controlled by school holiday restrictions, can make the most of the fact that September is often the magic month for holidays in many parts of the world. And you have more chance of getting a flight at the last minute as well so, all in all, happy (holi) days. The B-team is particularly strong in September, being the top time of year to visit Brazil, Borneo and Botswana.

The Mediterranean countries have cooled just enough to make hiking and cycling survivable, and yet the sea is still gorgeously welcoming after a workout on the highways and byways. And some of the less obvious European destinations are still very much open for business at this time of year too, such as Romania, where you can start to catch the autumn foliage changing as you hike through its colossal Carpathians. Outdoor activities in Scotland and Ireland during this time are also wonderful, with highlands and islands particularly tranquil.

Staying north, September is also one of the best months to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, as they're said to be more likely around the equinoxes. There's still some daylight, meaning you can get out and do other activities. Norway can also have lovely mild weather at this time, along with very long daylight hours – and few other visitors.
The visitors have dispersed from safari countries in September, but the wildlife hasn’t, with the Great Migration still going on in Kenya and Tanzania, including the Mara River crossing. Heading east, Thailand's Andaman Coast gets the worst of the monsoons, but the climate in the Gulf of Thailand is drier at this time – so check out last minute trips to this part of the country.

October last minute holidays

October can be a tricky month when it comes to late availability, as school holidays creep up at the end of the month, making it harder to book transport. It's a case of the early birds get the worms. Morocco is one of our favourite places in October, as the searing desert temperatures have subsided, the sea is warm, and the mountains are still snow-free. Lanzarote is still lovely too, and Andalucía, Croatia, Greece, southern Italy, southern Portugal and Turkey's southern and western coasts also still have great weather for cycling, hiking or water-based activities – while avoiding the summer crowds and prices.

October brings balmy beauty to Northern Vietnam, Burma and Southern India. For perfect hiking conditions, Nepal is the place to go, so look out for any injured parties having to drop out of the big treks at the last minute – if you are fit and ready to go, that is. You won’t need any training to take in the Northern Lights, however. In Iceland, the days are still long enough for you to engage in other activities such as hiking and exploring the glaciers, lava fields and geothermal pools.

Being on the equator, you'll be told that Ecuador has no "best time to go" as its climate is pretty constant. However, we think October is a great time, as you'll miss the summer school holiday crowds. This is also the drier season, so the Amazon is more accessible and wildlife more easily viewed.

Botswana and Namibia teem with wildlife in October as the dry season is at its peak, so animals come out in search of water holes. And if you can get last minute availability in Madagascar, it’s baby lemur time. Everyone say ahhhh.

November last minute holidays

Be sensible and start thinking about Christmas shopping and the ridiculously early build-up to Yuletide madness – or live a little and go on holiday? You can kill many birds with one stone by doing some original, and responsible, Christmas shopping in places like Northern Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand, which are dry and warm but not too hot in November. Kerala in southern India is also a great destination for some winter sun and Nepal’s trekking conditions are just perfect at this time. You can buy lots of local woollen goodies there to bring home for Christmas, too.

For a closer to home winter soak in the sun, the Canary Islands are still beautifully balmy, with places like Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Gomera hiking heaven at this time of year. Andalucía is also lovely, with cool, sunny days making it great for a walking or cycling holiday.

At the other end of the spectrum, now's the time to head to Antarctica for pristine snowscapes and the largest icebergs, before the summer warmth kicks off a giant thaw. But these trips do book up, so if you can catch last minute availability and you are in expedition, carpe diem mode, grab this chance of a lifetime.

Another trip of a lifetime is a gorilla trekking holiday. As November is not the peak season for this, being the rainy season, places can come up. You won’t be poured on all day at all, just in spurts, but you won’t even think about it when you set your eyes on your first gorilla family. And you will have the forests and mountains to yourself, the guides and the gorillas. If you can catch a ticket to Madagascar, you'll find baby lemurs abounds. And although the rainier season is starting in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, it is still a great time to go, as the national parks are quieter. Ergo, more last minute availability.

December last minute holidays

You have to have been very good boys and girls all year to be lucky enough to get a last minute Christmas trip, as this is peak time for so many countries and booked up far in advance by those people who are painfully organised. However, last minute spaces are available if you keep your eyes peeled. Northern Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand are dry and warm but not too hot. Costa Rica is dry in late December and would be the best Christmas wildlife break if you can find late availability – although they will be slim on the ground.

Kerala in southern India and Sri Lanka are beautiful at this time of year, but crowded at Christmas. If you can get a last minute trip to Patagonia, you’ll have great access to remote landscapes, with midsummer warmth and long days. Get there before mid-December, when the long school holidays begin in that part of the world.

Our top Last minute Holiday

Adventure holiday in Jordan

Adventure holiday in Jordan

The very best of Jordan

From £1589 to £1799 9 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2019: 21 Sep, 28 Sep, 5 Oct, 6 Oct, 12 Oct, 27 Oct, 2 Nov, 9 Nov, 16 Nov, 23 Nov, 30 Nov, 14 Dec
2020: 8 Feb, 15 Feb, 22 Feb, 29 Feb, 7 Mar, 14 Mar, 21 Mar, 28 Mar, 4 Apr, 5 Apr, 11 Apr, 18 Apr, 19 Apr, 25 Apr, 2 May, 9 May, 16 May, 23 May, 30 May, 6 Jun, 13 Jun, 25 Jul, 8 Aug, 5 Sep, 12 Sep, 19 Sep, 26 Sep, 27 Sep, 3 Oct, 4 Oct, 10 Oct, 17 Oct, 24 Oct, 31 Oct, 7 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov, 28 Nov, 19 Dec, 23 Dec
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Last minute or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Paxson Woelber] [December: Zdenek Machacek] [January: Sam Lee] [February: Frank Kovalchek] [March: Robbie Shade] [April: M. Zonderling] [May: Marien van Os] [June: Make it Kenya] [July: Juan Alberto Garcia Rivera] [August: Lecouteausuisseduweb] [September: Joshua Earle] [October: Philipp Klausner] [November: Oguz Serbetci]
Convert currencies