The Jakarta Post Travel examines which traveling style is more economical. By examining the economic value, we are not limiting our observations to backpackers or low-budget travelers, but we are limiting our discussion to traveling in Indonesia. Planning ahead It wouldn't be a surprise if people considered this a cheaper way of traveling because of all the promotions and discounts given in the traveling industry. It’s common in Indonesia to find low-cost carriers giving away special prices for fixed-date flights that are scheduled months – or even a year – away. Thus, they shape a trend where people hunt for special prices to go traveling, even though it means waiting for a while until they can actually travel. For these people, the chance to travel beats not having to wait that long after booking a flight; whether they can really travel on the said date is left to them to worry about. In many cases, having bought a ticket at a very cheap price makes it easier when they have to cancel the trip due to unknown reasons when they are booking. The discounts usually start from 50 percent to a limited free-seats offer. Last week, for example, AirAsia Indonesia promoted a free-seats offer for the period of June 10, 2015 to Jan. 17, 2016. Special offers are popular among travelers as flight tickets often slash a significant portion of their travel budget. Other spending goes on accommodation. The best bet of finding good deals for hotels is through travel agents and booking websites. Promotions for hotels seldom differentiate whether you are booking six months in advance or days before your date of intended travel. Besides international online booking services like Agoda, you can try local websites such as Rajakamar or Traveloka to hunt for the best accommodation prices. Rajakamar is currently holding a great sale for those looking to travel next year. Local-based online booking services are also a good place to find deals similar to those given by airlines. Going to these websites is the next logical step if you have already booked a flight with a fixed date. Last-minute traveling Don’t hold back on deciding to go traveling on the eleventh hour as it is not as costly as you think it is. People wait until the last minute to travel because they are on a tight schedule. Busy people sometimes have no idea when they will have free time until the very last minute. Another case of last-minute traveling can also occur when work calls for a sudden business trip and you find that you have a spare few days in the place after the work is done. For these people, despite the tempting offers, planning ahead for a trip is not an option due to it being difficult for them to take leave on the appointed date. Meta search engines like Skyscanner make booking a trip really convenient. From our observations, next-day flights are not any more expensive than regular prices. This is definitely a good thing if you are assuming that last-minute travel will be expensive. How can it be a good thing when planning ahead gives you better deals? If you fit into the aforementioned category of a busy worker, then going traveling when you are absolutely sure of having some free time is priceless. On the other hand, imagine if your months-away ticket ended up being on the day when you were supposed to be working on something important? Booking services have recently started to set their eyes on the last-minute traveler market. HotelQuickly is one example of companies targeting such a market by offering them last-minute bookings. Through their mobile application, HotelQuickly provides accommodation when you need it in less than 24 hours – from the day before up to the very morning before you check in. Price-wise, HotelQuickly gives out interesting deals as you will commonly find rooms with more than 30 percent discounts. For low-budget rooms, there are plenty of deals in HotelQuickly that are available for less than US$10. If you prefer a fancier hotel, our quick comparison showed that HotelQuickly offers a significantly lower price compared to the published rate on the hotel’s own website and most other online booking services. Conclusion Planning ahead gives you the advantage of cheap airfares through the early bird promotions given by airlines, but the rising trend of business that caters to last-minute travelers balances out the gap by giving this market the edge over hotel prices. Deal hunters make the best purchases if they combine airfare discounts with booking through last-minute accommodation applications. Planned trips are an advantage for those seeking low-budget traveling. You can save a huge amount of budget on airfare and stay in a $20 room. However, things slightly favor the last-minute traveler who is looking for a fancier room. A 30 percent discount can mean a lot if the price of the hotel goes for hundreds of dollars. Our quick use of the HotelQuickly application showed that you could save $60 for a room listed for $160 on their official website. Compare this to the price of a plane ticket, where flying a favorite route like Jakarta-Denpasar costs from $40 to $70. Saving money through early buying seems insignificant compared to the aforementioned last-minute room deal. All in all, it comes back to how much control you have over your schedule. If you feel that you can make the trip scheduled months away then it won’t hurt to grab those price promotions.