While Spire, a limited time luxury hotel deal site coined the term “Flashcation”, the concept has been around for some time and derives from “Flash Sales”.  It is defined by Spire as a trip that is booked spontaneously when a traveler finds an outrageously good deal.  The concept has resurfaced many times in different forms and given different names.  I used to work for an airline consolidator and we used to have “fill up fares”. These airfares were only available 30 days or less prior to departure, only if airlines had an excess of seats and were available while inventory lasted. Post 9/11 numerous flash sale deals were available.  Some sites have come and gone.

Our show addressed Flashcations.

  • What are the pro’s and cons of a flash sale
    • The pro is that it is a great deal.
    • The cons are
      • You have to act quickly, it could be gone in a flash!
      • While rules and restrictions vary by company your purchase is usually non-refundable.
      • The deals are usually available during low or shoulder season

What you need to know:

  • Check the sites terms and conditions before you make any purchases.
  • Is it a flash sale offered by the vendor or a third party?
  • Is it a book now or do you get a voucher for later booking?
  • If the flash sale is hotel only check the airfare to the destination.  Know what the air fare is and if the airline offers a deal including the same or similar hotel.  This way you can make an educated comparison.

Here are some companies that offer Flashcations: List from Savvysugar and Thinstock

Groupon Getaways
Groupon partnered up with Expedia to launch a travel deals vector that features new deals every Tuesday. The deals stay live for seven days or until they run out. The site offers a good mix of national and international travel deals.

A luxury travel site that offers deals up to 50 percent off only the most luxurious and exotic hotels around the globe. Each sale lasts about five to seven days. You can pay 10 percent of the trip price to “hold” a trip for three days to decide whether to book it. If you decide not to purchase, the 10 percent becomes Jetsetter credit that never expires.

Read on for more sites.
Living Social Escapes
Living Social, Groupon’s main competitor, offers different travel packages every week to various locations in the US and around the world. The majority of the picks seem to be US cities.

SniqueAway, which was launched by TripAdvisor, offers up to 50 percent off all hotels and only features hotels that have at least a four out of five rating on TripAdvisor. If you missed a good deal, you can just click “like” on it and vote to bring it back. You can even vote for new hotels as well. Sales go up on the website a few times a week and they last for a week or until they sell out.

Trip Alertz
Trip Alertz is a part flash sale, part group-buying site, and as more people buy in, the cheaper the deal will become.

This site is more luxury-focused and has the thumbs up from the travel experts of Travel + Leisure magazine, who select the offers. You can save up to 60 percent.