Let your spontaneity run wild with this guide to last-minute villa holidays. It'll take you from Europe's glimmering beaches to the tropical reaches of the US, all in search of inspiring and creative destinations for that 11th-hour jaunt.
European destinations for last-minute villa holidays
The continent right next door is an obvious choice for a last-minute escape. Not only is it relatively easy to get to, with countless budget carriers and even international train services linking it to London and beyond, but it's also got countless villas to choose from.
Choose last-minute villas in the Canary Islands
Part of the reason that Spain's southerly, sub-tropical archipelago is such a great hunting ground for late villa deals is that there are so many rentals on offer. From the sinewy mountains and volcanic plugs of otherworldly Lanzarote to the gold-flecked beaches that fringe wild Fuerteventura, you could have plenty of options to pick from.
The Balearic isles often have late deals on villa holidays
Another Spanish temptation for those in search of last-minute holidays is the speckling of islands that makes up the Balearic chain. Ibiza is probably the most famous, but that's usually booked for the whole season. Better options are on Mallorca, which has café-backed beaches and lots of homes for rent in resorts like Port de Pollenca, and smaller Menorca, which is bejewelled by stunning coves like Cala Mitjana.
Discover last-minute villas in Italy
You might think that a trickier prospect for last-minute holiday villas is Italy. However, there are plenty of places to look at off the beaten track which are ideal for that spontaneous trip. Regions like Marche and Lazio have lots of homes nestled in their undulating landscapes. What's more, they are well served by regional airports with low-cost flights, whether that's into Rome, Bologna or Rimini.
Long-haul destinations with great late villa deals
If you're feeling the pull of adventure and want something out of the ordinary for your impromptu getaway, it might be worth considering somewhere further afield. Often, the greatest challenge is finding flights that won't break the bank, because there are usually plenty of late villa deals in the more exotic reaches of the world.
Florida's enticing last-minute villa deals
The whole family is bound to be excited by the prospect of an unplanned hop across the Atlantic to fun-loving Florida. You'll need to contend with stateside vacationers who love to snap up rentals in the Sunshine State whenever they become available. However, the prizes are clear to see – Orlando's corkscrewing roller coasters, the quartz-white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and the neon-lit clubs of Miami Beach.
Bali begs for surfers with its late villa deals
The fabled Isle of the Gods is the jewel in the crown of Indonesia. It's a real bucket-list place with shores that are washed by wild waves and jungles inhabited by macaques. The abundance of villa rentals in Bali means that many are left un-booked, so there is scope for a last-minute package if you can find the flights. The other bonus is that Bali's high season crosses over with the UK school breaks, running from May to late July.
Thailand's beaches on a late deal
The tried-and-tested holidaying mecca of Thailand is a fine place to seek out modern villas when time is pressing. There are plenty about, especially on the palm-fringed islands of the Andaman and the Thai Gulf.
Cheap destinations that can have last-minute villas
One of the big draws of leaving it late to bag that holiday is the attractive rates that follow. You can try to save even more by opting for somewhere that's already easy on the wallet. There are a couple of suggestions below.
Bulgaria entices with its last-minute villa deals
The Bulgarian coast is washed by the bath-warm waters of the Black Sea. It's a hubbub of life come the summer months, when 18-30s hubs like Sunny Beach go into overdrive. Close to that is the fascinating city of Varna, which has onion-domed churches and rollicking taverns that serve local fare. The nation also happens to be one of the most affordable in Europe.
Get late deals on villa holidays in Portugal
While spontaneous trips to the much-trodden Algarve in the south of Portugal aren't so easy to come by, it's worth remembering that there's a whole other side to this Iberian nation. Try northern Portugal instead. Villas crowd around the city of Porto and spill into beach towns like Espinho there, offering much more value for money.
Bag a last-minute villa in Greece
While the cost of rentals in Greece might not be significantly lower than in Italy or France, there are bargains to be had at the 11th-hour because there's simply more sun for more of the year this far south. In fact, it's possible to score late villa deals in Crete and Kos in months like May and October, when the days are still filled with rays and high temperatures.