Last-Minute Holidays with SnapTrip.com

School’s wrapped up and you’ve no place to go? Fear not, SnapTrip is here.

As the school year draws to a close, we’ve all been inundated with obligations—sports days, summer fairs, end-of-year performances of uneven quality. You can be forgiven for not finding time to make summer travel plans amid all the fanfare. But now you’re looking at six weeks (or more) before school starts up again; perhaps you’re suddenly more desperate for departure.

Of course, many travel companies take advantage of this desperation, increasingly jacking up prices the closer it gets to the day of travel. But being belated need not mean forking over loads of cash—or foregoing a holiday altogether. We’ve just discovered being more grasshopper than ant may even get you a bargain: SnapTrip is a new company that specialises in last-minute deals for self-catering cottages across the UK, and as such it’s a godsend for busy parents (or just plain old procrastinators). The website starts with the premise that rather than being punished with higher prices for late travel plans, people should be rewarded for renting properties that would otherwise have earned nothing by sitting empty.


This makes SnapTrip useful not just for family holidays but for spontaneous romantic getaways as well. The in-laws just offered to babysit for the weekend? Get out of town to a cosy Cotswolds cottage. Half term arrives and you’ve got itchy feet? Pack up the family and leg it to the Lake District. My search for a two-bedroom house for a few weeks from now (yes, I am the target customer, as I confess to having planned exactly zero travel for the summer) turned up a lovely 18th century stone cottage on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, discounted 15 percent to £84 per night. Searching for nearer dates, you may find a place at 30 percent off, or more. If you’re overwhelmed by the options and only want to escape the city cheaply, click on “Just show me next week’s great deals”. Impressively, the site claims you can reserve a property and be there within the hour.


Anyone can book a place on SnapTrip—you need only join with your email to access the site—but its founders had parents particularly in mind when they set up the company earlier this year. Matt Fox and Dan Harrison (I know Dan from the playground of my kids’ school) both have young children and thus are only too familiar with the difficulties of travelling abroad with kids. They also grew up in Oxfordshire and Dorset, respectively, and know it’s good for kids to get out into the bucolic expanses of our green and pleasant land. The next time you have a spur-of-the-moment urge to get away, it’s worth checking out SnapTrip. Your search may send you to the coast of Cornwall, the wilds of Wales, or the mountains of the Scottish Highlands—without paying a mountain of money.

Have a look at SnapTrip.com.



About the author:
Elisa moved to London seven years ago from San Francisco, where, in pre-children days, she was the managing editor at Sierra magazine. She lived in Brook Green and Notting Hill before settling in Chiswick, where she lives with her book-loving daughter, train-loving son, and thickly moustachioed husband.