Last-minute holidays have been around for longer than most of us care to remember. But are they still worth it?

The holiday industry has evolved significantly over recent years. Following the global downturn, and the numerous high-profile situations where travel companies went bust and left customers stranded overseas, the market has undergone massive changes.

Malawi Lake

Every element of the travel industry has been affected. The once rock-bottom cost of so-called cheap flights has rocketed as fuel charges, taxes, VAT and dwindling airline profits have all played a part in pushing prices up. The leisure industry in general has been forced to accommodate changing consumer attitudes and adapt to survive, as spare cash becomes squeezed.

You might think that the low-cost appeal of last-minute holidays would bring sun-seekers flocking. But given the nature of the holiday market, many tour operators have been forced to increase their prices in one way or another. This of course has had a knock-on effect on all holidays, including last minute escapes.

So prices have, unsurprisingly, gone up. But there are still plenty of bargains to be had in the late holiday market, otherwise let’s face it, the whole market would have simply dried up. And some of them are shockingly good value too.

Take a look at last minute holiday deals with The Co-operative Travel, for instance. You may be surprised at what you find – and it’s not all limited to the usual suspects like the Spanish Costas. You could be jetting off to the Greek islands, the beautiful coast of Turkey or even exotic locations like Dubai on a shoestring.

Yes, you’ll need to be selective, and it’s no good approaching the last minute market with a list of specific criteria. Be as flexible and open-minded as possible, and you may just find yourself booking a last-minute escape for much less than you expected. Go on, take a look – what have you got to lose?