You’ve done it again. The holidays are almost here and you’ve put off making your reservations. Well, the good news is, procrastinators have a few things going for them when it comes to booking last-minute vacations. When you’re flexible and well, desperate, doors tend to open where you’d least expect. Here are some tips to help you find those last minute deals and make the most of your holiday travel experience:

#1 Don’t Follow the Flock

Think about how the masses travel during the holidays and do the exact opposite. Is everyone else taking United, Delta and American? Try Southwest, Spirit and Frontier. Then, take the red eye that flies out at midnight or the Christmas morning flight that no one wants. The extra trouble may be easier on your wallet.

#2 Take the Gamble

On the fence about going home for the holidays? Let fate decide for you. Check Google Flight Search every day or get alerts through Yapta and wait it out for the perfect fare. Willing to book a flight or hotel a day in advance? The Flight Tonight and Hotel Tonight apps may reward your spontaneity.

#3 Put Your Perks to Work

If you’ve got frequent flier miles, hotel points or rental car rewards, use them. Also, keep in mind that your credit cards and club memberships often include valuable discounts and perks that can help you save on hotels, airport parking, ground transportation, rental cars and more. Just be sure to check your benefits before you book.

#4 Get the Whole Package

Sometimes it’s more cost effective to buy a package instead of a flight, even if you don’t use all of it. Just make sure you read the terms carefully.Looking for additional discounts on vacation packages? See what your club memberships and credit cards have to offer.

#5 Use the Right Credit Card

What’s the right card? It’s the one that will get you the best deal and provide the most protection for your trip. Aside from cards that provide points and miles, some cards, like MasterCardÑ?дН Black, provide certain benefits, should your travel plans go awry. These benefits include trip cancellation insurance, lost or damaged luggage insurance, hotel/motel burglary insurance and more.

Have you ever taken a last-minute vacation? What worked best for you?