8 Hacks On Booking Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Accommodation

by Kida

It’s the last week of the year, who else hasn’t planned anything for New Year’s Eve and starting to panic now? *Raises Hand* I briefly looked up on accommodation bookings, it seems like everywhere is fully booked. Our lives are so busy in today’s world for various reasons that more often than not, we leave things to the last minute.

How early do you book your holidays in advance?

Sometimes we just can’t commit to certain dates and places to book a holiday until we hear the jingle bells ring. Unfortunately for us, that’s when all the good deals and accommodation get snapped up, even the crappy places seem to be booked out, but fret not!

In this post, we think outside of the box and share 8 awesome tips on how to book your last-minute New Year’s Eve accommodation even when all the hotels, motels, resorts and holiday parks seem to be fully booked.


1. Pick up the phone and CALL!

Are you frantically looking for a New Year’s Eve accommodation on your favourite hotel booking apps and comparison sites? Or spending hours browsing through hotel websites for availability but not getting anywhere? I’ve been there.

woman holding phone sitting at beautiful azure blue lake in South Island New Zealand

But do you know what I’ve realised? It’s so much more efficient to pick up the phone and speak to someone at your desired accommodation, for one, it saves time trying to navigate through their website pages, or putting in the dates and number of people over and over again in apps.

The most frustrating thing of all is the availabilities are not even updated in real-time. Cancellations are not reflected, and it’s all too common for hotels to not even list their rooms on third-party hotel booking apps due to popularity.

So, pick up your phone and be bothered to call! Speak with the reception or reservations team and check if there are any cancellations or alternative dates and options that may work for you. Could you switch rooms if one room isn’t available across the dates you need?

2. Alternative bedding configurations

This tip is especially useful for families with baby or kids. When you’re searching for hotel availability, are you stubbornly putting in every single member of the family including your 2 months old baby? Before you judge me for dishonesty, read on.

It happened so often to our family that when we put in our infant as an occupant, the hotel rooms that would otherwise be available all of the sudden disappear from the list. That’s because some booking systems recognise the infant as an independent person who requires a bed space as well. But when we travel with infants, they either sleep with a parent or in a portable cot in most cases.

Other times, you may have… say 2 adults and 1 child, but a room with 1 king bed wouldn’t show up on the search result, because technically a king bed only fits 2. But what if you have the option of a rollaway bed or a sofa bed, like one of our stays below.

Hotel Sofa Bed Bedding Configuration

Before you confirm the booking, simply put in the notes section that you have an infant or toddler travelling with you, if they do charge extra, just pay on check in. (In most cases, infants are free anyway)

When searching for availability for a family, put in the number of adults only (2) and see if anything comes up, then look into bedding configurations to see whether you can add a portable cot, rollaway bed or a pull-out sofa bed as an alternative option.

3. Downsize or upsize your accommodation requirements

It makes a lot of sense that the most common room types get booked out first, so let’s think outside the box and consider either downsizing or upsizing the accommodation you require. Are you able to split your group into 2 and take 2 small studios? What about sharing a 3-bedroom apartment with another family like we did below.

The latter idea is so good that it actually cuts down the costs of your accommodation. Sometimes you could be paying the price of a basic studio for the best penthouse in the hotel when you split the costs in half with your friends, not to mention how much fun you’ll have on New Year’s Eve!

Uncommon room types are usually the last to go, so your chances of getting accommodation for New Year’s Eve will increase if you can consider uncommon room types such as a large family penthouse to share with your family-friends.

4. Try camping

Have you tried every type of accommodation there is? Hotels, motels, yurts, lodges, cabins, holiday parks, glamping, caravan, campervan, hey how about camping?

In my years of experience in putting together a last-minute holiday (yes hubby loves doing that to me), I find there is always a free patch of grass somewhere in a campsite. Maybe not the big branded holiday parks at the most well-known destinations, but in most cases, unpowered sites rarely get snatched up to the last pinch of grass.

If you don’t have all the camping gear, search around for a rent-a-tent option like the one we stayed at below, or search for camping gear hires.

Rent a Tent Camping Holiday Park

So look out for the not-so-popular campsites with good reviews and call them to find out if there are any campsites available to pitch a tent over New Year’s Eve. If you’re wondering what are the things you need to pack to camp with a family, download our free PDF camping with kids essentials checklist here.

5. Events with accommodation

Do you have New Year’s Eve events and festivals lined up already? If you’re still searching for somewhere to stay on New Year’s Eve, look up your nearest 3-days music festivals that include camping onsite.

We live in New Zealand, and although we’re a family with 2 young kids, there are 2 very popular NYE family-friendly music festivals here in Auckland that run across multiple days where you have the option to go camping in a beautiful park.

New Year's Eve Events Camping Campsite

So look for your nearest New Year’s Eve events that run across multiple days and include camping under the stars for ticket holders.

6. Farmstay, Airbnb and holiday rentals

If you haven’t already, search for accommodation on Airbnb or other holiday rentals websites. If nothing is available today, try again tomorrow, people are listing their homes regularly during the holiday seasons.

We found this Airbnb barn below, it’s in the middle of nowhere and not close to any attractions, and really enjoyed our stay surprisingly!

Airbnb barn farmstay holiday rental mum with kids enjoying coffee at sunrise

Search alternative accommodation options such as Farmstay, Airbnb*, Book A Bach^ and Stayz^ to see if you can find something that’s less commonly found by other travellers.

7. Somewhere remote?

Do you know every nook or your city/town or country? Jump on Google Maps and have a look which region is new to you, search ‘attractions’ and see what comes up. Find a new point of interest and explore the remote regions of your country, get off the beaten track and you might just find a hidden gem!

Remote holiday house beautiful scenery in the middle of nowhere off the beaten track

Get out of your comfort zone and explore the unknown, it can be a lake in the middle of nowhere, a river in a forest, a seaside town that you’ve never heard of. Go somewhere remote and not known by tourists, find the hidden gems and the accommodation that no one knows about!

8. House party

If you have exhausted all the options above, don’t worry, we can still throw an epic New Year’s Eve house party. Invite your last-minute-and-nowhere-to-go friends over, decorate your house with some lights, it’s the attitude to celebrate that counts!

Cook up a storm and prepare a feast, find a party playlist and stream some movies, crack open some beers, wait for the midnight countdowns and watch your city’s fireworks on live TV! Sounds like a pretty good laid back New Year’s Eve to me!

Christmas lighting house decoration events

Don’t Be A Stranger!

Like, share and comment below if you find this post useful, or tag us on Instagram @kidatravel!

In the meantime…

How is your New Year’s Eve planning going? Do you have any other tricks and tips to put together a last-minute New Year’s Eve holiday?

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