Context. Low and intermediate mass stars lose a significant fraction of their mass through a dust-driven wind during the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase. Recent studies show that winds from late-type stars are far from being smooth. Mass-loss variations occur on different time scales, from years to tens of thousands of years. The variations appear to be particularly prominent towards the end of the AGB evolution. The occurrence, amplitude and time scale of these variations are still not well understood.