How to Plan a Last-Minute Vacation
Feeling the need to break away from your routine and go somewhere for a quick holiday, even just for the weekend? With traveling being so accessible nowadays, it’s not that difficult for anyone to plan for an amazing last-minute vacation with just a few clicks. Below are the hoops you have to go through to make it all happen at a whim:
- Know your budget
As traveling requires money, it is important to know how much you’re willing to spend before you start making any plans. This constraint will dictate where you’re going to go and how long you’re going to be there, so it is best to know your spending limitation upfront to get your plans all straightened out right away.
If you truly don’t have a spending limit, just go straight away to luxury vacation-planning sites such as Jetsetter.com. These websites often have tempting getaway deals, whether you just want a staycation in New York or a tanning session at the Bahamas.
- Choose your destination
With your budget set, it’s time for you to start breaking down your options. Can you fly internationally or can you only afford an out-of-town trip? Regardless of what you’re willing to spend, just be open to all the possibilities. Unfortunately, not everyone can just go to an airport and book the next flight out to their dream destination. So, you have to make do with anything that could fit your budget and whatever time you can afford to make! Chances are, they may be a lot of places you haven’t thought of yet that could make for an excellent choice, especially for a last-minute trip. Sometimes driving just an hour or two outside your city is enough to do the trick, so don’t get hung up in finding grand far-away destinations. Maybe all you need is just to get away from your environment and do the same fun things somewhere else.
- Find cheap transportation tickets
There are many ways to find a cheap flight online nowadays, from Google Flights to Kayak.com. Whatever website you decide to use, make sure to double check from two other sources to confirm you’re really getting the best deal there is. You can also use the website of the airline itself to see if they’re reserving cheaper tickets for those that book directly through their online booking platform. When searching for flights, always use a date range to identify the best possible rates within your desired travel period. Additionally, you’ll find cheaper flights on weekday evenings and red-eye time slots.
For those who are going somewhere closer, best to look for cheap train or bus tickets, so you don’t have to worry about the hassles of car rentals. There are many inexpensive bus lines that have frequent rides to and from big cities such as Boston and New York. Passenger train services also subsidize tickets during non-peak season, so that can be a good option for you, as well, if you’re looking to go somewhere a bit further. There are also group bus tour operators that make it really easy for you to travel to multi-cities for a jam-packed weekend.
If you don’t mind riding with strangers, check out Rideshare groups on Facebook to see if there are other locals in your city who are driving off to your destination. Most of these people really just want to recover their gas costs, so carpooling won’t cost you a fortune. Reality is, last-minute vacations do not have to be costly, if you just know where to look.
- Find a place to stay
Most of the time, your travel budget dictates where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do in your destination. Yet, it shouldn’t limit you from making the most out of your trip. Instead of booking the next available hotel room you see online, check out Airbnb.com to find a room or an entire apartment for you and your travel buddies. Not only are they usually cheaper, they have a more local feel that makes people easily feel at home. Some owners even share breakfasts, drinks or games with their guests, especially if you’re just renting a private room in their property.
If your budget is really steep, go to Couchsurfing.com and look for a host who’s willing to let you crash on their couch for a night or two. While many people are uncomfortable with this set-up, it’s a terribly good option if you’re looking to save on paying for a bed in a hostel.
- Call a travel agent
A lot of seasoned travelers who prefer to do everything on your own almost always refuse to pick up their phones and call a travel agent. Yet, if you don’t have the luxury of time to plan a quick getaway, it’s an incredibly good option. Even if you’re not looking for their assistance to fully arrange for all your flight and hotel bookings, getting their second opinion on the rates you’ve gotten can go a long way in ensuring you’re getting the best bang for the buck.
Nowadays, there are even travel agents who specialize in experiential traveling. They do not only help you make the necessary arrangements for your flight and accommodations, they also create a customized itinerary based on your preferred activities and interests. Once again, it’s an incredibly good option if you’re running low on time and just want to get away ASAP!
Reality is, many people are afraid to be spontaneous about booking last-minute vacations due to how expensive it can get. Yet, doing some research beforehand and knowing where to look for deals can surely help you score some incredible savings. Go over these tips a bit more in detail and see for yourself how a last-minute trip doesn’t necessarily have to require a massive budget. With a little creativity and help from kind strangers all over, you’re surely going to have a memorable trip minus the serious damage on your bank account!