Maybe it’s been a rough week. Maybe you’re just feeling impulsive, or have a case of wanderlust. Either way, the weekend is fast approaching and you’re itching to get out of town. But is a last minute vacation practical? We travel on short notice often, so we understand the hectic nature of a trip on a whim. However there are several things you can do to plan a last minute trip that won’t drain your bank account.
Staying local as possible is a great way to plan a last minute trip. If you don’t have to worry about booking a flight (which are pricey when you want to go somewhere short-notice) your options are greater for more dinners out, or entertainment. Is there something you’ve been itching to do that’s within a few hours drive? A last minute trip is the best time to take care of your “local” bucket list. With so much to do in each region of the United States, you’ll be hard pressed for boredom.
If you have to fly to your destination of choice, there are some websites you should explore before booking the flight. Sites like Hipmunk and Invisible Hand will give you instant alerts to the cheapest flights to your destination. The important thing to keep in mind when booking on short-notice: Be flexible. You may have to take an extra layover or leave at an undesirable time, but you may find a quick flight easier on the budget if you have wiggle room.
Once you have your destination in mind, and figure out how to get there, try to research a few things you can do online. Planning sounds counter-intuitive to a quick trip, however if you spend some time making a plan, you won’t feel like the vacation is one giant rush. Odds are if you’re doing a trip last minute you are probably leaving for a weekend. That means you want to focus your energy on relaxing while you’re at your destination, not figuring out what to do on a whim. If you’re flying, spend the extra on wifi on the plan and do your planning while you travel. If you’re traveling in a car with someone, have them help.
How do you plan where to stay without much notice? In our experience hotels can be more expensive the closer to the arrival date you book. So explore AirBnB and Trivago for the best deals. My opinion is AirBnB has become inflated in pricing, but it’s good for short-notice. AirBnB is also great for solo travelers, who may want to visit a new place and get advice from locals. Trivago will give you all the hotel deals in the area all together so you can quickly narrow your search.
Pro Tip about Trivago: Sometimes I’ve found hotels cheaper on their websites than on Trivago, so once you have the hotel you want to stay at in mind, visit its website first to compare costs.