Stop, Drop and Pack: 6 Expert Tips For Last-Minute Vacations

Maybe departure day snuck up on you, or maybe you were bitten by a travel bug. Either way, you have less than three weeks to plan your escape, and you know what? That’s okay. Here are six tips to help you get out the door, pronto!

Maybe departure day snuck up on you, or maybe you got an unexpected bite from a renegade travel bug and it ITCHES. Either way, you have less than three weeks to plan your escape, and you know what? That’s okay. It’s not too late to get away. Here are six last-minute vacation tips to help you get out the door, pronto!

1. Life Is A Highway.

It’s normal to take things for granted. You know, like family time…and the city you live in. Chances are, there are some awesome sights and quirky roadside attractions (the world’s largest brick, anyone?) just a few hours away. For a quick getaway that’s close to home, David Bakke, Travel Expert at Money Crashers®, recommends checking out your state’s tourism website. “You'll find plenty of hidden gems you probably never knew about.” This is a great way to explore new territory on the double and for next to nothing. If you want the road trip experience and a serious change of scenery, consider a fly-away road trip. Just hop on a plane, jump in a car and get on your way!

2. Flexible Dates Mean Better Rates.

This expert tip comes from The Dining Traveler, Jessica van Dop DeJesús. When airlines, hotels and cruise ships aren’t fully booked for a fast-approaching trip, sometimes you can go for even less than the people who booked months in advance. Visit sites like Kayak.com® 2-3 weeks out to check availability and score deals on airfare and accommodations. Google Flights is another great tool offering a simple, at-a-glance view of your options—which makes securing the lowest fare as easy as (eating) pie. Saving money in the beginning means you can say, “yes!” to that upgrade at the rental car counter. You know, instead of hitchhiking.

3. Don’t Forget To Coordinate.

The excitement of finding a good deal has been known to cloud judgment. Like that time you bought those wild neon floral shorts because they were on sale. Or that time you entered the hot wing-eating contest to get a free lunch. You catch our drift. So, before you book that great deal on your flight, check hotel availability. And vice versa. In fact, there’s an app for that. It’s called Hotel Tonight® and it can help you find last-minute hotel deals wherever you’re traveling.

4. Book A Room. Or A Whole Place.

By renting from hosts on sites like airbnb.com, you may have more last-minute options and get more space for your money. You can take advantage of the typical creature comforts of home, and you’ll be staying off the beaten “tourist” path. After all, the best way to experience the culture is to live like a local. If you decide to go the hotel room route, they’re usually cheaper during the week…or at the last possible minute.

5. Explore The Locale For Less.

With apps like Groupon®, LivingSocial®, and Open Table®, you can practically plan your trip when you’re en route. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as flying by the seat of your stretchy pants. Travel Writer Angela Betancourt loves Groupon for last-minute vacations because it’s a great way to find deals and discover new things to do, like adventure tours and live shows. With Open Table, you can make reservations on the fly, based on current availability. You’ll get a sampling of the city and an opportunity to exercise your spontaneity.

6. Keep Your Bank In The Loop.

Greg Geronemus, Co-CEO of smarTours recommends calling your credit card company before you leave to let them know when and where you will be traveling. Most banks keep an eye out for unusual purchase activity and you’ll want to make sure they know it is you who is charging hand woven baskets at street festivals in Arkansas. Souvenir shopping can go sour if you forget this important step. Calling ahead will help prevent any hassles and the dreaded word “declined”.

What are you still doing here? Bon voyage!

 

 

Money Crashers is a registered trademark of SparkCharge Media, LLC.
Kayak.com is a registered trademark of Kayak Software Corporation.
Google is a registered trademark of Google Inc.
Hotel Tonight is a registered trademark of Hotel Tonight, Inc.
Airbnb is a registered trademark of AirBed & Breakfast, Inc.
Groupon is a registered trademark of Groupon, Inc.
LivingSocial is a registered trademark of LivingSocial, Inc.
Open Table is a registered trademark of Open Table, Inc.
smarTours is a trademark of smarTours.