Are you just waking up and catching the travel bug this summer? While everyone at work seems to be on vacation, I’ve ended up filling in for them chained to my desk. But I’m starting to wonder why I’m spending so much time at the office instead of sipping on a margarita by the ocean. As the temporary boss in town for the week, I think it’s time to reward myself with my own vacation! I was a little worried about breaking the bank. But with a little research, the world is at your fingertips. Well, a good part of the world, at least. Follow these tips and you can be off on what may end up being the last minute latecation of your dreams.
Go anywhere – literally!
Lots of flight search websites no longer make you choose your destination. Yes, this is on purpose! Type your starting point (making sure to be flexible with all airports in your local area to maximize deals) and then choose “everywhere” as your destination. You might be pleasantly surprised with the options that pop up. Don’t doubt them if they don’t seem so trendy or cutting edge. Check out TripAdvisor and become the next ambassador of that off the beaten path destination. After all, that’s exactly how I ended up going here.
Off Season, On Budget
We all have that friend who insists on an over the top trip to a destination they’re dead set on. Leaving from a specific airport at an exact time in their favorite aircraft type, seat, and row preference. Take, for example, Miami during spring break. Prices are usually sky high, so you’ll likely shell out more than you would want to on either lodging or flights. But if you can take the heat in the summer, you can end up spending less than half the price. Believe me, if you can deal with the horrifying humidity of the New York subway platforms, Miami will be a piece of cake. Think about going to warm, beachy destinations like Florida and Puerto Rico that have their off seasons in the summer. It’ll be much easier to find a deal, especially if it’s last minute.
Forget the Flight
Think outside the box—sometimes it’s not as far as you might think to get to a new and exciting destination on the road. And not to worry, if you don’t have a car, there’s always the bus or train. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. Sites like Wanderu help you to compare prices and duration of bus and train transport. Get even more creative by breaking up the journey. I decided to make some last minute plans to head to Montreal this summer, but wasn’t so excited about an 8 hour bus ride or $350 round trip flight from NYC. With a break halfway to visit Albany and explore the Berkshires with my friend who keeps asking me to visit—why not? Dust off that contact list and think about opportunities to meet up with those friends in long lost destinations.
If you’re stuck on having the independence of a car, don’t feel like you have to succumb to the exorbitant prices from rental companies. The automobile has entered the sharing economy, a business that’s growing exponentially by the day. Check out sites like Turo, Getaround, and Car2Go for cars that you can rent from neighbors right in your hood. Lots of times car owners will make a last minute trip, so it won’t be a problem for your spur-of-the-moment decision to pack up and go.
There’s an App for That
These sites and apps will be your best friends when the clock is ticking to book that trip.
You can find last-minute deals on what can be quite pricey digs. From a $129 a night 4-star-hotel in New York City, to a $35 a night Four Points Sheraton stay in Mexico City, this app has you covered. Why not use it to inspire your destination to begin with? Available on iOS and Android.
There are lots of times hotels will have last minute cancellations that they can’t rebook in time. That’s where Roomer comes in. This app allows users to sell their unused room reservation to a willing buyer. Since you pay the person directly rather than the hotel to take over their reservation, you end up getting a much better deal. London for $32 a night, sign me up!
Priceline’s Name Your Price feature allows you to set the maximum price you’re willing to pay for a flight or hotel. If the price drops to be within your specified range, you’ll get an email alert so that you can get on that last minute deal — and if it doesn’t, you can always enjoy a staycation. Secret Flying is another great option for last minute deals since it points out airline pricing errors.
I would ask what you’re waiting for, but I’d be wrong in this case! Wait until the time is right for you if you’re still unsure of what your travel plans are. Maybe it won’t be until everyone has left you in the office to take up the slack, though hopefully you don’t end up making my same mistake. Regardless, there will always be some kind of last minute travel deal for you to jump on.