Everybody wants to travel the world but not everybody enjoys planning their dream getaway months prior. With most travel blogs telling us to “book the trip in advance”, it may seem impossible to instantly reward yourself with a nature break tomorrow as you’re randomly reading this article from your work computer today.
Good news: it’s not impossible. And sometimes booking trips at the last minute is an exciting way to satisfy your wanderlust while saving money.
Do you have a couple of minutes? Before you schedule your trip in a bit, check out this detailed guide first! We’ll share some hacks for planning and booking an affordable and memorable last-minute adventure that can turn your life around this weekend… or even tomorrow. Also Read: San Diego Vacation Rentals with Private Pool
1. Select the right destination
Okay, the first question is: where to go? What are your interests? If you have no specific place in mind but your heart just knows you need to get away, then last-minute trips might be for you. Here are some ideas when finding the right destination:
- Be open-minded: Are you open to exploring destinations you might not have considered before? How about travelling with like-minded strangers on a group tour? Flexibility is your greatest asset when booking last-minute trips, as it’ll give you a wider range of travel options. You just need to have a general idea of what you want (for instance, a beach getaway or a historical tour) and a preferred travel date.
- Think about local getaways: let’s be realistic: it’s impossible to escape to Paris, France overnight — unless you’re a celebrity or someone renowned. So consider nearby cities or regions that you can reach quickly. Sometimes, hidden gems are just a short drive, bus commute, or train ride away. Also Read: San Diego Home Rentals with Pool
2. Explore your public transportation options
- Flight Deals: Use flight comparison websites like Skyscanner, Google Flights, or Kayak to search for last-minute airfare deals. Sign up for fare alerts from airlines and travel websites to receive notifications about discounted flights. Be flexible with your departure and return dates to find the best deals.
- Check Rewards: Check if you have frequent flyer miles, credit card points, or loyalty rewards that can be redeemed for travel.
- Alternative Transportation: If flying isn’t an option, consider buses, trains, or carpooling services for affordable travel. Think about ferries too, giving you sightseeing experiences before you even reach your target destination.
3. Secure your hotel or accommodation
If you already know where to go and how to go there, the next step is to find where to lodge.
- Search for last-minute hotel deals online. Use hotel booking websites like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, and aggregator websites like Kayak to search for last-minute hotel deals. You may also browse hotel apps like HotelTonight, which specialize in last-minute hotel bookings.
- Hotel alternatives: Running out of hotel options? Try finding alternative accommodation options, which may be more willing to accept last-minute bookings. These include hostels, vacation rentals on Airbnb, hostels, university accommodation, and B&Bs. This cheap accommodation in Dublin, for example, offers a selection of modern visitor suites for frugal travellers exploring the expensive city.
- Book direct: In most cases, calling hotels directly can lead to better rates or room upgrades, especially when they have empty rooms to fill.
4. Plan activities and experiences that require no reservations
It’s possible to make the most out of your trip even when planning on short notice. Also Read: San Diego Pool Rental
Art and Culture
- Visit museums or local art galleries
- Attend live performances including concerts, theatre shows, or sporting events.
- Discover the city’s street art installations, craft markets, and exhibits
- Attend local festivals, parades, and cultural events
- Go to workshops or classes that interest you
Food, shopping, and everything indulgent
- Explore the local food scene
- Take a wine or brewery tour
- Wander through the local markets that sell handicrafts, food, clothing, and souvenirs
- Pamper yourself at a spa
- Spend time sightseeing, taking photographs, and creating travel journals
- Join a guided walking tour to explore the city’s history, architecture, or culture.
- Visit historical landmarks, castles, or ancient ruins
Nature and Outdoors
- Relax at the beach:
- Find nearby natural wonders like waterfalls, caves, or wildlife reserves
- Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, or strolls through parks and botanical gardens.
- Try adventure sports like zip-lining, rock climbing, or white-water rafting.
- Find a scenic spot and enjoy a picnic
Check if you can go as a walk-in traveller. Consider engaging with locals too and ask for recommendations on unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences. Also Read: CAPE MAY RENTALS
5. Curb your spending
One of the disadvantages of spontaneous travelling is you’re more likely to overspend than you would if you planned ahead. However, it’s possible to cut your travel costs if you can anticipate the following crucial expenses:
- Travel light: Pack efficiently to avoid baggage fees and delays. A carry-on bag can save you time and money.
- Use public transportation: Instead of taxis or rental cars, use public transportation to get around the city or region.
- Meal planning: Explore local markets and street food vendors for affordable dining experiences. Opt for picnic-style meals to save even more.
- Discount passes: Check if your destination offers city passes or tourist cards that provide discounts on attractions and transportation.
- Free attractions: Research free museums, parks, and cultural attractions in your destination to enjoy budget-friendly entertainment.
6. Save money with these online booking hacks
When we find suitable last-minute deals, we tend to act fast and book right away before it’s too late. However, it’s still important to practice caution and see if you can do something to get the best deal possible.
- Clear browser cookies: When searching for deals online, use incognito mode or clear your browser’s cookies to prevent dynamic pricing.
- Negotiate: If booking directly with accommodations, don’t hesitate to negotiate for better rates, especially for last-minute bookings.
- Read reviews: even in a hurry, take a moment to read reviews and ratings from previous guests to ensure the quality of your last-minute accommodation. Also Read: CAPE MAY NJ VACATION RENTALS BY OWNER
7. Before you go: be informed
Travel responsibly and don’t leave without doing the following:
- Check travel advisories: Ensure you’re aware of any travel advisories, visa requirements, road closures, and other guidelines for your destination.
- List down your emergency contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities and your country’s embassy or consulate.
- Stay connected: Have a working phone with data and an emergency charger to stay connected while traveling.
Now, go ahead and book that much-needed adventure, and be open to unexpected opportunities during your journey!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a foodie and travel buff who enjoys writing articles about travel and money-saving. Aside from sharing travel hacks, she spends most of her time playing the piano and guitar. If you want to know more about budget travel and affordable hotel alternatives, visit DCU Rooms.