How do I Plan a Last Minute Vacation?

A last minute vacation can be a wonderful surprise and a spontaneous escape from the ordinary. Although normally held over a weekend or a few short days, it can be a great way to recharge yourself for your daily routine and have a quick adventure. You might think that a last minute vacation will cost a ton of money, but you may actually be able to save a few dollars if you plan smart.

If you decide to take a last minute vacation to an area you stay in frequently, call your usual accommodations and see if they offer discount rates to repeat customers. If you have met the manager on your earlier trips, ask to speak to them and explain your situation. Many small hotels and inns appreciate customer loyalty and may give you a great deal.

Even if you don’t have inside connections with the innkeepers, some hotels offer last-minute deals on empty rooms. Bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels will often have rooms that they cannot fill, and making some money is better than making none at all. Talk carefully, and you may be able to convince them to give you a discount rate even if they do not offer them as a usual special. Be polite, open, and tell them about how much you need a quick vacation or have decided to surprise your significant other after a bad week.

A last minute vacation doesn’t have to be thousands of miles away. Save on airfare and travel by car or train to a destination nearby. Visit a town you’ve never been to before, or stay a few nights in a city that you only go to for day trips. You will get a whole different view of the area after visiting overnight, and may discover new and exciting spots for future visits. Local escapes can be just as relaxing as jetting off to Hawaii for the weekend, and will probably give you more time at your destination.

If, however, you are determined to fly to Naples for a spectacular pizza this weekend, now is the time to try and use your frequent flyer miles. If you accumulate miles through a credit card or airline program, trade them in if at all possible. Last minute flights are often expensive, but check online travel sites. Nearly all offer some deals on flights within a few days, so you may get lucky and find a great bargain for your destination.

In terms of dealing with briefly abandoning your home life, now is the time to beg for a house sitter. Older, responsible teenagers are often thrilled with the chance to get out of their parents’ house for a weekend, and can be begged into feeding the pets, so tap any mature young cousins or siblings you will trust in the house. Leave them easy instructions, some food in the fridge, lock the liquor cabinet and bring them back a keychain.

The key to a great last minute vacation is a refusal to stress about details. This is a whirlwind tour, not a well-planned trip, so prepare for a little chaos and relax. Use your last minute vacation to de-stress, to treat a tired loved one, or to indulge a new romance. If your friends give you a hard time about your unbreakable routine and stately pace through life, take an opportunity to follow John Muir once in a while, and “throw a loaf of bread and pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence.”


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