Short on time? This is how to plan your trip in a snap.
Many people spend months planning a vacation. Doing things well ahead of time can come with many benefits. You’ve got time to find great deals and it gives you something to look forward to, but it can be just as much fun to plan a last-minute vacation.
Taking a trip on a whim can be invigorating, but it can be difficult too. Without the extra time to plan, your vacation could end up being a disaster.
It’s true that it could be a disaster, but it doesn’t have to be! There are a few tips and tricks that will help you make sure your last-minute vacay is just as enjoyable as one you’ve been planning for months.
Purchase a Vacation Package
Planning what to do when you’re on vacation can be overwhelming. You have to think about where you’re going to stay, what you’re going to do, and when you’re going to do it. Instead of planning everything individually, or not planning anything at all and leaving it all up to chance, purchase a vacation package.
For example, Branson is a popular destination for live entertainment, so they make it easy for you to see some of the best shows in the area. You can combine two or three nights in a hotel with your choice of multiple shows to see during your stay.
Not only is planning this way easy, it’s more affordable too. The more your vacation package includes, the more money you’ll save!
Be Flexible About Your Destination
Chances are, if you’re planning a last-minute trip, price is a huge consideration. Timing is a huge consideration too. Planning a last-minute trip means heading out the door to your destination as soon as possible!
If you can’t be flexible about timing, and you can’t be flexible about price, you have to be flexible about your destination.
Instead of knowing where you want to go first, pick your trip based on price. That includes airfare, but it includes other things too. A few things to keep in mind include:
- Using apps to find last-minute deals on hotels and vacation packages.
- Avoid on-trend spots that command premium prices.
- Travel to popular spots in the off season.
Look at Airfare Before Anything Else
There are many things to look at when planning a vacation. If you’re staying relatively close to home, transportation isn’t likely to be a problem. You can hop in the car at any time. It’s a lot different if you’re hopping on a plane.
The cost of plane tickets can skyrocket at the last minute. They can also be deeply discounted. Before you make a commitment to your destination, look into airfare before anything else.
A few ways to save on last-minute air travel include:
- Choose a budget airline over well-known names.
- Activate flight alerts on your phone to find the best deals.
- Book your tickets two weeks before your departure for the best deals.
- Avoid nonstop and connecting flights.
Hire a Travel Agent
When you plan your vacation months in advance, you have plenty of time to plan every detail perfectly. When you plan your vacation at the last minute, you run the risk of planning a vacation that could turn out to be a disaster.
From less-than-ideal flights to sub-par hotels and no plan for activities before you leave, you could end up wishing you never left home in the first place. If making sure you have the best experience possible is important, you may want to consider hiring a travel agent.
A travel agent has the experience to plan every detail of your trip to your standards, even at the last minute. They can save you time, they can save you money, and they can make sure you actually enjoy your trip.
Know What’s Non-Refundable
There are certain aspects of most trips that are nonrefundable. For example, plane tickets and hotel stays are usually nonrefundable after a certain time. Tickets to shows and events may be nonrefundable too.
It’s important to try and book your vacation with as many opportunities for refunds as possible. Since you’re traveling at the last minute, you have no idea what might come up!
However, don’t be discouraged if something is nonrefundable. Knowing it’s supposed to be nonrefundable is the first step to getting your money back anyway.
Negotiate with Hotels
Did you know you can negotiate with hotels for a lower price? You can!
The trick is to call and book your stay instead of booking online. Ask if there any promotions around the time you’re planning your stay. You can also ask about free upgrades that aren’t normally listed on the website.
You have even more leverage if you’re speaking directly with the property owner, as is the case if you decide to stay in an Airbnb, for example. They may be willing to give you a great deal for filling an empty room at the last minute!
Lower Your Expectations
Everyone has high expectations for their vacation when they leave. Those expectations can quickly be dashed, especially if you didn’t spend a lot of time planning your vacation. That’s why it’s important to lower your expectations.
You can’t expect everything to pan out exactly as you planned on any vacation, let alone if you planned one at the last minute. Allow your trip to be more spontaneous and roll with the punches. That will enable you to make the most of a beach vacation in the rain or the fact that many attractions may be closed if you travel somewhere during the off season.
Planning a vacation months in advance can be fun, but nothing beats the rush of planning a vacation at the last minute. It’s a great way to feed your adventurous spirit and feel like you’re taking control of your own life. When you follow the tips on this list, you’ll have so much fun that you’ll be encouraged to plan a spontaneous trip again really soon!