Last minute trips are revolutionizing the way travelers think, and there’s always a reason for going on one. Your sister has suddenly announced she is getting married in two days and wants your entire family to fly from coast to coast to be at the wedding. You’ve just won tickets to a theme park that’s an 8-hour drive from where you are, but you hadn’t noticed that the tickets are expiring in less than a week. Your boss needs you to cancel the vacation you’ve planned next month and is giving you a window to go on one now. The city’s hustle and bustle has finally gotten to you and you desperately need a getaway.
But here’s a favorite excuse to board a plane without a plan: Your favorite travel site has launched a last minute trip super deal, a price-slash on airfare and even accommodation and it would be such a waste to pass it up. Think luxury vacation at bargain price.
If you’re bringing the kids along, a last minute trip can be challenge, but who says it can’t be done? Whatever your reason, and now matter how unplanned the trip, you can make any family travel exciting, safe and memorable for everyone without having to break your bank.
Steps to Score the Best Deal
While there are several websites servicing globally, your best bet when looking out for a last-minute affordable trip are your local websites. They offer comprehensive travel packages, hotels, airfare, and more. Plus, they’re often easier to get in touch with.
Do not rely entirely on websites, and more importantly, never assume one site is enough to visit. If you’re thinking cheap, go cheap all the way by covering as much resource as you can. Not all websites update their deals regularly. You will need to give your neighborhood travel agent a call. These folks often have a best deals solicited to them first-hand. Call tourism offices for hotels and accommodations.
Read the fine print!
Last minute doesn’t mean discounted. Discounted doesn’t mean savings. A website with last-minute trips may not necessarily slash their prices. Sometimes, airfare may be discounted, but hotel accommodations aren’t. It is crucial to quantify your savings. To do so, determine the original price, tally everything, and compare it to the package you are after. This can be challenging, because most websites won’t post the original price after they’ve gone bargain.
Last year’s deals are moot.
Travel patterns change as seasons pass, and so do travel opportunities. Just because you scored a great deal around Christmas season last year doesn’t mean you will again this year. If there was an amazing deal last year for a trip to Rome during the summer, you may not find another one this summer.
Flexibility is key.
That’s the essence of last minute trip – you take what you are offered, because the price is right. They say beggars can’t be choosers. If you have to have the trip set exactly to your standards, booking early is your best bet.
Surviving an Unplanned Trip
How to make your family trip fun is all up to you. Prioritize everyone’s safety first.
- Can your kids travel? You can book a flight and even a hotel, but what about the trip particulars? You can’t bring a toddler to a museum, and you can’t expect preschoolers to go hiking with you. It’s either a waste of beautiful sights, or a dangerous, stressful experience. If the place you’re going to doesn’t have kid-friendly scenes, consider a baby-sitter, or leaving them home with one.
- What do you need to bring? Packing is a challenge when you have very little time to organize. Prioritize what you put your bag – be a minimalist. For example, pack only two pairs of jeans even when you’re staying for seven days. Organize your travel requirements – passports, itinerary, etc.
- What fun safety techniques can you put in place? Travelling with several kids in tow? Create a buddy system. Your husband can take one kid, and you can take the other. Get the older kids to watch over the little ones.
Last Minute Travel Checklist
Because last minute travel checklists don’t always give you the freedom of choice, getting organized and being as prepared as you can is your greatest weapon against hassle.
- Travel documents: Passports, itinerary, guide and phrasebooks, tickets, hotel and car reservation details, etc.
- Weather forecast: Use this knowledge to pack the appropriate clothes. Check it again right before you leave.
- Easy-to-carry luggage: Pack essentials first. Organize toiletries and protect your dry items from them. Electronic devices should be carried in protective cases.
- Cash and cards: Double-check your wallet. Make sure your credit cards are active. Bring cash for tips, and for minimal purchases.
- Confirm reservations: You cannot afford to not do this, especially when you have kds with you. Nasty surprises shouldn’t ruin your trip.
- Emergency contacts: Should you need to contact people from home, your travel agent, friends, embassy, etc, you will have to bring a list of important numbers. Don’t rely on your cell phone’s phonebook.
- Sleep well: This is crucial especially when crossing time zones. Sleeplessness can cause kids to be cranky, and can take away all that excitement.
- Pack on that adventurous spirit! Enough said.