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4 tips for a successful last-minute trip

4 tips for a successful last-minute trip

If you have some vacation days that need using up fast or you just really fancy taking a long weekend, then you should book a last-minute trip abroad. It’s an exhilarating and luxurious feeling to decide on a Tuesday that you want to go away for a few days, only to travel there on Thursday.

When most people think about booking a last-minute holiday, their minds are filled with the notion that it must be super stressful. After all, you have to do all sorts of admin (i.e. getting your vacation days approved by your boss, booking a hotel, etc) in a short period of time and that’s no one’s idea of fun. The thing is that it doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, a last-minute trip can be a breeze if you follow these simple tips.

1.     Let the destination choose you

When deciding where to go, pick the cheapest location to go to. (A good way to do this is to visit Skyscanner and pick “Everywhere” as your destination.) You might end up in a less touristy location, but this will cut your spending on hotels and food, as well as letting you see a part of the country that you’d never have thought about.

2.     Cut the costs

The best part about this kind of travel is you can get really great deals by booking at the last moment because transport companies don’t want empty seats and hotels don’t want empty rooms. This means they may slash their prices considerably. Here are some top tips for getting a good deal on your trip:

  • Be flexible on dates
  • Travel mid-week
  • Don’t travel in peak season
  • Check for flights on Sundays and Tuesdays in the week before travelling
  • Choose less popular travel times (i.e. early morning)
  • Only pack a carry-on
  • Choose trains, boats, or coaches rather than planes
  • Sign up for travel company newsletters for a weekly roundup of cheap deals
  • See a travel agent. (They have access to exclusive deals and many don’t charge a fee.)
  • Use the incognito browser to research and book your holiday
  • Book a flight and accommodation combo deal for big discounts with less hassle
  • Go direct to the accommodation owner or manager to haggle on price

3.     Choose a flexible (and reliable) car hire company

When heading out on a spontaneous trip, hiring a car is a smart move because it allows you to be totally flexible. You’re not tied to the bus company’s schedule or paying surge pricing for Ubers or paying on-the-day train fares from the airport. You can go where you want when you want.

Better yet, there are some companies that allow you to pick up a car in one location and drop it off in another. (Sometimes even another country.) This gives you the ultimate freedom when it comes to travelling around, especially if your plans change mid-trip. This website, for example, has 22,000 rental car offices and allows you to pick up and drop off wherever you like.

4.     Get a prepaid travel card

It can be a hassle getting to a currency exchange shop at the last minute, so get your money on a prepaid travel card that you can have posted to you. The best bit is that you can top it up on the go if you need to.

5.     Don’t get too bogged down with a plan

While it’s always nice to have an idea for what you want to do or see on your trip, try not to let it be all-consuming. It could be that the restaurant you wanted to eat at doesn’t have any availability on the day you visit or that painting at that museum is on loan to another exhibit until the end of the month.

It’s disappointing sure, but don’t let it overshadow your whole holiday. Plus, you might discover something else that ends up being even better than you thought.

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan a fantastic last-minute vacation. Bon voyage.