How to Plan a Last Minute Vacation

by on December 7, 2011

Plan a Last Minute Vacation Getaway with These Easy Travel Tips

Everybody needs a vacation sometimes. The fact of the matter is people perform better when they are well rested, and don’t feel deprived. Some sort of vacation every year is practically a must for every human being. Life doesn’t always leave you time to plan things, and things come up! That’s why planning a last minute vacation can be one of the most exciting, rejuvenating, and memorable trips you can possibly plan.

Another great thing about last minute vacations is that they sometimes can be cheaper than planning ahead. Airline rates go down, hotels need to fill empty rooms, and cruises need to be taken. Why not give them a helping hand while saving yourself some cash and taking a much needed break at the same time?

Photo top right: Jimmy Harris on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.The view from Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy.

What You Need to Keep in Mind When Booking Your Last Minute Vacation

There are certain things that you need to keep in mind when you go away on your trip. How long will have to go away? Have you read the reviews of the place that you’ve considered booking? Have you ever been to the place that you’re considering booking? Will the airport be crazy when I take my flight? If so, what time should I leave to get there on time?

These are all factors in your decision. Perhaps the biggest thing of all that is going to impact your trip is whether you have a passport. A passport allows you to head out of country and back in, and today they don’t come quickly. That’s why if you have even an inkling that you might be traveling internationally in the next year or two, get a passport today. You can get them online, or you can visit your local AAA office to get started with the process.

Where Do You Want to Go?

The easiest way to plan a last minute vacation is to know what you like. Do you like warm weather? Short plane rides? Are you strictly a road trip kind of person? Maybe this checklist will help you out:

  • What kind of weather are you looking for? Cold weather or warm weather?
  • What’s your preferred method of travel? Car, cruise, or airplane?
  • Are you looking for remote beaches, or bustling city life atmosphere?
  • Are you looking for an adventure, or something more relaxed?

If you live in a cold weather climate and it’s cold right now where you are, you’re going to have to travel far. If it’s summer, why not travel someplace that’s closer to home? If you’re looking for some relaxing, chill out down-time, why not try something new and take a cruise, or do something new? Often times something new can turn out to be a better vacation than something you’ve already done.

Where Can You Find Last Minute Vacation Packages?

There are a number of shopping comparison websites out there that will help you find the best price on hotels, airfare, cruises, rental cars, and other vacation necessities. A comparison website should include some of the specifics of what you need, not folding to just whatever is available. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on one website, try another. They all have thousands and thousands of last minute vacation packages available, so don’t feel that you have to settle!

A few things to keep in mind when booking your trip:

  • Is your last minute vacation falling on a weekend? You can often get the best rates when you book on weekdays. Weekend rates are always higher. If you’re jumping around and staying at different places on your trip, try to plan your trip so hit the less expensive places on the weekend. Think when the most people might be at that specific spot, and you’ll have a good idea of when their peak times might be.
  • Make the flight is either a direct flight, or that you have plenty of time to reach the connecting flight between the two flights. You’d be surprised how many times people don’t leave themselves enough time to get from one plane to another!
  • Check the weather for the area that time of year. Type in the zip code of the destination on weather.com to find the average daily temperature and rainfall for that area during the time you plan on traveling. It might be too cold for your liking, too hot, or too wet.

The Benefits of a Last Minute Vacation

A last minute vacation isn’t something that’s just fun, it’s healthy for relationships, the mind, and the body. Actually, any sort of vacation, whether planned or not, has a great deal of benefits. You probably already guessed that vacations are a stress reliever.

  • Vacations are a great way to strengthen relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. You’ll create new memories, spark creativity, release, and have fun.
  • Vacations get you out of “work mode.” Work mode is the mentality that you’re in at work, and sometimes even at home, unfortunately. When a clearer separation between work and home life is delineated, you become more focused at both things. It may not even necessarily be that you are working too much, but that you are drifting off thinking about a vacation or rest during work time, and thinking about work when you’re at home or supposed to be in a more relaxed state. When you’re more “in the mode” for one or the either, you enjoy life more, and can fully give 100% to whatever you are doing.
  • Vacations make you more alert, focused, recharged, and give you something to look forward to. A vacation will destress you mentally, stimulate your mind, and revitalize your body.

A vacation, whether planned or last minute, will give you something to look forward to, and could be that one jumpstart that you need to get that work-life balance in the right proportions. Why not book a last minute vacation today?

What to Bring on Vacation

  • Your travel passport/visa
  • Enough clothes for each day, considering that you might be best off wearing shirts twice to conserve space in your luggage (you can always buy a tourist t-shirt if you run out)
  • Sunscreen (very important!)
  • Ipod, books, reading material to pass the travel time
  • Toothbrush, toiletries
  • Camera with memory card and battery/extra battery
  • Swimsuit
  • That’s all you’ll need! The rest can be rented, picked up along the way, or you simply don’t need it. A cellphone might be a good idea, but if traveling internationally, you may pay an arm and a leg to connect to your home country. Since this trip is spontaneous, it’s safe to say this trip isn’t going to be over a week or so. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t need too much preparation in advance, except finding a babysitter if you have kids, or a housesitter.
  • Here are some more ideas of what to bring on your trip.
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