8 tips on how to plan a last-minute vacation close to home

Kids playing with headlights

The summer is gliding along effortlessly, and you might be longing for a spur of the moment vacation that doesn’t require too much planning or long flights. We put together a list of 8 tips on how to plan a last-minute vacation close to home.

#1: Choose your destination by chance

If you want to be more spontaneous with your vacation, simply pull out a paper map, or google maps on your tablet. Decide on your maximum radius, close your eyes, and place a finger on the map.

From thereon, you can either do some quick googling to see what that area has to offer and book accommodations based on that, or you can keep it spontaneous by figuring things out as you go along.

#2: Plan for all weather

The summer isn’t’ always “summery”. Depending on where you live, summer vacations might entail frequent showers or scorching heat. Not having the right clothing can put a serious damper on the vacation, so make sure to check the forecast, and maybe bring an extra layer. An umbrella in the car never hurt anyone ;)

#3: Always have your gear ready

Whether you’re into camping or a weekend of photo tourism in the city, making sure your gear is clean, functional, and ready to go makes a last-minute trip much more manageable.

This could mean taking some time to go through your outdoor gear, making sure everything works as it should, and is easily accessible, or making sure you have comfortable walking shoes for a day of browsing museums.

#4: Search for car-rental coupons

If a spontaneous road trip sounds like music in your ears, remember that many agencies routinely offer discount codes on their sites ­– usually for fully prepaid rentals. Remember to check that the offer is valid at your rental location before booking.

#5: Take your chances and be willing to hotel-hop

Sometimes, rolling the dice and seeing what you get can create magic memories. As a bonus, it can help you save money. Travel sites like Hotwire and Priceline have offers for unnamed hotel properties (and car rentals) that aren't revealed until you commit to a purchase. How's that for an adventure?

Or you can do the opposite and not commit to one single hotel, but instead pack light and do some hotel-hopping. Once you've arrived at your destination, switching to another hotel with large price reductions on vacant rooms can save you some cash.

#6: Look for Cancellations

If you’re looking to save a bit of money, Group-tour operators often have openings at the last minute. Expeditions to bucket-list destinations often sell out far in advance, but you can check for cancellations to get a good deal on a last-minute vacation.

#7: Finding fun things to do at your destination

Again, this is where Google is your friend. Whether you're looking for family-friendly activities, popular tourist traction, or something more off the beaten track, hitting up a quick search will help you figure out what fun you can do. Maybe try terms like "outdoor activities in Paris," "5 cheap meals in Copenhagen", or "things to do with kids in Northern Spain."

The internet is full of useful advice that will help you get specific information about your destination.

#8: House swab with friends

Sometimes, it’s not about having grand adventures, but simply having a change of scenery. While there are many house swapping services online, simply calling up your mates in another city and arranging a house swap can give you that mental break from day-t-day life. It also allows you to discover hidden gems in your friend’s neighborhood. As a bonus, it’s cheap and climate friendly!



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