Cancellations, closures, quarantines, and government regulations…traveling may never be the same. Many families have been asking and wondering if last minute travel is even still a possibility.
Well, not only is it possible, but we believe that it’s better now than ever before. The only thing you need to bring is your sense of adventure and a little bit of flexibility. And I know what you are thinking…sense of adventure with kids? Babies being flexible? Well, wipe the incredulous look off your face and read on, because it’s not nearly as hard or as stressful as you may think!
In today’s modern world, booking travel has never been easier. It literally is as simple as sitting at your computer and typing in a few choice keywords and voila!, you have an array of options to choose from. But, how do you know those are the best prices? With all of the information out there, it can also be overwhelming trying to weed out the bad deals and narrowing down your choices. There are sites that can help quiet the information overload and take you straight to what you want and need to know, making booking last minute travel an absolute breeze. Here are a few of our favorites!
If you aren’t sure where you want to go, but know you need to get out of town for a few days, then head on over to Google Flights. They have a great (and pretty fun option!) that you can ask it to search from your hometown to anywhere in the world. A map will pop up that shows some of the best deals for destinations all over the globe. A great bonus is that when you click on a destination city, it also gives you up-to-date Covid information regarding travel restrictions, saving you a ton of precious time.
If you are looking to fly Southwest Airlines within the US, you will be able to see the routes but they do not list their prices on Google Flights. Just head on over to their website to book if your trip will be through them!
Other travel sites such as Expedia are always offering last minute specials to different destinations. The biggest benefit to using a travel site is that you can bundle your flight, hotel, and rental car together which has the potential to not only save you a lot of money, but also a lot of stress. Many times people will book a great deal on a flight only to find that hotels are booked because of a special event in the city or there are no rental cars available for the time you will be staying. Booking everything together is a great and easy way to bypass those possible snags in your planning. Expedia is also offering a real-time Covid page that gives detailed information pertaining to travelers arriving into their chosen destination.
A little known secret about Costco is that they have a GREAT travel site. They have partnered with some of the travel industry’s best brands and are able to bring you some pretty amazing prices on everything from hotels and cruises to theme parks and rental cars. They also can bundle your vacation together as well, saving you time and money. Of course, the only downside to Costco is that you have to be a member. But any mom or dad that has a Costco nearby knows that those memberships are worth their weight in gold when you have hungry, growing kids.
Secret Escapes is another great site if you are looking to book a last minute luxury hotel. We know sometimes last minute travel can also be wrought with last minute changes, so Secret Escapes has a search tab if you only want to book a refundable stay.
Before booking anything, always be sure to check the airline site itself as well. Many times they will have the same deal as some of the travel sites, but if anything comes up at the last minute it is much easier to change your itinerary with the airline directly. Many airlines have actually dropped their change fees and cancellation policies in an effort to bring passengers back after Covid.
You’ve Arrived! Now What?
So you’ve made it to your destination, but you didn’t have time to plan anything. No worries! Apps like Open Table and Resy will make booking a dinner a breeze and you may even get lucky at some pretty great places! Most cancellations for dinner happen the day before or the day of, so you can even set your phone up for alerts on Rez Hound if there is a cancellation at one of your restaurants of choice. Another great option, especially if young kids are involved, is to try and walk-in when they first open. Many times restaurants will have availability earlier in the evening. Plus, it can be a lot less stressful with kids if the restaurant isn’t totally full or has a long wait.
Once you have arrived, checked in, and had a meal, you will want to plan the rest of your trip out. First and foremost, hop on the city websites to check for any special events that may be going on. Also, be sure to check social media and follow any relevant hashtags as sometimes there are some great pop up events that aren’t advertised. Lastly, Google Maps is a great place to find everything from playgrounds to hikes.
Have someone in your crew who doesn’t have a passport? No problem! You can even do last minute travel to an overseas destination if you know who to call! Rush My Passport is able to get you a passport in 24 hours (during non-Covid times). They are even able to get you an expedited visa if traveling to a country that requires one.
So remember, while last minute travel may seem intimidating, it actually might just be the least stressful vacation you’ve ever had. There is something extremely freeing about just jumping on a plane and not having the pressure to plan every last detail of your trip. Find a few playgrounds for the little ones, grab some yummy street food, slow down, and just enjoy the moment…even if it’s just for a few days.
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