To go or not to go? This question has become the tagline of 2020, a question we could not fathom only a year ago. As the holiday season quickly approaches, last minute travel is becoming the trend that many families are choosing to partake in. Unfortunately, today trying to plan anything in this environment is next to impossible. What is open and accessible one day, might very well be closed permanently the next. Airlines that are taking certain precautions today, may be doing something different tomorrow. Country restrictions are changing daily and even local and regional borders within the same country can be different from one day to the next. Travel, at least for the time being, is going to be different.
Last minute travel has become very popular recently given the current uncertainty everywhere. And we know that type of travel can be stressful with kids, but we have some tips and a few great coping strategies on how to do it safely, effectively, and stress-free!
Use A Booking Assistant Site
Just because you are taking a last minute trip doesn’t mean you can’t plan. In fact in today’s technology oriented world, planning and booking a trip can be as easy as pouring a glass of wine and taking 20 minutes out of your day to do some research on a few travel sites. FlyPilota is one of these sites that will help you navigate travel in these uncertain times. FlyPilota is a simple downloadable Chrome extension that will compare the safety and flexibility measures each airline is taking for your individual flight.
Looking for a flight that has free cancellation? Just add that to your booking requirements and the extension will bring up all flights that have that option to your destination. Want to see what PPE requirements certain airlines have? Or whether they are blocking middle seats? FlyPilota will compare those factors on any search engine you are using. Another great feature is the ability to then save and share this flight with others who may be interested in taking the trip with you. This helps to prevent that dreaded search later where you can no longer find the perfect flight.
Check out this video to learn more about how it works!
Once you have found the perfect flight for you and your family, be sure to check that there is availability at either a hotel or a rental house before you book your flight. The last thing you want to do is have booked a great flight only to find out there are no rooms available! One of the benefits of traveling right now is you probably will not have to worry about hotels being booked, but it’s always a good idea to double check…especially around the holidays!
A great accommodation option for last minute travel is to use the secret fares on websites like Priceline and Hotwire. You won’t know which hotel it is until you have booked and paid, BUT you can put in requirements such as areas of the city you want to be in or star rating. This is a great way to find last minute deals at incredible prices!
Go Off Radar
Try going somewhere unexpected. For example, if you want to travel somewhere for Thanksgiving, look into countries that don’t necessarily celebrate Thanksgiving. You should be able to find an American restaurant in most places that will have a Thanksgiving meal, but by heading out of the country you will ensure that you won’t be facing a ton of crowds! And while we know that might not be possible this year due to Covid, you could also look into renting a house in a smaller town where you can cook yourselves and socially distance safely.
If you want to go skiing this winter, instead of looking at places like Aspen or the Alps, try finding a smaller ski resort that might be needing the money tourists bring in. We all know the popular ski areas can be pricey, but there are actually some amazing ones that fly under the radar and offer great deals for skiers! You may even find your new favorite destination by looking outside the box!
One of the most stressful things about last minute travel is the packing and getting ready. So while we know babies and kids can come with a lot of “stuff”, it is entirely possible to only pack carry-ons for the entire family. The brand new start-up company, Lightly, is a great option for families that don’t want to pack a lot. You will need a few days advance notice, but you can book a box to arrive at your doorstep that will have everything you need for your little one. It’s the perfect compromise when you want to bring more, but also want to pack light! We also recommend always keeping a small stash of a few must-have travel amenities just in the event an impromptu trip does arise! Grab an extra pack of diapers and stow them away in the closet or that extra bottle of children’s fever medicine. This will help you avoid rushing around the moment you decide to go!
We know families are itching to get out and see the world again. We also know that you want to be as safe as possible while doing it. By staying flexible and being open to last minute travel ensures that you will have the most up to date information on whether or not to go. Booking a last minute trip is supposed to be fun and exciting, so relax and enjoy the possibility of travel again this winter!