As summer draws to a close, many of us can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. Summer vacation, a long tradition in America, passes many by these days as the hustle and bustle of summer jobs, internships and other responsibilities take priority.
But summer’s not quite over, and with the long Labor Day weekend close approaching, there is still time to get in a quick and dirty summer getaway, even if you haven’t yet made plans. If you’re planning on taking one last getaway before it’s time for football, pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves, here are some tips for making your impromptu end-of-summer getaway one to remember!
Seek out the Perfect Place
The first step in any spontaneous getaway is deciding upon where to go! Deciding where to go may be governed by factors such as proximity, budget and mode of transportation. But that doesn’t mean you need to take another routine trip to a place you’ve been before.
If you’re on a budget, but you’re lucky enough to live close to nature, why not try out a new campsite? If you’re more the urban type, why not plan a short road trip where you check out various towns around you that you’ve never visited before? You may just find a new restaurant or shopping mecca that will fast become a new fave!
Oftentimes, we fail to take advantage of the very things that bring tourists to our own areas in the first place. If your budget is truly shoestring, why not make a list of local tourist attractions you can get to with minimum gas (and money) spent? Become an adventurer and find the treasures hidden right in your hometown!
Get Savvy and Find a Cheap Flight
If your budget is a bit bigger but not infinite, there are a few tips you can take to find cheap flights. First, time it right. While it may be that your only time to get away is on a busy holiday weekend, if you have the flexibility, try to fly during the week. Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning flights are usually considerably cheaper than Monday, Friday or weekend flights.
If you’re flexible with dates, you may find an even more amazing deal by flying standby. Just be aware that this can lead to frustrating waits in the airport if the flight you hope to board is overbooked. At the very least, when you search for flights, indicate that your dates are flexible on the search screen so that you are better able to evaluate your options.
Budget, Budget, Budget
One of the biggest challenges many people face when booking a vacation is a lack of financial resources. But a vacation doesn’t need to be expensive to be memorable!
If you know the destination city where you wish to stay, sign up for Groupon or Living Social in that city to get great deals on fun things to do. Truly strapped for cash but dying to get away? Consider traveling to a location where you have relatives or friends you can crash with. You’ll get to reunite with loved ones and also get out of town.
If flying, sign up for flight alerts that notify you of killer airline deals. The same goes for rent-a-car companies. Finally, sites like AirBNB allow people to rent out a spare room or two of their home for far less than most hotels. If you can’t find a friend to stay with, be sure to check out the great deals there.
Taking Advantage of Your Specific Wanderlust
If you’re planning a solo jaunt, be sure to research the area where you are going first. Make sure you are comfortable traveling solo; you don’t want to spend your precious vacation, after all, cooped up in your hotel room. If you’re truly uncomfortable traveling alone, find a friend to go with you!
If you’re one who likes to travel often, it can also be smart to invest in things like travel rewards cards and travel insurance. Travel insurance helps protect you in various situations, such as in the event that you lose your luggage. And if your credit is mediocre to excellent, you can switch out one of your credit cards (or signing up for a new card) in lieu of a card that offers travel rewards.
Also, many major hotel chains have free rewards programs you can sign up for, and just about any airline awards frequent flier miles either with or without that specific credit card.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Chances
Travel is all about broadening your horizons. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone a bit. Whether it’s going swimming with dolphins to just spending an afternoon exploring a museum in a neighboring town, be open to experiences you may not normally be willing to try. Make your trip extra memorable by keeping an open mind and a spirit of adventure, and you’ll be sure to see out summer in style!