You didn’t have time to anticipate your vacation. You have an unscheduled day off coming up. You have a sudden urge to escape. In short, you want to go away at the last minute for a weekend or a trip… and you don’t know how to get out of it cheaply, or at least not too cheaply.
Here are a few tips that I use myself when the urge to travel awakens at the last minute!
1. Leaving at the last minute means considering several possibilities
If you want to avoid a ruinous trip, it’s best not to stop at a destination. Often, we choose our trips based on a place we want to visit. We say to each other, for example, “What if I went to Spain?” or “What if I discovered Rome?” When you want to leave at the last minute, it’s best to think in terms of the date.
For my part, I have created a wish list containing countries or cities that I would like to visit. Some places are far away, some are in countries where the cost of living is high… and some are in countries that are very accessible or not very far from my home.
Because going on a trip at the last minute doesn’t necessarily mean going far. If you need a break, sometimes it’s enough to go to a nearby town.
Look at the prices on the dates that interest you according to your priority list. There is bound to be one destination that will be more affordable than others and may fit into your budget.
2. Think about your activities
In most cities, there are dozens of free or low-budget activities that do not require prior reservation (guided tours, etc.). Some cities have also introduced clever pass systems to make visiting easier.
In Nuremberg, for example, where I am leaving soon, there is a 25 euro pass that gives access for two days to all the city’s public museums and public transport.
If you decide to go away close to home, it may be an opportunity to do something a little more expensive and unusual. For example, a spa weekend with massages!
3. Keeping a reasonable transportation budget
When we want to leave at the last minute, transportation often represents the largest budget.
For the plane, just remember to uncheck the box “Include transportation to the airport”. It allows you to include in the travel time an estimate of the time needed to get to the airport… which is not very useful as not everyone lives at the same distance from the airport!
4. Cheap accommodation
There are so many possibilities nowadays to go on a trip at the last minute that it is often easy to find accommodation.
5. Why don’t you stay home?
What?! What the hell is she talking about?! No I didn’t fall on my head 🙂 Simply put, there are times when what you need is not necessarily the distance but rather the prospect of a weekend entirely dedicated to rest. A desire to change the air, to escape from everyday life, to put your feet under the table…
Choosing a beautiful hotel in a nearby town can give you that “own” break for a weekend. I have a girlfriend who lives in an apartment and who decided one summer to rent a house with a pool in her own town to entertain her friends and enjoy the good weather without spending too much money!
6. Gather as much information as possible
When you leave at the last minute, you often lack the time to research your destination. But it only takes a few minutes to find the places you don’t want to miss. You can take a look at TripAdvisor, which compiles Top 10 things to do in each city. It’s a great way to avoid missing out on a city’s must-see attractions.
For more confidential addresses, good tips, do a simple Google search with the name of the city you are going to and “blog“. You will come across many articles from bloggers who tell their own experiences in the city. It is often an inexhaustible source of good addresses and good deals.
7. A well packed suitcase
Once your trip is booked, pack your suitcase and try not to forget anything (papers, toiletries, clothes, electronic equipment, chargers, etc). If possible, try to do it two days before departure so that you still have a day available to buy what you need. There are seasons of the year when finding the right swimsuit quickly can be a struggle when you don’t have enough time to order on the web!
Check that you have printed out the tickets and other booking confirmations, that you have your identity papers, that you have completed any necessary travel documents such as the ESTA form if you are going to the USA.
All you have to do is close the door of your home and enjoy a well-deserved trip 😉