Last Minute Deals: Two Easy Ways to Find a Getaway
Moms and dads who are off with the kids for spring break: I’m writing this with you in mind. It’s peak vacation week for school kids across the country, so many of you have been entertaining the little munchkins for more than five days now. FIVE DAYS!
It’s time to get out of town. Your solution: Look for a last minute package. Admittedly, this year is proving to be tough when it comes to finding good last minute deals. But it’s not impossible. I have two ways to find that last minute getaway: the easy way and the easier way.
Finding a Last Minute Package – The Easy Way!
- Set a budget. Decide how much you want to spend per person…and stick to it!
- Get in a flexibility state-of-mind. No, I’m not endorsing yoga here. You’ll need to be flexible with your destinations and your itineraries to find the best deal.
- Search high value destinations. These include places such as Maui, New York City and Lake Tahoe, where airfare and hotel rates are down over last year, as well as places such as Mexico and Dominican Republic, where there are plenty of all-inclusive resorts to choose from.
- Book a vacation package. When you book your flight and hotel together, you can save up to $525 per couple on Travelocity.
Finding a Last Minute Package – The Easier Way!
- Follow steps one and two above.
- Go to last minute packages. These packages, which include flight, hotel, taxes and fees, are a fantastic way to see all the best deals from your city in just one click.
My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.
(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)
Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!
My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!
Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.
View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!