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You’re tired of traffic, over your inbox, and sick of staring an empty fridge. A last-minute getaway sounds amazing right about now, but you could never make it happen. Or could you? If you’re the kind of traveler who thinks planning a spur-of-the-moment escape is more stressful than leading a choppy Zoom meeting, we’re here to tell you it can be a cinch! Follow these tips for making a last-minute vacation dream a reality.

RELATED: Packing tips for families, from families

Take a road trip


One of the best parts of road tripping has always been the flexibility—you leave when you want to leave, you stop as much you want along the way, and you come home when you’re ready. If you don’t have much time to plan and book a plane ticket months in advance, a road trip will be a great way to get away without spending a fortune. You’ll find great deals on rentals right here on, plus you can add to your savings by using a gas-price app like GasBuddy.

Pounce on low-cost flights

Ever notice how certain cities almost always have fantastic airfare deals, even at the last minute? Orlando and Las Vegas are two that come to mind, and we think they’re both great options for last-minute getaways. Be sure to sign up for Travelocity deals emails so that you’ll always be the first to know about last-minute fares, or keep checking our Flights Under $200 deals.

Visit a city instead


No matter the time of year, many folks make a beeline for beaches and National Parks. But thanks to pent-up demand, many National Parks now require reservations well in advance. Similarly, it might be difficult to secure a reasonably-priced. hotel or condo that’s right on the beach at the eleventh hour. Meanwhile, many cities empty out in summer and on holiday weekends as locals head to the hinterlands, making it a perfect time to secure a good deal and check out a new attraction. New York City, for example, just unveiled Little Island, an urban park floating in the Hudson River while Chicago gave its Willis Tower Skydeck a multi-million dollar facelift. And if you don’t think cities offer quality beaches, head to the Chicago lakefront or to the Rockaways in NYC and prepare to be amazed.

Look for Last Minute Deals on Travelocity

We understand that you can’t always plan ahead, so Travelocity runs regular Last Minute Deals on flights and hotels. Sign up for Travelocity emails so you’re always in the know, or check back regularly on our Last Minute Deals page.

Visit friends or family in their home city

Catching up with friends and family is always a treat, but the secret bonus is that when you visit loved ones, you hardly have to do any of the research or planning. Because your friends and family are locals, they’ll know exactly where to go, what to do, and where to eat. Heck, they’ll probably even be happy to drive you around, too.

Book a hotel locally


By now you’ve heard the term “staycation” so often you probably never need to hear it again. But you’ve probably also been told that a staycation means literally staying home and tending to your garden or putting together a puzzle. How about a staycation where you book a posh hotel or resort close to home and spend a weekend visiting new restaurants in your metro area and checking out museums and cultural attractions you frequently recommend to visitors, but have never actually tried yourself? In the same way that the simple task of rearranging a couple pieces of living room furniture can completely shake up your home, playing tourist in your own town offers a great way to see your city with fresh eyes.

Leave on a Saturday (and come back on a Tuesday)

It makes sense that a last-weekend getaway might be something short and sweet like a weekend trip. Of course, that’s what everybody does. The loophole in beating costly Friday and Sunday airfares is to leave on a Saturday and return on a Monday. Flights are cheaper on Saturday and this way you can kick back and relax on Friday without having to make a rush hour run to the airport. An even better idea is to return on a Tuesday when flights are similarly cheaper. Sure, this means extending your trip by a day and incurring an extra night’s hotel cost, but imagine all you can do with an extra day free of other tourists, plus how quickly you’ll breeze through security at an empty airport.

Pay up front

Remember how we said road trips are a great last-minute travel idea? Well, the most cost-effective way to take one is to pay for your rental car up front. The vast majority of rental cars available through Travelocity are 100% refundable, but if you’re looking to save money, you will notice that top search results include a non-refundable “pay now and save option.” While this may not make sense for a vacation that requires flexibility, it is an ideal option for last-minute travelers who are ready to fully commit and looking to save money along the way. Plus, paying in advance means less money you have to shell out during the trip itself. Think about how good that will feel!

Jason Heidemann & Martina Sheehan

Jason Heidemann & Martina Sheehan

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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