Impromptu travel is exciting, but can be stressful if you have never done it before. Here are some tips and travel tools to use when booking a trip without advance notice.
We have done this when the weather in Minnesota went sideways. Booking your flight last minute is great because you have 24 hours to cancel it for any reason. We set aside days in our calendar ahead of time so we can travel every month.
Since we have dogs we also set up with our family in advance to ensure they have someone to love them if they can’t come with us.
Keep a bag set aside that has an extra set of your personal hygiene, phone charger, sunglasses, pajamas, and everything else you might use on every trip. This will help you to pack your bag more efficiently and use your time to research.
Your budget needs to be realistic for the time of year your travelling, and where you would like to go. Travel at spring break will be more expensive than going in the month of January due to kids being off of school. Determine how much you are willing to spend, and stick to it. Be flexible with your location if your budget does not allow for it.
Choose a Destination
Google flights is a search engine that is user friendly, and lets you search without a destination in mind. This will optimize your ability to find the least expensive flight. Start with the city your departing from, then leave the destination empty (for the least expensive trip). Finally put in the dates your looking for. You can even refine the search with what class you would like to fly and the airline you would like to. Remember when you choose to refine your search you will often not get the least expensive options. When you pin point the flight that you like go directly to airline website and put in the details to complete booking.
Your destination will determine if you will need to rent a car. In a big city you can navigate everywhere you want to see without one. Public transportation and ride sharing give you the ability to travel without a car. Remember some cities have different ride sharing services so you may have to search what is popular in the area. Know your skills, if you have never taken a train or bus it will be more of an adventure if you choose to do this for the first time with a suitcase in tow.
Hotels are a great way to travel, but are not the only option. Air bnb, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), Camping, hostels, visiting an out of town friend, and the list goes on. We use Air bnb more often than not. We like it because you can get more space for less money. Private rooms are common so make sure if you are uncomfortable with sharing your space you refine your search. You can make sure you are renting their entire home, there is parking on premises, a pool, a hot tub, and the list goes on and on when you refine. Looking for a place that has many reviews and is a super host is a way to ensure you will have a great stay.
When you book your location last minute do not forget to look at the weather. Travelling somewhere with nice weather is always important to us and is one of the pros to booking a trip without advance notice.
Research the area
Having less time to search for what you want to do may mean that you miss important things. Use sites like Trip Advisor to see a list of top rated restaurants and things to do in the area. It can be based on how far it is from your location or top rated. This will help you create your ideal itinerary quickly.