Summer is about to kick off with the Memorial Day weekend just days away. If it snuck up on you and you're waiting until the 11th hour to make plans, here are four ways to book a last-minute trip without having to blow your budget.
Go where the deals are
It's best to be flexible when you are trying to figure out your last-minute plans. Follow the deals instead of trying to find a specific place. Late bookings during a holiday weekend mean that most places are probably full, but there are still choices left.
"I know people want what they want, but with last-minute bookings, being open to options gives you more opportunity," said Sean Murphy, editor-in-chief of Jetsetter.com. "But once you commit, don't look back."
According to travel website Hotwire, average hotel rates in cities like Seattle; Savannah, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; Key West, Florida; and even Miami are more than 10 percent cheaper than they were a year ago.
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Consider business cities, like Dallas or Minneapolis, because "they empty out on Memorial Day weekend, so you can head to swanky business hotels and live it up for much less than you usually would," said Pauline Frommer, editorial director for Frommer's, a travel guidebook series.
But forget about taking a cruise on a whim. "In terms of cruises, Royal Caribbean announced that it was doing away with last-minute deals and because of safety regulations, you have to book a cruise at least one week in advance," Frommer said.
You finally have a good excuse to be glued to your Twitter feed. Airlines and hotels often post deals through social media. "With airfares, there are just fewer and fewer sales, but often airlines will post last-minute sales on Twitter," Frommer said. Murphy agreed, but said you have to "act fast, [the deals] disappear quick as they come."
You can also try websites that specialize in last-minute travel for cheaper options. Lastminute.com, Airfarewatchdog and Booking.com will help you navigate different airlines to check availability and costs.