Monday, March 28, 2011

Best bets for booking a last-minute trip

Just got back from my vacay in NYC! I had a wonderful time there; breaks are always good to take one's mind of this hectic pace of life and rat race world we live in. Anyway, I hope this article helps you plan your travels especially if you're like me who does things like planning for vacations at the last minute. Procrastination: biggest nation in the world!

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Sometimes you just have to get away. If your wanderlust gets the better of you and the traveler inside is itching to hit the road, there are several Web sites equipped to help — fast. Whether it be a weekend getaway or a full-blown vacation, the following sites are a few of a growing number that are wholly or in part dedicated to helping you plan a last-minute trip.
For best results, keep an open mind and stay flexible — the cardinal rules of traveling last-minute on the cheap. Check out these five Web sites when the travel bug bites.

LastMinute.com LastMinute.com offers "last second deals" for travel over the upcoming week or two. Note that these deals target weekend travelers; departures are only available between Wednesday and Saturday.

Leaving our destination options open, we plugged in dates for the upcoming weekend (leaving Philadelphia on Friday and returning Sunday). One of the cheapest results was a "Wicked Smaahrt" package in Boston, starting at just $269 per person for airfare, hotel, tax recovery and service fees. A variety of other U.S. cities were also featured for less than $400 per person. The lowest-priced international options were Toronto ("Shiny, Happy People, Eh?") from $451 per person and Mexico City from $551.

The site also offers flight/car, hotel/car and flight/luxury hotel pairings. It's owned and operated by Travelocity.

Lickety Trip Does your perfect escape entail a week in a beach house or a few days holed up in a mountain cabin? If so, consider LicketyTrip.com, which specializes in last-minute vacation rentals. We found an ocean-view condo in St. Augustine that sleeps six, starting at $820 per week (including sales tax and cleaning fee) if you travel within the next two months.

While the bulk of the site's properties are in the U.S., there are more than 1,000 offerings in Europe and hundreds more around the globe. (Consider, for instance, a $482 weekly rate for an apartment in Marrakesh, Morocco, good for travel anytime in the next nine months.) Some listings do appear to be a bit outdated — we found one that hadn't posted new rates since 2007 — but with a little digging you can find some gems. See whether a vacation rental is right for you.

LastMinuteTravel.com
LastMinuteTravel.com covers every aspect of travel, including flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, cruises and even activities. For travel next weekend, we saw a four-star hotel in the Central Park area of New York City from just $164 per night with taxes. (Tack on an "Everything Chocolate" tour for $49 per person.) Less luxurious hotels are offered from $72 per night with taxes.

A couple of caveats: In several searches, the actual price (particularly for hotels) was higher than the initial advertised offer — it all depends on your travel dates. Also, a la Priceline, the site doesn't reveal the name of your hotel until after you book. You will be shown its neighborhood, star rating and amenities.

American Airlines
Every week, American Airlines offers a variety of Net SAAver Weekend Getaway fares, including domestic fares for both this weekend and the next, and international fares for the next weekend. (From the airline's Web site, click on Travel Deals and then Sale Fares.) These deals are a good bet for travelers who simply want a last-minute airfare rather than a full-out package (perhaps you don't need to book lodging because you're staying with a friend, or you'd rather rent an apartment than stay in a hotel).

This week's deals include $67 fares from Chicago to New York, $119 fares from Miami to Houston and $129 fares from Nashville to Los Angeles — all one way based on roundtrip purchase. Taxes are additional. International offerings for the following weekend start at $113 each way (Los Angeles to Los Cabos), and include destinations in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

American isn't the only airline peddling last-minute fares; check your favorite carrier's Web site to see what's available.

CheapCaribbean.com
If you have a specific destination in mind, your best bet is often to focus on a Web site that deals with one region specifically. CheapCaribbean.com has a last-minute area on its Web site that offers low-cost packages set to expire quickly. However, though you can't hem and haw about whether or not to go, you will often have plenty of time to plan — some packages can be booked for travel several months out.

As of this writing, a five-night package to the Riviera Maya that includes hotel and roundtrip airfare is available from $529 per person, good for travel anywhere between two and six months from now — but it must be booked in the next three days. If you can't wait that long to get away, you can leave this week for a four-night Bahamas getaway from $579, including roundtrip air.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41953896/ns/travel-travel_tips/

21 comments:

  1. Great advice and links :)
    I'll bookmark this for my trip to arizona this may!

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  2. thanks for the great post.. most definitely will keep this in mind next time im looking at a vacation

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  3. great information. will definitely keep these in mind next time i need to travel.

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  4. I recently took a little road trip. Some of the best stops were in small towns at wineries. Totally worth the out of the ordinary experience!

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  5. Very helpful. Too bad I don't travel much.

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  6. thanks for the tips, I'll give it a try

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  7. Helpful guide, doubt I will be using it anytime soon. Thanks nonetheless.

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  8. A tip for cheap hotels worldwide is www.hotels.com

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  9. I used cheapcaribean twice. Really good!

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  10. I've actually been planning on taking a last minute trip. Teehee. Thanks.

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  11. Excellent post man! Was a really interesting read! thanks for sharing!

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  12. great tips thx, but i will use travel agancies at home

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  13. Some good information here. I'll probably use this sometime soon.

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  14. I'd love to go on a trip heh. Soon!

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