May 14, 2016

Last Minute Travel Deals: Where To Go?

One of the benefits of retirement is the ability to travel on our schedule. No longer must we wait for our annual two week break from work. Sure, we can take trips during the summer, but then so does everyone else, making for crowded roads, airports, and destinations. 

If the budget and interest exists, travel to somewhere that is not home can happen whenever we'd like it to. That might involve a spur of the moment decision, or a definite plan that covers a good part of the upcoming year.

That raises the question: where to go to find great deals and ideas to stimulate and satisfy your wanderlust? A reader asked me for suggestions, especially for last-minute sales. I haven't used all the sources listed but they appear to be legitimate as I researched choices online. Most have a section for last minute deals and specials:



Booking Buddy

Expedia

Airbnb

Trip Advisor

Kayak

Travel Zoo

Groupon Getaways

Cheap Tickets Deals of the Week

AAA last minute travel  (Type www.travel.aaa.com to be directed to the office that serves your state or city)

Orbitz

Costco Travel (members only)

Vacation Rentals

Hotels.com

Home Exchange

Hotwire

Last Minute Travel

Priceline

Travelocity


Which ones have I overlooked? Do you have any suggestions for last minute or deeply discounted travel deals? Are there any services you'd recommend someone not use based on personal experience? 

Postscript: All this talk of travel reminds me that Betty and I are beginning to make plans to take an RV trip in late summer-early fall to visit family in Kansas and Tennessee. We will also explore the Smoky Mountains and travel through eight states that we have yet to visit in our motorhome travels.

Seven weeks, about 4,000 miles, and more photos and memories than we can count await us. Sounds like a blast!

If that weren't enough we leave for an Alaskan Cruise in a few weeks - our way to celebrate our 40th anniversary!


Lastly, the folks at NeoMam Studios sent me an infographic on packing tips. Seems a fitting addition to a post on travel sites: NeoMam packing tips graphic.


15 comments:

  1. Good for you! Enjoy every minute of it. And, Happy Anniversary!
    b

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. My parents made 63 years together. That's our goal.

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  2. For those who like to cruise, sign up for the emails from Vacations to Go and 1-800-Cruises. They often send out deep discounted deals and last minute offerings. There are probably other aggregators as well that one can choose from on the cruising front.

    Be sure to let Deb and I know when you guys might be in TN. We love the Sevierville/Smoky Mtn area, and while we are a 2+ hour drive to the east of there off I-40, you also have a place to stay on the Cumberland Plateau.

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    1. Thanks so much for the invitation, Chuck. Our present plans are for 3 days in the Smoky Mountain area, and we have left enough wiggle room in our schedule to veer off our expected route when new friendship calls.

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  3. Malcolm and I just booked a 7 night cruise from Bayonne, NJ to Bermuda ultra cheap! Most lines tend to discount within 30 days of sailing, so we watch the lines and destinations that we are interested in and if it happens, good - if not, there is always another opportunity. We will continue on a road trip after the cruise to coastal New England. All our hotels are booked by using Hotwire. To add onto ChuckY's suggestions, check out Cruisecritic.com for great deals and lots of info re: cruising.

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    1. Good to hear from you, Suzanne. Betty and I loved Bermuda. Now, through the blog I have some friends there, so maybe it is time to head back to the pink sands.

      I am keeping all the suggested sites in a master list that I will post somewhere on the blog and keep in our personal travel files.

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  4. What a great list! I can also recommend signing up with a hotel chain (we're Hilton honors members; my friend belongs to Marriott) for special deals and discounts and an occasional free night's stay.

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    1. During my heavy travel days free flights on Delta and free nights in Hiltons made our family vacations stay on budget! The major hotel chains do have excellent ways to save, much better than airlines frequent flyer programs anymore!

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  5. Another great site is http://www.travelzoo.com/ you can sign up for a weekly newsletters. You can also sign up for different country news, to get a sense of what option are out there. You can also try Destinations on Google. Here is a quick video that explains how to use this service https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnlsEyN7qmw

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    1. I just took a look at the Google service you mention from the YouTube video - excellent. I am not surprised that they are a great resource. Thanks, Royce, for the tip.

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  6. I second both cruisecritic.com and travelzoo.com. We've booked a number of trips via both by keeping a 'where the wind carries us' approach to travel. We're open to going almost anywhere if the price/deal is appealing enough.

    We also really like VRBO.com and airbnb.com for booking non-hotel stays. Most always there are nicities included like kitchens, laundry machines and wifi that help keep a lid on travel costs.

    But, I think the very best travel deal of all is a Rick Steves travel book. I am such a fan of his tips and walking tours, I'll go anywhere that he's written a travel book about!

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    1. We are a fan of Rick's TV shows on PBS, too.

      The house we are renting for a week in San Diego in July is through VRBO, as was a condo on Maui several years ago. The quality of their offerings is excellent.

      I assume you and Mike are somewhere in Austria or other far-flung parts of Europe. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  7. We use airbnb almost exclusively for our trips now. It's fun to meet the hosts and sometimes we rent a room inside a nice home, sometimes we have a whole cottage to ourselves, like in Bisbee, for $75 a night !(And no resort fees!!) We stayed with a great couple in Santa Barbara for very little $$ a few years back and were invited to a reunion party they had in their garden one evening.. good memories. We'll be booking rooms for a road trip in Southern Oregon, soon .And we have a 2 night stay at a mansion in Sedona,a large guest room and many amenities.. we will meet a very eclectic hostess.. on airbnb you set up a profile and you can read reviews, check out the hosts, and they check you out too-- We love it!! Saving SOOO much money over hotels.

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    1. I have never really considered airbnb, but you make it sound like I may be missing something.

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  8. Browse the site and see what's available, just to get an idea.Some of my friends abhor the idea of staying in a house with people they don't know (you will know them after you stay! ) But there are so many cottages and casitas,etc. available where you can rent the entire house, cottage,apartment, or condo.We enjoy both situations. We'll be doing airbnb's up and down the Oregon coast later this summer. I have 4 different places rented.. we will spend a couple of days in each spot.. we're looking at Santa Fe in the fall--there are tons of "whole house" or casitas available there.. no "resort fees" either.

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