8 tips for planning an amazing last-minute trip on a budget
I don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing some MAJOR wanderlust and thinking about planning a last-minute trip before the end of summer. The only catch...summer is one of THE MOST expensive times of year to travel. So, I thought I’d share some tips from expert travelers on how to plan a last-minute trip without breaking the bank.
1. Be flexible with your travel dates. 🗓
Friday through Sunday are the most popular travel days, which means they’re also the most expensive. Consider kicking off the weekend early by traveling on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Got some work to finish up or scheduled for a weekend shift? Check with your boss to see if you can work remotely or ask a coworker to cover for you.
2. Consider multiple trip locations. 📍
Google Flights has an awesome feature called Explore, where you can plug in your preferred travel dates and get a list of destinations currently offering special airfare prices. You never know, you might just find a hidden gem you wouldn’t have otherwise visited.
3. Book two one-way tickets. 🎟
Instead of limiting your search to roundtrip tickets, make sure you look at prices for one-way tickets, too. In many cases, it’s actually a better deal to purchase two one-way tickets on different airlines than a single roundtrip ticket. I know, it’s mind blowing!
4. Ditch the wings for train tracks or the open road. 🚂 🚙
Not only are last-minute plane tickets expensive, but they also tend to be offered at inconvenient times (think redeyes or crack of dawn departures). Depending on how far you’re going, you might consider Amtrak or even a good old-fashioned road trip with your bestie.
5. Use the “14-day window” rule to your advantage. 📉
This is a procrastinator’s dream and 14 days is the magic number! This is when airlines, hotels and cruises will begin dropping their prices and offering huge discounts for upcoming travel departures until they’re fully booked. In some cases, it could be a major upgrade to your original travel plans.
6. Always be on the hunt. 👀
Whether you’re traveling via planes, trains or automobiles, they’re always deals to be had. Sites like GTFO Flights, Honey, Scott’s Cheap Flights and Hotel Tonight can help you save money on every aspect of your trip. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good deal?! It leaves you with more money for activities!
7. Don’t forget about side hustles. 🤑
If you’re a little short on cash and your trip looks out of reach, not to worry! There are so many side hustles you can pursue. If you or a friend has a car, consider doing a few food delivery runs with DoorDash. You could also purge your closet and make a few sales on Poshmark. There's always Step’s referral program, too.
8. Look for everyday budget cuts. ✂️
If after all this, you’re still coming up short, you can always look for some quick budget cuts – like skipping the Starbucks run, hoverboarding instead of ubering home and ditching the takeout menu. And, don’t forget about staycations! You can still have a blast by posting up at a local spot while saving on airfare.
Whether you’ll be trekking it cross-country or staying close to home, I hope these tips will help you plan an unforgettable trip! Be sure to tag @stepmobile and #StepUpYourSummer so we can follow along on your adventure. Who knows, there might even be a fun surprise. 😉