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How to Have an Amazing and Affordable Last Minute Vacation

Chris Gottschalk

Chris Gottschalk About The Author

Aug 22, 2023 4:45:00 AM

It’s common knowledge that the more time you have to prepare for a trip like a family vacation, the more successful it will be. However, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for a vacation. Maybe your friend invites you to go on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip this weekend, or maybe you have some vacation days you must use in the next two months or lose them.

While you might be excited about this last minute vacation, you’re aware that you don’t have much time to prepare, which means you won’t be able to search for deals on airline tickets or hotel rooms. You also won’t have much time to put aside money. How do you make sure you have an amazing last minute vacation without breaking the bank?

Here’s how to have an incredible last minute vacation

how to have a last-minute vacation

Create Your Vacation Budget

Once you know you’re going on vacation, the first thing to do is create a vacation budget. This is similar to a monthly budget, only you won’t be balancing the sum of your expenses against your income. Instead, you’ll be listing your anticipated expenses and totaling them to get an estimate of how much your last minute vacation will cost.

If you’re having trouble figuring *how to budget for a vacation* that is coming up in the near future, keep these tips in mind:

  • Determine your vacation priorities. What do you most want to do on this trip?
  • Research vacation costs. Get estimates on airline tickets, hotel rooms, activities, restaurants and souvenirs.
  • Take hidden expenses into account. These can include snacks, parking fees, Wi-Fi and Uber fare.
  • Build flexibility into your budget. This will help you prepare for emergencies

Once you’ve completed your vacation budget, you’ll have an idea of much your trip will cost. This, of course, brings up a new question—how to afford a vacation planned at the last minute?   

Finance Your Trip

Almost everyone who’s planned a getaway has, at some point, asked themselves, “How can I finance a vacation this year?” This is especially true of last minute vacations, where you might only have a couple weeks to figure out where you’ll get the money.

Your first step should be to look through your accounts to see how much money you have available for a vacation. You might have a dedicated vacation fund set up, or you might have received a bonus that will fund your trip. You might even have some money in your savings that you haven’t allotted to some other financial goal.

If you don’t have enough money available, you’ll have to fund your vacation with a loan, a line of credit or a credit card. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have a plan to pay back what you borrow as soon as possible.

You can also make your trip more affordable by lowering the costs of your vacation budget. Maybe you can reduce your travel expenses by driving instead of flying, or maybe you can cut costs by camping out instead of staying in a hotel.

Once you’re comfortable with how much you plan on spending and know how you’ll pay for it, it’s time to get the best prices for your trip.

Apply for a vacation loan today! 

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Look for Deals

When you’re planning a last minute vacation, you don’t have the luxury of early booking. You also can’t bide your time waiting for a price drop.

Fortunately, you can find last-minute vacation deals on travel and lodging for your vacation in several ways. Your first step should be to search several booking sites, like Expedia, Hotels.com, Kayak and any other site you can think of. Once you get rates from those sites, compare them with the rates the airlines and hotels offer directly and see who offers the best deal.

Another good way to find deals on airlines and hotels is to look for bundle deals, also known as package deals. You’ll usually save some money on both the airplane ticket and the hotel room, and you might even stumble on a travel company trying to unload its last few packages by offering a steep discount.

You might also want to look into group tours if you're trying to travel on a budget. These can offer discounted rates on travel, lodging and even activities for your vacation. As an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about activities prices or logistics, and you might just make some new friends during your trip.

If you’re intimidated at the thought of searching through website after website for prices and comparing all of them, you might want to talk with a travel agent. They usually have inside information about where to find good last-minute deals, and if you need to get a refund, you’ll be glad you have a travel agent on your side.

tips to take a last minute vacation

Be Flexible

When you’re planning a last minute vacation, you’ll want to be as flexible as possible. You might be able to save a lot of money by leaving on a different day than you intended, or even going to a different city. You may not be able to get exactly the vacation you were looking for, but if you’re open to adventure you’ll be more likely to find yourself on a memorable journey.

Download your vacation budget planner today!

Make Your Budget

Create a Packing List

No matter where you’re going for your last minute vacation, you need to make a packing list. It will help keep costs down on your vacation since you’re less likely to forget something essential and have to buy a replacement. Even better, you can go on your vacation confident you have everything you need to make it a fun, memorable experience.

Have an Incredible Last-Minute Vacation With First Alliance Credit Union

Most vacations benefit from advance planning, but you can still have a wonderful last-minute vacation that won’t blow out your budget. You’ll want to start by making a vacation budget, then start looking for deals to help make your trip more affordable. Above all else, you need to be flexible and open to adventure.

If you want even more help making your last minute vacation a success, become a member of First Alliance Credit Union today. We have several resources to help you plan for a vacation, from our free downloadable vacation budget to our SMART goal packet that will help you save for your next trip. You can also start saving for your next summer vacation by opening a vacation club account and monitoring your progress with our online banking platform and mobile app.

We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.