Ever feel stuck in rut? Like you need a change of scenery right this minute? Well, what are you waiting for? It’s true, planning a last-minute trip can be intimidating. But with the right resources, you can have an amazing time and even save money leaving on the spur of the moment.
To help you get started, here is the ultimate last-minute travel guide: 31 last-minute travel sites and apps to help you find deals, stay organized and more!
Don’t want to go through the hassle of using a bunch of different websites to arrange your trip? These last-minute travel deal aggregators offer one-stop shopping for flights, lodging and car rentals:
LastMinuteTravel.com: Save money on everything you need for a last-minute trip, including hotels, flights, cruises and transportation. Don’t mind surprises? LastMinuteTravel.com offers extra savings on their network of 16,000 Undercover hotels. You won’t know where you’re staying until after you’ve booked. But that’s part of the fun, right?
TravelZoo: TravelZoo’s last-minute section offers discounts (often up to 40%) at hotels and resorts in the US and internationally. Deals on last-minute flights and car rentals are also offered, but are more scarce.
CheapCaribbean.com: Planning a spontaneous beach getaway? Cheap Caribbean offers last-minute deals on all things Caribbean, including flights, lodging and transportation.
Usually, flights are less expensive if you book early. But last-minute flight deals are out there if you know where to look. Here are 3 great places to find them:
Airfarewatchdog: Airfarewatchdog will help you find the best price on flights, even if you’re leaving at the last minute. Don’t know where to go? This site lets you leave your destination open, so you can easily unearth last-minute flight deals from your hometown airport.
Kayak Explore: This tool lets you search Kayak for flights without specifying a destination. Just pick your dates, where you’d like to leave from and your flight budget. Then, look at the map to see what’s available around the world.
Need a place place to stay? Here are the best sites and apps for last-minute hotel deals:
Roomer: Book a hotel room cheap from someone who had to cancel their trip at the last minute.
HotelTonight: Last-minute hotel rooms direct from your mobile device.
Sandals Last Minute Deals: Last-minute specials on rooms at Sandals all inclusive Caribbean resorts.
Groupon Getaways: Groupon Getaways has a last-minute section for deals on hotels and resorts. Most deals are for the US, the Caribbean and Mexico.
Cruise lines often offer last minute specials to fill empty cabins. A last-minute cruise deal makes for a cheap, relaxing vacation, assuming you don’t pay through the nose to get to the departure port. Here’s where to find them:
Princess Cruises Drop & Go Deals: Last-minute travel deals on Princess cruises.
Last Minute Cruise Deals from Norwegian: Last-minute cruises from Barcelona, New York City and Miami.
VacationsToGo.com: This is the website for a bricks-and-mortar travel agency that specializes in last minute cruises. You’ll have to register for their email list (free of charge) to see the deals they offer. Also, you have to call in and book. You can’t book online.
Want to leave the country? The most common roadblock you’ll face is documentation. Passports and visas often have lengthy application requirements and wait times. Here’s how to get them faster:
RushMyPassport.com: Get a last-minute passport in as little as 24 hours!
RushMyTravelVisa.com: Select a country to learn more about its visa requirements and to apply for expedited visa service.
The Department of State: Get a Passport in a Hurry: This page outlines all the different expediting options available if you need your passport quickly.
Project Visa: Outlines basic visa requirements for every country in the world. This is a helpful site but please be sure to double-check the information provided with an official source, like the US Department of State’s site or the embassy for the country you plan to visit.
Last-minute travel means last-minute packing. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget something important. Save time and ease your worries with these handy packing lists and apps:
Travels’ Checklist: This site does the dirty work of creating a customized packing list for you. Items are suggested based on who’s traveling, where you’re going, how long you’re staying and your planned activities. It also includes a handy pre-trip checklist with information on documents, home preparation and suggested vaccines.
Packsmith, the Tortuga Backpacks blog: Want to skip checking a bag? These handy, minimalist packing lists focus on carry on only travel.
Travel List (iPhone app) : Easily select items to add to your list, add custom items, and set reminders so you don’t forget items that need to be packed at the last minute. $1.99
Packing Pro (iPhone App): Create a packing list for each member of your family. You can either customize the sample lists provided or tell the app about your trip and generate a suggested packing list. $2.99
Packpoint (iPhone and Android App): This is another app that generates custom packing lists based on your trip parameters. Several handy little touches set it apart from the other apps on this list. For example, it checks the weather for you, and it syncs with TripIt and Evernote. Even better, it’s now owned by Sheraton, who is “sponsoring” free upgrades to the Premium version.
No time to read a huge, heavy guidebook? These resources will help:
LonelyPlanet.com: Guides, articles and apps that cover most of the planet.
RickSteves.com: Handpicked, carefully curated destinations in Europe.
Nomadic Matt’s Travel Guides: These guides are updated regularly and cover most of the Americas, Europe and Asia. Also available: budget travel guides to Paris, New York City, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Stockholm and Hong Kong.
Moon Travel Guides: Focused on but not limited to outdoor and adventure travel, Moon Travel Guides are available for a variety of destinations across the globe.
Don’t spend the rest of your life waiting to travel. Sometimes, you just have to go. Use these resources to make the most of your next opportunity to plan the last-minute trip of a lifetime!