When it comes to trip planning, there are two kinds of people – those who have their trips planned months in advance and those who wait until the last minute. If you find yourself in the latter category, you still might be able to pull off a last-minute trip for Memorial Day weekend. The official kickoff to the summer season, this holiday weekend is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends or to use that PTO to book a trip for yourself. With it just around the corner, we’ve got a few ideas (and destinations) for booking a last-minute trip.
Consider Going Camping
If you love being outdoors and the thought of making meals over a campfire excites you, consider going camping this weekend. Though stocking up on the latest camping gear is tempting, you can also keep camping pretty low-key. In a pinch, you can buy (or borrow) a tent, pack a few days of food and emergency supplies, and head out on the road.
Start by checking out Hipcamp, a site that connects campers with camping sites at National Parks and on privately owned land. Depending on how much you want to “rough it,” the site also lists cabins, treehouses, and glamping accommodations, and there’s even a list of the best campgrounds in each state, which can save you some time searching.
Use Your Credit Card Rewards
If you use your credit card often, you may have some reward points sitting around that you could put toward a last-minute trip. Depending on what kind of credit card you have, you could book a hotel and receive a statement credit or book a travel package through your credit card’s rewards portal and earn even more points. Offsetting your last-minute vacation with credit card points can allow you to allocate your funds to food and entertainment.
Consider using credit card rewards to book a weekend trip to an underrated destination in the U.S. like Santa Fe, New Mexico. The city is full of art museums, historic sites, and exciting food and wine tours. On the East Coast, Detroit is another great choice. The city has undergone a recent revitalization and has plenty of new restaurants and bars downtown. The city also has fun activities like the Detroit Zoo, the Eastern Market farmer’s market, and the Motown Museum.
Book Just Outside of Big Cities
When you’re trip planning at the last minute, consider staying in smaller towns that still have access to bigger cities with attractions, which could save you some big bucks. Smaller towns may also have more hotel rooms available at a better rate than a bigger city.
For example, this weekend you could book a trip to Florida’s Cocoa Beach, a quiet beach town with affordable accommodations only an hour outside of Orlando. You can visit a popular Orlando theme park in a day and spend the rest of your vacation hanging out at the beach. Another great weekend destination is Tacoma, which is only 30 minutes outside of Seattle’s downtown area. Tacoma is home to the Museum of Glass and Point Defiance Park, which has its own zoo and aquarium. The best part is that you can get from Tacoma to Seattle easily via public transportation.
Check for Last-Minute Hotel Deals
There are companies that cater to last-minute travelers and even offer same day deals on hotels. In order to avoid having empty rooms, sites like Hotel Tonight offer great discounts on all categories of hotel rooms. To save even more, you can also head to places in the U.S. that are considered low-season destinations in May.
Chicago is a great place to visit in May before the city’s peak summer season. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the extremely cold winter weather. Some highlights in Chicago include Navy Pier, The Magnificent Mile shopping district, and Giordano’s, home to the city’s famous deep-dish pizza. Savannah, Georgia is another great weekend destination for travelers before the hot, humid summers roll in. During your stay, you can stroll through the 30-acre Forsyth Park in the historic district or head to Tybee Island and enjoy three miles of beautiful beaches.
Search for Inexpensive Flights
There’s still a chance you can snag a good deal on a flight – if you’re flexible. Using Google Flights or Skyscanner, you can score both international and domestic flights for just a few hundred dollars. If you’re traveling domestically, you can pair your last-minute flight with a hotel stay or check out this listing of Black-owned Airbnbs.
If you’re hoping to get your passport stamped this weekend, some of the most inexpensive international destinations include Cancun, Mexico and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Both locations have a large offering of hotels and all-inclusive resorts, which makes your stay even more convenient.