This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. The opinions and text are all mine.
It’s not difficult to plan a last-minute getaway when you have the right essentials and a how-to guide. Here are 25 best tips on how to plan a last-minute getaway for you and the family. I’m sharing ways to save money on last-minute travel ideas, plus travel planning tips on where to go, and how rewards can help you save and plan a last-minute trip!
25 Best Tips To Plan A Last Minute Getaway
It’s August, y’all! Where did summer go? It seems I was just counting down the days when the boys would be out of school, and now we’re getting ready for the back to school craze.
But wait, before all of THAT happens, we still have a few weeks left of summer. And just maybe, there’s time to sneak in a few last-minute trips. Before kids, Derrick and I took a lot of last-minute getaways. It was easy to pick a destination and go. A last-minute trip is usually a spontaneous one, sometimes planned the eve of the vacation.
However, when you have a family and pets, you have to juggle a few things around.
But guess what? It’s still possible to plan a last-minute getaway with kids! I’m going to show you how we plan last-minute vacations.
Here are a few ideas on how you can plan a last-minute getaway and stay on budget!
- Visit family + friends. If you have family or friends in a nearby city or a quick plane ride away, plan a visit to see them (just make sure they are available). This will save money on a hotel, food, and entertainment.
- Go camping. Head to your state park or a national park for a night or two. (You can also have a camping experience right in your backyard).
- Have a staycation. When’s the last time you took the time to explore your city? This was on our bucket list this summer. We live in a beautiful state (Michigan), so exploring our state parks, beaches, and beautiful sand dunes was a lot of fun this summer. Plus, we were able to spend time exploring family friendly things to do. Go to your local city’s website to find activities going on, and explore your city/state like a tourist.
- If you are traveling solo or with a partner, save money by staying at a hostel or couch surfing.
- If you’re planning on flying and it’s last-minute, you may get lucky. Set up flight alerts as soon as possible, I like to use google.com/flights (Airfare Watchdog is another good one). We’ve picked last-minute destinations by finding the cheapest place to fly to from our airport hub. Tip: book your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the best deals. See: TOP Need To Know Tips On Scoring the BEST Airfare Deals
- Watch for 24-hour deals on flights. Many times if a flight has a lot of seats left within a 24-hour window, they will release a new batch of low prices. You can also take the risk of going to the airport and booking a last-minute deal. Another option is to fly standby to score a low airfare price.
- For hotels, check out daily deal sites to find low and reasonable hotel deals. You can also call the hotel the day you arrive and ask about the manager’s special and walk-up rates. Hotels want to fill every room (just like the airlines). If they have rooms available, they will lower the price to fill it. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- Every city has something free to do. Be sure you check out the destination’s website for free events and activities.
Tips on planning a last-minute getaway:
- Seriously, don’t spend a lot of time agonizing on where to go. Last-minute getaways should not break the bank or stress you out. Pick a destination and go. If you’re not sure on where to go, pick your top five spots, write them each on a piece of paper, stick them in a jar, shake it up, and pull one out.
- If you have the flexibility, the best last-minute travel deals will be in your favor.
- There are a ton of great travel apps to use to help you plan your trip. See: 9 BEST Free Travel Apps You Must Use + 36 + Best Apps To Use When You Travel
- Research the destination on your way. While you’re on the plane, train, or automobile, look for things to do in the area. Be sure to check out Instagram. The locals and other travel lovers have already posted things to do in that destination (use the location’s hashtags to find things to do/best places to eat).
- Social media is a GREAT way to find excellent last-minute getaways. I’ve found some awesome vacation ideas by browsing around on the various social media platforms.
- Always keep a compartment bag full of travel-size essentials nearby.
- Pack light.
Another way to save money is rewards. Many credit + debit cards have a point system attached to them. If you’ve been racking up points for a while, use them to help pay for your last-minute trip!
I recently talked about how we’re fueling our summer road trips and adventures. We’ve been a part of Shell and the *Fuel Rewards® program for a while now. Recently, we were upgraded to Instant Gold Status (for free!). With Gold Status, we are now saving 5 cents off per gallon, up to 20 gallons per fill for at least 6 months. Since our last-minute vacations before school starts will be road trips, I’m factoring these savings into my travel budget.
Here’s another way the Fuel Rewards® program is awesome:
Send your referral link to friends and family so they can join the Fuel Rewards program. Then, the first time a friend uses the program by earning a reward or using their card at a participating Shell station, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal. There’s no limit to how many friends you invite or how many times you earn!
Also, with the Fuel Rewards* program, we will be able to rack up rewards through participating vendors with our stay at hotels, eating at restaurants, shopping, and other activities. Plus, we’re taking advantage of Gold Status and the 5 cents off per gallon, which will stack with other rewards. Talk about winning! Sign up for the Fuel Rewards® program here and start saving with Instant Gold Status! It’s free and takes less than a minute to do!
Last-Minute Road Trips:
If you are planning a last-minute road trip, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make sure your car is road trip ready. Check the tires, get an oil change, and stock the car with road trip essentials.
- I’m grateful to own a KIA Sorento which gets fantastic gas mileage (and this also saves money too!).
- Sign up for the FREE Fuel Rewards program, which will automatically give you Instant Gold Status (promotion expires 12/31/2017). Be sure to visit the website to get more information about Instant Gold Status.
- While you’re traveling, you will be earning rewards at participating gas stations, saving on gas, earning rewards inside Shell gas station on select snacks, and on (participating) dining and hotel locations.
- Map out your road trip. If you have small kids, you know there will be several bathroom stops. Also, make sure you map out participating Shell locations to take advantage of the savings and rewards with the fuel rewards program. I want my 5 cents off per gallon of gas!
- I also map out coffee locations. Just sayin’…
- Pack the car the night before.
- Pick a destination within a few hours from your home (departing location). With a last-minute getaway, you do not want to spend a lot of hours on the road.
Whew! Hopefully, this has helped you nail down everything you need to know before planning an awesome last-minute getaway for you and the family (or if you’re traveling with a partner or solo).
Last-minute travel plans shouldn’t be stressful. It does require a little planning, but the thrill of taking risks and winging is part of the adventure!
What last-minute vacation are you planning this summer or fall? Drop me a line below. And, be sure to sign up for the Fuel Rewards program and get your Instant Gold Status! #winning
*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period”. If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period”. The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period”. You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period”. During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473
Need a few last-minute getaway ideas? Check out these tried and true getaway ideas:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.