Memorial Day weekend is all about getting away from it all, whether it’s a trip to the great outdoors or a few nights’ stay in some place unexplored. But what if you've waited until the last minute to make plans? Is there any hope of booking lodging or a flight on such short notice – and at a reasonable price? We’ve got you covered with tips for scoring discounts on hotel rooms, flights and more when time is tight.
"Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season, and Americans are traveling in record numbers this year," Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for the travel booking website Orbitz.com, said in a statement. "It's not too late to get away without breaking the bank. By booking accommodations just outside of major tourist hubs or by staying in neighboring suburbs, travelers can stretch their budgets even further."
The first thing to note when making last-minute bookings is to stay open-minded. You might not find the best deals in the heart of New York City or on the best beaches in Miami, but step off the beaten path and you’ll discover more-affordable options.
Orbitz offers a roundup of popular Memorial Day weekend travel destinations and gives suggestions for cheaper locations in nearby suburbs or cities. This year, the top three most popular destinations for Americans are Las Vegas; Cancun, Mexico; and New York City, according to Orbitz.
Another suggestion from the experts is to choose a business city like Dallas or Minneapolis, which tend to empty out around Memorial Day, taking the expensive hotel prices with them. “You can head to swanky business hotels and live it up for much less than you usually would," Pauline Frommer, editorial director for the travel guidebook series Frommer's, told CNBC.
Looking to fly? There are a slew of websites dedicated to helping you make last-minute flight bookings. Lastminute.com, Booking.com and Airfarewatchdog.com all make it easier to score deals when you’re down to the wire.
When in doubt, turn to social media. Many airlines will post their final sales to Twitter. Check airlines’ Twitter feeds to spot the savings.
As a last resort, consider driving. Memorial Day weekend gas prices are at their lowest in years, meaning you won’t break the bank by hitting the road.