The holidays always approach faster than we’re ready for. And when you’re a student new to holiday travel, this can mean having to make last-minute plans in order to see family or take a small vacation.
If you don’t do it right, rushing to make plans at the last minute can result in paying extra, having to sacrifice time, and even having to sit out on plans because you can’t find a way to make them work out.
Avoid these late-traveling problems by checking out these 6 tips that every last-minute traveler needs to know.
Be flexible You may not get the best seats, you may have to take odd routes, and there may be long layovers. Accept these things as the consequences of late planning, and jump on good deals when you can as they’re few and far between at this time. One of the benefits of traveling as a college student is that you often do it alone or with just one other person, making it easier to be flexible.
Seek out deals Thankfully, last-minute travelers can still access many good deals. Sites like lastminute.com and travelzoo.com can help you find deals that haven’t been claimed yet. If you’re a member of AAA, are in the military, or have any nationwide membership such as Costco, try planning part of your trip through them for discounts.
Avoid surprises Do your research to avoid missing any surprise fees or changes in plans. Some common things that go unchecked on last-minute trips include baggage fees, road closures, and cancellation fees – which might make you reconsider making iffy plans.
Check out apps If you’re planning a last-minute trip, apps like Last Minute Travel Deals, which lists wholesale discounts, many of which are only available through mobile platforms, can let you plan trips during free time in your day. Getting to and from places like the airport can also be assisted by apps like Uber or Lyft, which have promotional codes online for discounted rides.
Don’t forget about school Having a trip sprung on you can throw you off. Make sure that before any trip, you have done everything you need to administratively for your classes, like turning in registration and financial aid forms by end of the year deadlines, and that you bring with you any paperwork you need to plan your next semester.
Map your plan Use a review site like Yelp or a city’s visitor guide to find out where the cheapest places are for restaurants, rentals, hotels. Then, on your phone’s map application, drop pins where you find the cheapest deals so you’re ready to find them on a whim.