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Last Minute Summer Vacation: Ideas For Last Minute Summer Trips

Planning a last minute summer vacation? If you don't have your summer travel plans nailed down yet, don't worry. There are some great deals on last minute summer travel if you know where to look. Here are the some of the best places to check out for a last minute summer vacation.

#1 Last Minute Summer Vacation - Hawaii Great last minute summer travel deals can be found this summer for travel to Hawaii. Most of the airlines started deeply slashing fares to Hawaii a couple weeks ago. Check Kayak.com to check the Hawaii summer airfare deals from your airport. Some of these summer air fare deals are going fast, so book when you see a great rate. Also check beatofhawaii.com, they update the last minute summer travel deals for air fare regularly.

Good deals can also be found on time shares in Hawaii this summer. With the economy, people struggling with their mortgage payments are offering deep discounts on their condos and other properties. Check sites such as VRBO.com to search for properties.

Look at packages too for last minute summer travel to Hawaii. I am very tempted to head out to Hawaii for last minute summer vacation in a couple weeks after checking deals at Pleasantholidays.com. For $1, 787, I found a trip for two to Kauai from Denver for May 18-23. Included was airfare, 5 night's hotel in the four-star Sheraton Kauai Resort, and a rental car for 5 days. Checking prices farther out, the prices went up, so the best strategy appears to be booking two weeks ahead. Prices from some other airports for the same trip through Pleasant Holidays included: Phoenix $1477, Minneapolis $1696, Atlanta $1740. Many other airports are available; this is just a sampling. Also, check applevacations.com for more Hawaiian deals.

#2 Last Minute Summer Vacation- Washington D.C.

With summer airfare rates cut by most major airlines right now, a last-minute summer trip to Washington D.C. is more affordable than ever. Rates from Denver to Washington, DC are as low as $183 on American Airlines; similar deals can be found from various other airports. Check rates on Kayak.com for your airport. Also make sure to check flights into Baltimore (BWI), especially on Southwest.com. Flying into BWI is often less expensive than flying directly into D.C. and you can reach D.C. in an hour on public transportation.

For a last minute hotel deal, check hotwire.com. For activities, there are tons of things to do in D.C. and for even more ideas check out 100 things to do in D.C. for free or almost free. It includes free activities from the performing arts to tours, and also recommends some budget eats in D.C.

#3 Last Minute Summer Vacation- National Parks Usually, a last minute summer vacation to a National Park is out of the question, especially if you want to stay in the park to get the true national park experience. Most people start planning their summer trips to popular national parks up to two years in advance to ensure they can get lodging in the park. However, this summer many of those people that started planning two years ago may have changed financial circumstances and have to unfortunately cancel their plans. This means lodging that may have been booked for a year in advance is opening up. In previous summers, I have had good luck finding lodging in Yellowstone National Park at the last minute, when we have just decided to drive up there on a whim, and it should be even easier this summer.

Xanterra.com handles reservations for in-park national park lodging. Check their website close to your travel dates to see if your desired lodging has opened up. Also try directly calling; as sometimes last-minute cancellations aren't immediately reflected on the website. Of course, you can always camp out, or look for lodging outside national parks, which are often available at the last minute.

With gas prices down, consider a last-minute driving trip to a national park near you. Since many national parks are a little bit out of the way of national airports, flights to close airports can be expensive, but you can usually find a major airport and rent a car and drive to one or more National Parks. For instance, from Denver, you can reach Rocky Mountain National Park easily, and the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands), Moab, and Yellowstone are not out of reach. Similarly from Las Vegas you can hit the Utah national parks (Bryce, Zion) and/or the Grand Canyon.

Also think about some of the lesser visited national parks. Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is a beautiful, lesser known National Park with few crowds for last minute summer travel. Don't forget to pick up an America the Beautiful Pass for $80 if you are visiting multiple parks. And if you are age 62+, you can get a $10 lifetime pass to the national parks which is an exceptional deal for seniors. These can be purchased at any national park.

#4 Last Minute Summer Vacation - Caribbean Cruise With the cruise business down and a glut of ships in the Caribbean, you can almost always find a good deal on a last-minute summer travel on a Caribbean cruise. Cruises are also a good vacation value because your room, meals and entertainment are all included. With some rates as low a $50 per person per day, the vacation values can't be beat. Check cruisedirect.com or orbitz.com for last-minute cruise deals. Orbitz.com has lots of bonus deals such as onboard spending bonuses along with cheap cruise rates. You can purchase a cruise with airfare included, but with cheap summer air fares to Florida destinations, you may be better off booking your flight separately. Just make sure you allow plenty of time between your flight and ship boarding in case your flight is late.

#5 Last Minute Summer Vacation - Las Vegas Las Vegas always has good deals, especially for last minute summer travel. Packages often offer the best deal for last minute travel rather than booking separately. Travelocity.com and Lastminute.com are both good places to check for packages to Las Vegas for a last minute summer vacation. You can often find flight + hotel for less or the same as a flight alone. Booking closer to your travel date usually yields the best deals. For example, if I wanted to leave in two days for Las Vegas, I could get a flight from Denver and hotel for 5 nights on Lastminute.com for $250 per person. And although the meal deals aren't as good as they used to be in Las Vegas, cheap eats can still be found in some of the off-strip or smaller hotels. See here for cheap eats in Las Vegas.

With these five last minute summer travel destinations, you can find a great deal on last minute summer travel without breaking the bank. For more ideas on how to find last minute summer travel vacations, see my article on Ten Tips to Find the Best Last Minute Summer Travel Deals.

By Tanya Marcketti - I live in Colorado and enjoy the sun and snow. Hobbies include gardening, cooking, hiking and skiing.  





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