In your effort to be frugal in a tight economy, you failed to plan ahead for summer. Result? School’s out and you have no getaway planned, not even a weekend camping trip. Don’t fret.
In fact, your oversight may actually work in your favor with the chance to capitalize on last minute deals.
Here are some tips to help you put together a last-minute summer vacation you and your kids will love.
Illinois and Wisconsin are flush with full-service resorts (Pheasant Run, Indian Lakes, Eagle Ridge, Kohler and Grand Geneva to name a few), many of which offer deals during the summer months when corporate business is slower.
These multi-hundred acre resorts offer fun for the whole gang, including indoor and outdoor pools, fire pits, championship golf, kids clubs and fine dining and entertainment.
Surf for deals
While you may be a pro at using Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire and Orbitz for plane tickets, these sites also offer vacation packages—most often with deep discounts on hotels and flights.
Priceline, Kayak and most major airline sites also have easy-to-search, customizable vacations in the U.S. and abroad. Kayak lets you compare competitive travel sites in multiple windows, and has user ratings and countdown clocks on each day so you can grab the best deals right before they expire.
Lastly, sign up for email and Twitter alerts with your favorite airlines because most send weekly last minute flight deals.
The best beach deals happen in summer when all-inclusives are less packed with Americans fleeing the cold. Resort stays in exotic locales such as the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico can be as much as 60% off in the summer.
If you use Facebook, start a conversation with a status update to your friends asking for ideas on where you and the family should go. Everyone loves to dish on past trips and you get first-hand reviews from trusted sources.
Road trip it
With no plans in place, you are free to hit the open road and go as far as your timeframe allows. You can camp along the way or get last-minute lodging wherever you stop.
Got two weeks? Chicago is the origination of historical Route 66, which, though changed somewhat since its opening in the late ‘20s, will still take you all the way to Los Angeles.
If you are looking for a shorter stint, the Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin state fairs all take place in August and offer a healthy slice of Americana with great food, fun and concerts by top-tier country music sensations such as Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban.