Planning a trip the night before...

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by tulane09, Feb 19, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

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    My fiance and I were considering an interesting travel planning idea for our next big trip (post honeymoon) and I was wondering if anyone here has done something similar.

    Basically we plan to schedule time off for a vacation but not book anything until the weekend before we go. Miles and hotel points are spread across enough programs that I anticipate we should find some availability somewhere we want to go. It would also allow us to take advantage of some of the short term deals often put out by airlines and hotels.

    Am I crazy? Has anyone else done this? Tips/tricks/thoughts/experiences?
     
  2. michael21

    michael21 Silver Member

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    My view is that people take their points too seriously. That sounds like a fun, spontaneous idea. What Is the worst case scenario? You don't get a free trip somewhere IDEAL? Go for it.
     
  3. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Last minute travel is frequently a particular strength of points relative to cash. Nothing unserious about that. ;)
     
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  4. LAM

    LAM Silver Member

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    I think some of the airlines charge higher fees close in to the travel. That might be a negative.
     
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  5. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    I have tried for spontaneity, only to fail horribly, too many times. The best that I have found is to contact my wife's assistant, look at her calendar, and then have her book something, that looks legit, six months out. Her iPhone, iPad and computer show something local, and say for a Thursday, and Friday, with the Saturday and Sunday showing some events and the like. Then, I surprise her with the trip, BUT I book that well in advance (not spontaneous to me, but who cares?), to match up with those dates. On Wednesday night, I hand her the boarding pass, and tell her how to pack. That is how I handle it.

    Heck, I had planned our anniversary in detail, only to find out that a board meeting was moved, and then a hospital dedication was also rescheduled. I had to move everything, including restaurants and spa-day, back a week. Luckily, I was planning this near-by, so no airlines involved. However, I did have to reschedule the pet-sitter.

    I envy the two of you. Take full advantage of the flexibility. I have already booked almost 50 flights for 2014, and it's only February!

    Hunt
     
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  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I've done international travel, both work and pleasure, on less than 24 hours notice. It's fun.

    How committed are you to using miles & points? My own approach has been to use them when paid fares/rates are unusually expensive but use cash when fares/rates are low. Whether you care about cash prices or not will may make the rest of this advice less useful:

    While some airfares will vary very little close-in, I would be tempted to plan at least 7 or 14 days out for airfare. I've seen fewer and fewer truly good short-notice deals on airfare. In any case, consider booking air first, then look for hotels (and cars, if needed), knowing that you have 24 hours to cancel the air tickets. If using miles, I'm not sure which airlines refund close-in ticketing fees under 24-hour cancel rules; make sure you understand the limits.

    For hotels, consider Priceline's name-your-own-price, but make sure you have air tickets nailed down first. If you get down to same-day, consider Hotel Tonight or, if wanting to stay near an airport, using a pink distressed passenger voucher.
     
  7. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Depending on your status (or lack thereof) you might see close-in fees that would make things rather unpleasant... :)

    Not to mention availability is always a toss-up, depending on where you're based out of and where you plan to go. There's nothing wrong with spontaneous travel, but I find that oftentimes careful planning and having multiple options will save me a lot of headaches.

    I've found that (if you have status) being able to redeposit miles and booking with hotels that have a fairly lenient cancellation policy is often the best. IHG cash & points is always a win-win for me because even if you cancel you end up earning a few points (for a price, of course).

    I do similar things every now and then... plan and book in advance, then spring the surprise at the last minute. I often LIE too, straight up LIE with a straight face and tell her we're going somewhere else -- with similar climate so she can pack accordingly. I've told her Florida and we ended up in Puerto Rico once and the Bahamas another time, and told her Chicago in the summer and we ended up in New Orleans.
     
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