If you ever had a vacation trip canceled, you understand the disappointment that goes along with that. It can be heartbreaking if you looked forward to the trip for months. While anticipation is a large part of enjoying a vacation, in order to fully enjoy it, it’s necessary to actually take the trip! A last-minute vacation solution may be in order!
Hopefully, you planned ahead and bought travel insurance so that your money can be recouped. But what do you do with your time now that you won’t be going on the vacation you planned? Here are my top five ideas for last-minute vacations when your original trip is canceled.
Reschedule the Planned Vacation
If your trip is canceled by a tour company, it’s highly likely that they can reschedule your trip at a different time. The first trip I ever took with a tour company was as a chaperone on a school-sponsored trip. We had a connecting flight to make in Newark. However, the airport SHUT DOWN due to a blizzard. The tour company couldn’t change the weather, but they were able to get us on flights to the third leg of our journey. We had to skip Ireland and Wales. Bummer! But they rebooked our hotel in London so that our time was longer there. They treated us to ALL of the extra day trips to other areas around England. We got to see more of England than just London and some of those day trips turned out to be my favorite parts of the trip!
Other tour companies such as Road Scholar or Rick Steves’ European tours, etc. have policies in place in case they have to cancel your trip. Road Scholar will refund your money or transfer it to another trip to be used within 18 months. Each tour company will have its own policies if you have to cancel a trip. In general, though, you have to have a legitimate reason like an unexpected medical or family issue in order to have all of your money refunded. Rick Steves’ Europe will refund your deposit if you cancel within thirty days of booking the tour.
If your trip is canceled for the company’s reasons or your own, you need to know the specific policies of the company you book with BEFORE you book the tour. That way you’ll know ahead of time what to do when your vacation is canceled. So be sure to read the fine print!
Take a Different Last-Minute Vacation
If you’ve done your own vacation planning, it’s up to you to decide what to do with your time and money if your trip is canceled. If you’re a corporate employee and have to take the time off as it was scheduled, there are other ways to relax and enjoy your vacation time.
Take Advantage of Cheap Last-Minute Flights
Airlines, despite their best efforts, don’t always fill up for all of their flights in a day. This means advantage YOU! When prices are lowered at the last minute in an attempt to fill a flight before it takes off, you may be able to snag a flight for much less money.
There are many websites that specialize in this type of last-minute flight, but don’t just check one website to get the cheapest flight. And always check the airline of your choice as well. You never know you will have the least expensive deal.
I checked several websites today for a roundtrip flight starting five days from today. The absolute cheapest roundtrip flight from my airport, Denver International Airport to San Diego (a great vacation spot) was $122 through Skyscanner. This was a combination of two airlines and both flights were non-stop. I could also get there for $142 on United Airlines. On Last Minute Travel, the cheapest flight was $161. It was non-stop on Frontier Airlines both ways. On Momondo, I found the cheapest fare was $127, non-stop on Frontier. You can see the least expensive option was through Skyscanner.
I also checked United Airlines since I have their mileage earning credit card. I found a Basic Economy flight for $142 and an Economy flight for $212. So that tipped me off that the United Airlines flight through Skyscanner was a Basic Economy flight. In this case, I would choose the United Airlines flight for two reasons. When I book flights through the airline itself, I have less trouble rescheduling a flight if necessary, especially since I belong to their membership club. The second reason is I know I can earn mileage by booking directly with the airline and this isn’t always the case when flights are booked through another website.
You’ll find that you can also book a hotel through any number of websites like Skyscanner and the others I mentioned. Sometimes you can even find a better deal by booking both your flight and your room on the same website or through a particular airline.
Book a Local Hotel
If you want to save more money so you can take your originally planned vacation at a later date, skip the airlines, book a local hotel, and pack your bags to visit your own city (or one close to where you live).
This might be the most relaxing vacation of all. If you can, book a hotel with great amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, and/or a spa. That way you can spend your time relaxing by the pool, getting a spa treatment or playing a favorite sport. Bring a good book with you and read to your heart’s content. Try new restaurants in town or drive a little farther to try a restaurant that you heard rave reviews about. Sleep late if you like to do this and stay up as late as you want! Go check out the nightlife like you might when visiting a new city. The whole point of a vacation is to relax and have fun, and you can do that while staying in a local hotel too!
Enjoy a Last-Minute Staycation
Another last-minute vacation idea is a Staycation. Enjoy the time off, and save money that you would have spent on transportation and lodging.
Very similar to taking a vacation at a local hotel but, without the expense of the hotel. If your neighborhood is lucky enough to have a swimming pool, you can spend time relaxing poolside there. You can still play your favorite sport or book a spa day.
Take a few minutes to sit down and list things that tourists do when they visit your city/town. Here in my city in Colorado tourists spend time doing new things they’ve never experienced. They take hikes, tour local breweries, drive through the gorgeous scenery, take photographs of landscapes and wildlife. They go white water rafting, horseback riding, or go to the lake and glide through the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).
You can just pick several of those activities and do them close to your home. Try to do one activity every other day so you don’t wear yourself out. On the other days, just relax by a pool or read a good book out on your patio with chilled wine or a soft drink at your side. Or if it’s winter, light up the fire pit outdoors and make S’mores over the fire, after snowshoeing around the neighborhood.
The best part of a Staycation is you get to sleep in your OWN bed at night. You can do whatever you’ve thought of doing in your own town but didn’t have the time. AND you can eat at your favorite restaurants or try some new ones you heard about from friends. You can do all of this while saving money on transportation and hotels.
Take on a Last-Minute Project
When my family trip to Europe was canceled due to unexpected issues with a family member, I decided to take on a last-minute vacation project at home. I was unsuccessful in finding a local landscaping company to assist me in a small backyard flower garden project. So, I decided this was the perfect time to take on the garden project myself! I redesigned the flower bed, planted all the new shrubs and perennial flowers, and mulched the bed myself. I got such a sense of accomplishment out of completing that project over my vacation time off!
Besides gardening, which may not be YOUR thing, there are so many projects that take a week or less to accomplish! For example, you may be thinking of repainting a room or rooms. You can get this done in a matter of a few days. Or maybe you want to change the decor of a room without spending a lot of money. This is the perfect time to scour the vintage and antique shops for furniture and accessories. You can also take a trip to IKEA or shop Amazon online to get just the right look! Make your project an adventure and see what you come up with while on vacation.
Perhaps you want to learn something new but just haven’t had the time and energy to do it. I recently decided to learn to crochet so that I can make blankets, soft toys, and clothing items for my family members. It takes a while to get the hang of something new like this. If your trip is canceled, this might be the perfect time to learn a new craft and complete a small project. And there are SO many different arts and crafts to choose from like knitting, quilting, stained glass, mosaics, calligraphy, painting, and more. You can likely learn the basics of a craft in a week or two and then continue crafting in your downtime after you return to work! How fun!
Canceled vacation? No worries!
As you see, there are lots of ways to handle a canceled vacation trip at the last minute besides sitting around your house doing nothing with that precious vacation time. I’ve given you my top five last-minute vacation ideas for when your originally planned trip is canceled.
You can reschedule the same trip at a later date that may work out just as well as the original dates. OR you can take a different trip by booking a more economical last-minute flight to another great vacation spot. You can book a room at a local hotel and spend the time actually relaxing and doing activities that you love. OR you can take a Staycation and save all the money you would have spent on transportation and lodging while participating in activities that tourists usually do when they visit your city/town. And finally, you can take on a DIY project you haven’t had time to accomplish or learn a new craft or skill you’re interested in learning. Whatever you choose, make it a GREAT VACATION!
If you enjoyed reading this post and want to read more about travel, you may enjoy these other posts on my blog. How to Explore Barcelona in 3 Days, Empty Nester Holiday Planning Tips, and Perfect Day Trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain NP.
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