With the exception of transatlantic trips, I’m in the last-minute travel camp. Because I have a full-time job, most of my trips are weekend getaways. It’s rare that I plan them more than two weeks ahead of time. Sometimes a week will do.
Some people prefer to plan early: perhaps they feel more at ease or enjoy having something to look forward to. Nothing wrong with that! But last-minute travel has its benefits and can be fun. Here’s why I like it.
There’s a thrill that comes with saying, “Let me go somewhere I’ve never been this weekend!” and clicking the ‘book now’ button. No turning back! Gotta pack, gotta figure out what to do when I’m there. Wait, did I have anything planned at home?
Spontanous by definition, last-minute travel can break up your daily routine. No more “métro boulot dodo” (metro, work, bed), as they say here in Paris. We can still be responsible adults, and feel carefree at times. Just for good balance.
It’s about here and now
Last-minute travel can do wonders for your well-being if you’re going through a tough time. By taking an unplanned trip, you’re thrown into a new environment where you get to live in the moment and distance yourself from issues. This positivity boost may help you deal with ‘real life’ when you’re back.
Traveling on the whim can also be good after you’ve been busy. There is value in focusing on the present: engaging your senses, taking time to enjoy a meal or contemplate architecture. We don’t always do that at home. Again, balance.
It can be cheaper
You know about those last-minute deals. Take hotels, for example. They often offer discounted prices on remaining rooms they’re trying to sell. Flight comparison sites, such as Skyscanner or Kayak, let you explore where you could go within the next week or two, depending on your budget. Or you might find last-minute package deals on Expedia or Voyage Privé. Tempting, right?
It’s often local
Because my last-minute travel usually happens on weekends, I don’t go too far from home. I see these trips as an opportunity to explore ‘the backyard’. Ever since moving to Paris, I’ve made it a point to see more of France.
All my recent trips have been to places within two hours of Paris, such us the medieval city of Rouen in Normandy. Going there was a spontaneous decision, based on a cheap bus connection I had found. I ended up having a great time and coudn’t believe that the city wasn’t on my radar before!