For all of you who saw me on NewsChannel 8 today (and even those who didn't), here is more information about snagging those last-minute travel deals. But before we get to that, if you have a chance, please go to http://www.hostourcoast.com/ today and tomorrow and vote for my video. (You have to scroll way down the page to find it). The winner gets to blog along the Delmarva coast all summer long.
General Information for Last-Minute Travel Planning
Spring is a good time to find last-minute travel deals…particularly once spring break is over. It’s also a good time to bargain shop for cheap summer travel deals.
Look for your best deals at standard vacation destinations (theme parks, beaches) during the week.
Look for special offers, like stay two nights/get a third free. Also, ask about packages.
April and May are still shoulder season at the beach, so bargains can be found oceanside.
Some current last-minute deals in Virginia:
Refuge Inn on Chincoteague Island
Book within 48 hours --20% off the entire stay. Or stay Sunday through Thursday--book two nights, get the third for $25. Call 800-664-6089 and ask for the Gotta Get Away Web Offer.
The Waterside Inn in Chincoteague has a stay two nights, get one free promotion through May.
The Homestead celebrates April Fools Day with a 48-hour sale. The "We Aren't Fooling" deal offers three nights for the price of two. The sale begins April 1. Book at http://www.thehomestead.com.
Lansdowne Resort, located near Virginia's Wine Country, is offering a spring break deal at $79/night (a 50% savings) through April 5. Call (800) 729-8400 and mention Easter 79 to receive the rate.
Get a Jump on Summer
Now is also the time to find bargains for the summer. If you don't wait until the last minute to book your summer vacation, you may get off cheap. To wit:
If you book an Ocean City June vacation by April 1, you'll get discounted rates or free nights. Check the June lodging promotions page on http://www.ocvisitors.com/ for deals like five nights for $500 at the Fenwick Inn and Princess Bayside, and 10%-25% room rates at half a dozen hotels.
Also in the book now category--airfares for summer travel, particularly for international flights.
All-business-class airline OpenSkies (a subsidiary of BA) starts service from Washington Dulles to Paris Orly on May 3. Seats on introductory flights cost as little as $815 one way.
Websites for Last-Minute Booking
I have found http://www.sidestep.com/ helpful for packages and http://www.priceline.com/ useful for those with flexibility and patience.
One of the newest trends in online travel is “Invitation Only”. Sites are offering private sales for luxury deals. Among them are http://www.tablet.com/ (for hotels), http://www.jetsetter.com/, http://www.ruelala.com/, and the private sale section of http://www.kayak.com/ (which offers a wider array of price points). Some of these invitation sites require an invitation from an existing member; others merely require an e-mail address.