Last minute vacation plans can arise at any time. Contrary to what you might think, these can often be among the best cheap vacation ideas. Cruise lines, hotels, tour operators, and airlines all offer last minute deals due to unexpected cancellations, during off seasons, and other low occupancy periods. You may never have thought of a particular best last minute vacation idea until you somehow hear of a great spur of the moment deal. Where to go on a last minute vacation is limited only by the location of the hotel, where the airline flies, or which body of water a ship cruises.
Perhaps the best last minute vacation idea for a cruise will be found on the great rivers of Europe. These are generally smaller, more intimate ships accommodating only 100 to 150 passengers. They do market to small groups of 20 to 40 passengers, so an unexpected cancellation can cause a critical drop in occupancy. The river cruise lines in Europe generally operate throughout the year, with a more limited schedule during the winter, and those making last minute vacation plans during this timeframe can find deals at a more than 50 percent discount. Where to go on a last minute vacation for this kind of winter deal would be the Rhine Main, and Danube River, which can take you cruising from Amsterdam through Germany, Austria, Hungary, and all the way through Romania to the Black Sea. During the autumn and winter, you can enjoy Oktoberfest in Germany and enjoy the magical Christmas Markets of Vienna and Munich.
Other last minute vacation plans can be made for excellent destinations near your own hometown. If you live in Las Vegas, you may not be inclined to vacation in a place filled with nightlife, casinos, and neon. If you suddenly decide you have to get away from it all, you can throw some stuff in your car and find yourself in the wilds of Death Valley, boating on Lake Mead, or enjoying the magnificence of the Grand Canyon. Every single state from Nebraska (which has a couple excellent recreational lakes) to tiny Delaware (which has some great beaches) has beautiful wild places, recreation areas, and/or national parks within a couple hours’ drive from just about anywhere.
The best last minute vacation idea doesn’t have to be cheap. If you can afford go most anywhere at the drop of a hat, luxury vacation ideas have few limits. The only real thing that might restrict you is securing the accommodation of your choice in the most popular areas during the highest peak season periods. This is especially true of small boutique and luxury hotels with limited numbers of rooms. For a family vacation, you might want to consider theme parks, water parks, and similar places. Look to Los Angeles (Disneyland), Orlando (Disney World, Universal City, and SeaWorld), San Diego (Legoland, San Diego Zoo, and the Wild Animal Park), or Greensboro North Carolina (Wet ‘n Wild). You can also check out Paris Disneyland, and there is also a wonderful Parc Asterix near that city. Cape Town in South Africa is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and boasts fabulous Ratanga Junction just outside the city. Even Tokyo, one of the most exciting cities in the world, has Sanrio Puroland for Hello Kitty fans.
Where to go on a last minute vacation may not involve a lot of planning, but doing some careful research can certainly help, both with budget and choosing the right place. You don’t necessarily want to head to Daytona Beach during Spring Break, and Carnival time in Rio de Janeiro may not be what you’re looking for. You also don’t necessarily want to impetuously book a vacation because a resort is offering a great deal. Check first to ensure it’s not an adults only place if you’re going with family—or a family vacation mecca if you’re looking for a romantic getaway.