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5 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Vacation

Having a tight budget during the summer isn’t always fun. There’s so much to do—so many places to go and see—that it’s easy to give into temptation and overspend or forget about the budget.

Here’s your reminder to stay focused and not let the summertime blues get the best of your spending. But let’s say you under budgeted or you have the opportunity to go on a last-minute vacation. How can you quickly plan a vacation on the cheap?

Here are a few suggestions:

Garage sale!

Put up some signs. Advertise on Craigslist. Go crazy selling everything you don’t need. In just a few hours, you could make a nice chunk of money to help you on the trip. Set goals like making enough to pay for gas money and a night or two of hotel costs!

Cook at home.

Or at the condo. Or in the hotel room. You get the point. Seafood restaurants—or pretty much any other restaurant in a tourist location—aren’t cheap, so stock up at the grocery store and fire up the grill and/or stove. We promise you’ll save money going this route.

Try to be flexible.

Let’s say it’s Tuesday. Let’s say you want to leave tomorrow. Our suggestion: Don’t do that. Yes, that’s technically “last-minute,” but what about next Wednesday? The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to find a deal. Compare prices for different days in the week. For example, if your trip requires plane tickets, you’re almost always going to find cheaper tickets for the middle of the week than you are for the weekend.

Pack light.

Remember the glory days of airline travel when you could just bring your bags without worrying about ridiculous fees? Well, for most airlines, those days are no more. Here’s your challenge: Pack as much as you can into your carry-on bags. The less luggage you have, the cheaper your travel costs.


Hold on. This article is supposed to tell you about planning a last-minute vacation—which means, you know, we should be telling you how to plan a last-minute vacation. But now we’re telling you to wait? If you’re trying to fit a circle into a square, then yes, you need to wait. It’s all about priorities. This is true especially if you’re still working through your debt snowball. Pay that debt off and focus on the week at the beach later.

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Consider that last point to be your official Dave Ramsey disclaimer. You need to be able to pay for any last-minute vacation with cash, and you need to make sure your priorities are in order. Remember, needs always go before wants.

You’ll have plenty of time and money for vacations when you’re out of debt!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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