Last Taste of Summer: Travel Tips for Making the Most of a Last-Minute Summer Break in the US
Looking for a last-minute escape this summer? As the world experiences the first official summer post pandemic, travelers are seeking to unwind and finally experience the world again. Traveling abroad may be getting easier as restrictions ease, but many are still opting to travel a little closer to home. More than three quarters (81%)* of American travelers claim that domestic travel allows them to be more spontaneous and do last-minute trip planning compared to international travel, while 73%** prefer to stay flexible and just say ‘yeah’ to every travel opportunity. So, whether travelers are seeking a family trip, a romantic getaway or looking for a spot of adventure before cooler temperatures begin to set in, Booking.com shares tips for making the most of an impromptu summer break, alongside staycation spots in the US that come highly recommended by Booking.com travelers***.
Book everything in one place
Take the stress out of a last-minute trip by fast-tracking the experience and booking a place to stay, rental car and vacation activities all in one place. Designed to make every trip a better experience, travelers can download the Booking.com app and organize their whole trip there to streamline the experience. Car rental options are available at the more than 9,700 pick-up locations across the US, and the majority come with free cancellation up to 48 hours before pick-up, so car hire can be as flexible as plans. For those keen to embark on a road trip, cruise along the best and longest urban stretch of Route 66 to Albuquerque in New Mexico – a highly recommended place to stop according to Booking.com travelers. Whilst road-tripping along this historic route, observe the dozens of vintage motels, cafes, and restaurants that spring up with their neon signs still in full beam. Rich in history and sitting in the high desert, there’s plenty to discover in this vibrant city, from learning about rattlesnakes at the Rattlesnake Museum to cultural landmarks like San Felipe de Neri and Old Plaza on the Mezcla de Culturas Walking Tour.
Where to stay: As the most distinct hotel in all of New Mexico, Hotel Chaco is a boutique stay that provides proficient services, distinctive fine-dining, beckons originality, and is a sumptuous place to unwind following a long day's drive. The room layouts are designed by world-famous architecture firm Gensler, and are inspired by neutral woolls from Navajo weavers. It also displays authentic interior design features, and celebrates local and regional artists through its eclectic art collection. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is also only 750 yards from the accommodation.
Go midweek for a relaxing break
A midweek getaway is not only a good opportunity to bag the best deal, but can also be a savvy way to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful break. Less people travel during the week, so there’s more chance of fewer crowds, being seated immediately in restaurants and enjoying a general sense of quiet and space. Travelers can escape to Seattle this summer and be surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests for a laidback midweek break. Known as the ‘Emerald City’ due to its stunning greenery, and highly recommended by Booking.com travelers for its scenic harbor, Seattle is one of America’s most bohemian cities and famous for its relaxed vibe. To experience the beauty of the city, travelers can journey along the shoreline on a One-Hour Seattle Harbor Cruise and view the glorious Olympic Mountain range, Alki Beach and Mount Rainier, a 14,410-feet-tall volcano. Those wishing to soak up the sleek city skyline from above can book Sky View Observatory Tickets to experience the tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest.
Where to stay: Rising from 5th Avenue and Marion Street in all its splendour, the luxurious 5-star Lotte Hotel Seattle offers a distinctly high-touch service. Elevating the standard of hospitality by featuring a concierge service, fitness suite, spa and wellness facilities, contemporary dining and deluxe suites; this hotel oozes opulent escapism and sophistication - ideal for travelers wishing to unwind and relax. Popular points of interest for guests include the Lumen Field, Columbia Centre and Seattle’s historic Harbour. At the dock, raise a toast whilst sampling some local brewed beer on a Fishermen’s Terminal Breweries Beer-tasting Tour.
The best way travelers can ensure they grab a good deal is to be flexible with when and where they go. This opens up a host of luxe-for-less options for a last-minute trip that’s ideally suited to couples who can seize the opportunity of a spontaneous getaway. For those seeking a luxury trip, head to Carmel-by-the-Sea in California, a highly recommended destination for romance according to Booking.com travelers. This small beach city is nestled along California’s Monterey Peninsula and overflowing with luxe hotels, fine wine, luscious white-sandy beaches and extravagant buildings that look like they are straight out of a storybook. Dates can be spent on a Whale-watching Afternoon Cruise, which will unquestionably make hearts soar, wine tasting at one of the many family-run vineyards or simply relaxing on the beach together.
Where to stay: With 33%**** of global travelers wanting the ability to cancel accommodation free of charge, travelers can use Booking.com’s simple filter to check which properties offer free cancellation should vacation plans change. The plush Candle Light Inn offers free cancellation up to four days before arrival. Designed with modern elegance, the inn is warm and inviting, and just steps away from fine dining, art galleries, boutique shopping and a short stroll from renowned Carmel Beach. Stay in one of the light and spacious rooms, which offer luxurious French linen. Some even include two person jetted spa baths and a fireplace, making it the ideal intimate stay to nourish and relax with that special someone; while also exploring the romance and charm of the village.
If traveling with family, book a resort trip
Last-minute trips with the family can be daunting to even the most meticulous of planners. With adults often seeking a rejuvenating escape and children craving a dynamic adventure, strike the balance and find something for everyone to do at a family-friendly resort. Ideal for travelers booking last minute, they offer the privacy, flexibility and freedoms that vacationers experience at home, all in one place, alongside a wealth of thrilling activities for kids and opportunities for adults to unwind. With more than a quarter (27%)** of American travelers planning to go to a theme park on their next trip, head to Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin. Hailed as the ‘Waterpark Capital of the World’ with over 20 spectacular water attractions and highly recommended by Booking.com travelers for water parks, this jam-packed haven is perfect for families. Travelers can head to America’s largest outdoor waterpark (Noah’s Ark), as well as an outdoor and indoor combination waterpark (Wilderness Resort). For a break away to keep dry, entertain the kids at Wisconsin Deer Park or Timber Falls Adventure Park, which includes mini golf. For parents wanting to step away and rejuvenate, relax at Spa Kalahari & Salon or take a trip to the theatre.
Where to stay: Situated in a resort location, the modern Staybridge Suites provides bundles of action and activities for families to enjoy. Boasting a basketball court, fire pit, BBQ facilities and indoor swimming pool, it has a perfect home away from home feel. Before embarking on a day of activities, guests can fuel up for the day with a complimentary breakfast ahead of checking out the surrounding action including Wisconsin Dells’ famous waterparks, outlet malls, entertainment centres and restaurants. It’s also a short drive away from the Spa Kalahari & Salon for those seeking a massage following an activity filled day.
Book a deal and go
Find fantastic deals when booking last-minute vacations on Booking.com by searching Getaway Deals. Discounts start at 15 percent on properties indicated by the “Getaway 2022” badge and are valid for stays with check-out on or before 30 September 2022. Travelers also have the opportunity to access Booking.com’s Genius loyalty program just by creating an account – it’s completely free, easily accessible and membership lasts a lifetime. As Genius members unlock new levels, they get access to larger discounts and more travel rewards that never expire – perfect for any future last-minute vacations.
For those seeking a cut-price trip, head to the top endorsed destination in the US for budget-friendly breaks, Kissimmee in Florida. Known for its meandering walking paths, adventure golf courses and stimulating theme parks, the city is packed with family-friendly activities. Discover the sunshine state’s beautiful wildlife on an adventurous Everglades Airboat Tour with Park Admission, or explore the high-tech water park inspired by social media, Island H2O Live! Water Park, where visitors are given a wristband that syncs with an app to play games and earn points for discounts on food and merchandise.
Where to stay: Watch out for last-minute Getaway Deals or make the most of the Genius loyalty membership with a 10 percent discount at the Polynesian Isles Resort. A Walt Disney World deluxe resort boasting outdoor pools, tennis courts, a putting green and a spa, guests can enjoy the amenities at their leisure and leave the stresses of daily life at home. Polynesian-inspired details are everywhere, from the Tiki God in the lobby to the grand, stylized bungalows built directly over the water’s edge. Tiki torches, tropical landscaping and waterfalls bring the gardens to life, as well as a campfire with nightly films. This budget-friendly resort complete with restaurants, bars and shops is superbly situated with popular landmarks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios on the doorstep.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 48,413 respondents across 31 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,864 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 2,005 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,020 from Chile, 1,777 from Australia, 818 from New Zealand, 1,999 from Spain, 2,002 from Italy, 1,998 from France, 1,990 from UK, 2,005 from Germany, 2,003 from Netherlands, 985 from Denmark, 999 from Sweden, 910 from Croatia, 918 from Switzerland, 1,986 from Belgium, 998 from Russia, 953 from Israel, 1,999 from India, 1,990 from China, 901 from Hong Kong, 1,775 from Thailand, 1,001 from Singapore, 975 from Taiwan, 1,800 from Vietnam, 1,757 from South Korea, 1,001 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and planned to travel in 2022 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January 2022.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 11,187 respondents across 11 countries (1,116 from Croatia, 1,014 from the United Kingdom, 1,011 from Netherlands, 1,010 from Canada, 1,009 from France, 1,009 from Sweden, 1,008 from Germany, 1,008 from USA, 1,001 from Israel, 1,001 from Spain, 1,000 from Italy). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be over 18 years of age or older and planning to go on a vacation in the next 4 months from May 2022. The survey was taken online and took place in May 2022.
***Endorsement data from Booking.com based on the most recommended and relevant destinations by global travelers for harbour, romantic, kayaking, route 66, water parks and budget friendly
****Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,055 respondents across 31 countries and territories were polled (including 501 from Argentina, 1003 from Australia, 500 from Belgium, 1001 from Brazil, 500 from Canada, 1000 from China, 1007 from Colombia, 1001 from Croatia, 508 from Denmark, 1002 from France, 1000 from Germany, 1005 from Hong Kong, 1000 from India, 502 from Israel, 1003 from Italy, 1002 from Japan, 500 from Mexico, 501 from The Netherlands, 501 from New Zealand, 500 from Peru, 1000 from Russia, 1005 from Singapore, 1002 from South Korea, 1002 from Spain, 501 from Sweden, 501 from Switzerland, 504 from Taiwan, 500 from Thailand, 1000 from the UK, 1002 from the US and 501 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2021.