It’s about that time, folks — Valentine’s Day! Guys, if you’re still rushing around trying to figure out what to do for that special someone (and I know most of you are), nothing beats a spontaneous weekend trip, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. I’ve been talking with Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations, to get his expert advice on selecting the perfect destination — one with plenty of romance and a lot of fun for a little money.
So Tim, how can I find the cheapest deal on a last-minute flight?
“If you subscribe to a service that sends out last-minute airfare info, you can just see where the bargains are and pick a random place.” If you don’t subscribe to any newsletters, don’t fret — head out and check the website of all the major airlines to see what they have to offer. Start with these:
- American Airline’s Special Offers
- Southwest Airline’s Hot Fairs
- U.S. Airway’s Specials
- Continental Airline’s Deals and Offers
- Northwest Airline’s Current Promotions
- United Airline’s Special Deals
- JetBlue’s Travel Deals
- Delta Airline’s Deals and Offers
- AirTrain’s Special Sales Fares
- Frontier Airline’s Specials
- Travelocity’s Last Minute Packages
- Expedia’s Last-minute flights
Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing any last-minute specials, as these can often be non-refundable. Don’t let your budget be the sole factor in deciding where to go, either; the weather should also play a big part in selecting the perfect destination.
“Since it’s February, you may want to skip Minneapolis or Buffalo,” explains Tim, “but there are usually plenty of trips to warmer places on offer, to smaller towns that are a fraction of the cost of New York or San Francisco.”
So where do you recommend?
“Head to Austin, Tuscon, Jackson, or Savannah … [and] don’t forget that from most parts of the country, getting to Mexico doesn’t take much longer than a domestic trip. Hop a flight to Cancun and then make some romance down the road in Tulum. Or hit one of the beaches on the West Coast, or get romantic in one of the colonial towns such as San Miguel de Allende, Merida, or Guanajuanto. It’ll cost a bit more to get there, but the hotels and restaurants are a better deal than in the U.S. after you arrive.”
For a more frugal option, try sticking to unique outings in your home town, “or just get in the car and go. If you’re like most people, you haven’t seen a fraction of what’s within a couple of hours of where you live. Pick a nice little inn somewhere and enjoy the time together.”
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and willing to splurge, take your love worldwide. Pick up a copy of Tim Leffel’s The World’s Cheapest Destinations, and see where in the world you can get the most for your money on the upcoming holiday.