Memorial Day is a holiday that most of us look forward to each year. It’s a weekend for the sun, loved ones, good food, and celebrations. It also happens to be a long weekend, and though the spirit of Memorial Day is to recognize our past and present soldiers and their sacrifices, so many of us will find ways to travel and enjoy some time away.
In fact, it’s estimated that under normal circumstances, 37.6 million Americans travel 50 miles or more during Memorial Day weekend. Some early birds planned their getaways months ago. But if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’re just getting started, especially as you try to navigate the guidelines around the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t worry, it’s not too late. You can still snag some excellent deals and avoid crazy crowds that might not be adhering to the social distancing guidelines.
There’s one major perk when you wait to plan your quiet getaway: last-minute deals. Whether you’re planning to spend the weekend hiking in the woods or snacking on that secluded section of beach you spotted on your last trip, you can save a ton at the last minute. Rather than leaving rooms, activities, or reservations empty and losing money, most companies will offer deals to entice last-minute Memorial Day 2020 planners. And if you’re planning on driving, you can make your trip even more affordable and save money on eating out along the way.
Those savings are on top of what you’ll free up by choosing driving distance over last-minute flights. With the coronavirus pandemic not yet behind us, you may choose to take to the open road regardless. But if you have to fly to get to your destination, you may be able to save money there, too, especially as airlines are eager to get planes back in the air. Memorial Day weekend is usually an expensive time to fly, and if stay-at-home orders have loosened by this time, you might be able to snag an amazing deal.
Airbnb has become the preferred rental platform for travelers in recent years. Generally, they offer some incredible deals. But there are a few exceptions. When you’re looking for last-minute reservations, hotels are often a better choice due to the variety of amenities available. Plus, many hotels offer pools, hot tubs, high-grade cleaning services, and complimentary breakfasts (just be sure to check in advance to see what amenities are currently open). They’re not only more affordable but they’re more convenient (and often less crowded) for last-minute Memorial Day weekend getaways, too. For truly last-minute planners, apps like HotelTonight can help you find the best deals while you’re on the road to your destination. Just be sure to pull over or let a passenger handle the booking!
If you are traveling somewhere that has socially-distanced activities available, you may want to start thinking about booking those activities now. Under normal circumstances, Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and activities tend to fill up fast. But with some activities now being permissible based on local guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are generally fewer slots available as guests need to be able to participate in an activity with plenty of space between themself and the next person.
Under normal circumstances and after the world “re-opens” after coronavirus, know that you can still plan last-minute but you’ve got to be crafty about it. If you’re set on certain activities, book them when you start planning. Even if it’s just a day or two before your trip, it’ll be cheaper to book them online before you leave. On-site pricing is almost always higher. Another way to make it more affordable and ditch the crowds is to aim for early morning or late-night activities. They’ll be busiest at mid-day, and you may be able to better maintain a social distance during these quieter time periods.
Sometimes, you get more out of a weekend getaway if you keep the activities to a minimum. Consider using the long weekend to simply spend time with your loved ones instead while following guidelines for group sizes. If you have a scenic location, the people you care about, and food and drinks, you already have everything you need. Bring games, playing cards, books, and maybe a DVD or two. You’ll save more money, enjoy increased privacy, and spend the whole weekend laughing and recharging. If you’re visiting somewhere you’ve never been before, carefully select an activity or two such as a hike or star-gazing in the evening. The key is to enjoy a peaceful Memorial Day weekend away together and to allow yourself a new surrounding for a few days.