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Recent surveys reveal that Americans only use 51 percent of their eligible paid vacation days and other time off -- which, if you think about it, is ridiculous: You're getting paid to go on vacation!
Even if you don't have a destination in mind, seize the moment and treat yourself to the trip of a lifetime. You can plan a stellar trip in less than 48 hours. Really.
What are you waiting for?
THE ART OF THE LAST-MINUTE GETAWAY
Presented by State Farm
Got 48 hours? How about 24? With these last-minute travel tips, you'll be able to turn your getaway dreams into a reality fast — without breaking the bank!
WHERE TO GO & WHEN
Is your passport in order: YES
Take an international trip
Is your passport in order: NO
Jump in the car or on a train, or a bus
Need a passport fast?
Passport processing speed is directly related to how much you're willing to pay.
New passports cost around $110
You will get expedited processing for an extra $60
For superfast mailing options. add about $30
The quickest way is to go through expedited processing at a passport facility.
There are 28 passport agencies around the country that can provide expedited service, but most require proof of travel within two weeks for an appointment.
Routine processing 4-6 weeks
Expedited 3 weeks
Expedited at a passport processing agency 8 days
Looking to get out of town fast? You could end up paying extra for last-minute tickets. However, if you have flexibility with your destination, you can save cash by looking for "off-season" deals. It's always off-season somewhere!
CANADA Summer high season means pricier flights. Good thing Canada is a great winter destination! Check out Vancouver's famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for an unforgettable winter adventure!
EUROPE Flights are cheapest in winter and peak in price during the summer...so bundle up!
January through April is generally more expensive. Ditch the beach and hit up the sights of the city! Check out Mexico City's revived cultural scene. with world-class dining and the most museums of any city in the world! It's a safe. comfortable and beautiful metropolis where you can soak up colorful sights. food. culture and friendly vibes.
Fares are lowest in winter (June through October). Bolivia is an exotic. safe and adventurous trip for those looking to get to know the Andes! From May to October is the best time to travel to avoid the monsoon rains. Check out the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni. the world's largest salt lakes. with their rugged moonscape beauty.
AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA
June through August (when it's winter Down Under) usually serves the lowest fares.
Staying in the States?
Train trips are a great way to travel with kids, and the trip itself is exciting and fun. Check out Amtrak's half-price deals for kids.
Instead of renting a car, carpool services can help save you money: you'll avoid rental fees, hefty parking charges and high gas prices.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
To always be aware of the best deals out there, sign up for email updates from the below sites for last-minute offers:
Your local airport
Your favorite airlines
Flight retail companies like SkyScanner, Flight Centre and STA (if you're under 26).
Follow up with your insurance agency. It's important to be informed about which items are covered during your trip, whether you bring them along or leave them at home.
If your ticket price drops after you purchase it, you can use Yapta for airline partial refunds.
Before you bid or buy, use Kayak's historical charts to see which way fares are trending.
Booking your trip
USE AN "INCOGNITO WINDOW" Do this when searching for flights and hotels. Some companies will boost prices just because you've been scouring the Web for airfares!
SEARCH FOR "SECRET HOTELS"
Hotels.com. Travelocity.com. and LastMinute.com offer hotel stays for up to 50 percent off through their "Secret Hotels" option. You won't know the name or exact location of your hotel pre-booking. but you'll score a sweet deal.
DON'T BUY IN TO TRAVEL MYTHS
"There's no magic day to buy a fare. Buying on Tuesday at 3 p.m. is a total lie."
- George Hobica. Airfarewatchdog.com
BOOK DIRECTLY THROUGH AIRLINE WEBSITES
Some airlines offer cheaper fares to those who book through their own website. They may also have "deal of the week" offers.
USE FLIGHT TONIGHT
This last-minute flight booking app finds the best prices to a variety of destinations.
WHAT TO BRING
Be ready to run out the door once you find that perfect ticket!
KEEP ALL YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS IN ONE PLACE
Emergency contact numbers
Extra medicine, medical instructions or prescriptions
Extra chargers (and power adapters, if you're going abroad)
If needed: custody agreements or notarized travel permission letters for traveling with kids
Buy several wrinkle-free outfits. Keep them rolled up. packed and ready to go. Include a pair of comfortable travel shoes you can slip on and off easily going through airport security.
Have a reliable house/pet/plant/good neighbor on call to cover for you when you're away.
Check out Travel Fashion Girl's ultralight packing lists at travelfashiongirl.com so you can take off with just a carryon (or less)!
This material is for general informational purposes only. State Farm does not endorse, nor is State Farm affiliated with the websites and brands mentioned.
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