Travel: How to Book a Last Minute Trip to the Beach

Eeek...did you not get around to planning your beach vacation this summer?

No can still make it to the most desired place in the world, no matter your budget, 

on top of the world on Santa Cruz Island, California after a day of kayaking through caves and waves, then hiking for this awesome view.

The secret is that you have to 

If you have some flexibility with your destination, consider booking a hotel room in town or in the nearby business districts. You may not be steps from the sand, but the distance will yield better lodging rates. Keep in mind: Rooms away from the shoreline are usually booked up with business travelers during the week. On the weekend, business travel drops and the rates usually follow suit.
And if flights are sky-high, consider ground transportation like the bus or the train. A ticket from Atlanta to Jacksonville, Florida, can cost as low as $25 on the Megabus — significant savings when compared to a $250 flight. If you have to fly, get creative with your route by using airfare search engine Skiplagged. This site finds "hidden city tickets," which occur when a fare from destination A to B to C is cheaper than a regular trip from A to B. For example, if you're hoping to book a flight from New York to Chicago, the site may find you a cheaper ticket that flies from New York, with a layover in Chicago and a final destination of Milwaukee. Instead of boarding the flight to Milwaukee, you can trick the system and simply end your journey in Chicago. This method, which can save you hundreds — especially to international destinations— is a trick often used by travel agents. But it takes a bit of strategic planning, thanks to a few caveats. For one, you can't check bags with this type of itinerary because your bag will be checked to the final destination. And two, you can't book a round-trip ticket this way because as soon as you drop the final leg of your flight, the airline will cancel your return ticket. However, you can reserve two one-way flights with a hidden city ticket.
Looking into nontraditional lodging options is another way to save. Home-sharing services like AirbnbHomeAway and VRBO have changed the vacation rental game: your options are no longer limited to hotel chains and bed-and-breakfasts. Not only does a site like Airbnb allow you to book directly with the host, but you can choose to rent everything from a private room, the entire house, a tree house or even a night on a yacht.
Read more from my article on U.S. News and World Report.

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