Last Minute Breaks in Europe: GO!

by farrah on June 25, 2015 · 2 comments

“Well, if you were to find something, say between now and when school gets out- you should take it.”

That’s all he needed to say. We were sitting on the couch talking about who knows what and this sentence popped out of my husband’s mouth. I latched onto it like remoras to a shark and shoved it into my ‘must research’ bank for evening-post-kids.

paris clockThe ‘Oldest Clock in Paris‘ I saw on my last solo excursion.

I’ve written before how my husband has always traveled for work– a little less during the pregnancy & babyhood years- but now that the boys are more of an age where I’m not drowning in diapers he’s on the go every other month or so. It’s not like he gets much free time on these trips to explore, but he gets out in the world. To take a mental break from routine: bedtime shenanigans and cooking dinner/breakfast or whatever. To be a grown-up on his own. We both recognize that these are nice things. And, since he’s been doing this he’s encouraged me to do the same.

Thus, the other day when he uttered those words I jumped on the computer and started perusing my favorite deal sites that put together travel packages. We’ve got a window to work with, albeit small. There’s a bunch of end of school year stuff coming up and I didn’t want to miss anything- and besides I didn’t want my absence to be a burden on his work load. So, I had this weekend and into next week to be on a trip. Talk about last-minute!

Where do I look

I use the following to scroll through and see if anything jumps out. Typically you MUST read all that teeny tiny print, quadruple check it, and be flexible with your dates/airports/etc. If you’re flying by the seat of your pants you’d better be ready to drop and go!

VakantiePiraten.NL– I have the app on my phone and although I haven’t booked anything with them, they do have some killer deals. You will most likely be sent to another party to book the trip- but it’s nice to see what options are available. Be sure to check the dates on things before you get too excited- and prepare yourself for the ‘good ones’ to be sold out by the time you jump to the main site.

LastMinute.com– This is where I booked my trip today. I found air + hotel for 4 days, in a small area with easy transportation to and from the airport and not missing anything for the boys. When you have such a small window you don’t want to be commuting an hour from the airport- so you need to know what you’re dealing with.

TravelBird– This is a third-party site I have seen with Vakantie Piraten. Same thing, packages galore.

Limango Travel– I’ve bought things from Limango and talked about them in the past. It’s like the EU version of Zulily in the States. I haven’t purchased a trip through them, but we’ve used this site to learn about areas in the NL.

Groupon Getaways– We’ve bought a family day trip on another social deals site- which I think is same as this. We haven’t used it yet, so how it goes is still tbd. Make sure you check the details! A friend of mine was screwed royally by them when she had to change a date.

Last Minutes Center Parcs– You know a place would rather book than let a cottage sit empty! This is the Center Parcs last-minute booking site. You would go here if you decide on a Thursday to get away for the weekend. You might not get the size/level you want, but hey. Beggars can’t be choosers at last-minute pricing and availability- but we love Center Parcs no matter what the situation.

Sunweb– Another vacation package website. Their commercials are funny.

Air only

Skyscanner.NL Search engine that can find you flights wherever you want to go. You need to have an idea about what airport/city you’re looking at.

RyanAir– They had a deal of the week last week which was €9 one way to Turin, Italy. It was a crazy good price, but unfortunately those dates didn’t work for me. Always check this site just to see what they have out there. The deal this week is for Pisa.

Transavia– Very similar to RyanAir instead they’re green and white, unlike RA’s blue and yellow. 😉

WizzAir– Another low-cost airline- searching their deals of the week is always a good idea.

Where I’m going

I stalked the Vakantie Piraten app for a few days, but didn’t see anything that fit my criteria. There was a great flight to Cape Verde, but no hotel. Additionally most of the deals were for 5+ days and that’s not feasible. Well, one can always hope- but it wasn’t logistically possible.

So anyhow- I found a sweetie of a package for airfare + all-inclusive hotel in Mallorca, Spain 4 days/3 nights for less than a Kate Spade handbag. I leave Sunday (yep, a couple of days from now) and return Wednesday afternoon. This will be my third trip to Spain- my first was to Tossa de Mar for our anniversary in 2013, then our first jaunt to the Balearic Islands of Spain: Ibiza and Formentera (anniversary 2014). If this one proves to be a good recon escape- we might take the boys for herfstvakantie (fall break).

I sure do love traveling with him or the whole fam, but sometimes…alone is pretty nice too.

Side note: I took one of the boys to the doc today due to a fever that won’t go away- and it looks like it’s just a virus (don’t you hate that phrase though??) and he should be back to normal tomorrow. Whew. So now, let not bad things befall us between now and Sunday so mama can sit on a lovely beach.

So please tell me- where do you find terrific last-minute deals???? (links ok!)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle P June 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm

You earn every minute of your solo escapes! This mama is envious of how close everything is in Europe. The same distance here gets me to Overland Park, KS. WOO HOO! lol

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2 farrah June 28, 2015 at 5:58 am

Doesn’t have quite the same appeal, huh ? 🙂

Wish you were over here to go on these jaunts with me my friend!

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