tips for booking last minute travel

Living in Los Angeles has its perks and its downsides (although I will admit, those are very few and far between). One of the downsides is obvious and that's living so far from our family and many of our friends. With our limited vacation (the US needs to catch up with Canada in terms of work-life balance), we generally use the time to visit family. That means trips to Montreal and Miami. While I love visiting home, spending time with family and just relaxing, it's not exactly a romantic vacation with my husband reminiscing about our good times, planning the future, dreaming of what's next and just having fun. I really think it's important to change up the routine, travel, experience new things together and getaway from daily stresses for a bit. Since lately we have spent most of our real vacation (all 2 weeks) with family, I thought it was particularly important to try and go away the 2 of us this Memorial Day. We've been talking about it for over a month but only booked this week. Below I'm describing our tips for last minute trips. 

P.S. how amazing is this Storets top?? In love. 

Points. When we moved to the US Ray became obsessed with collecting credit card points. He started reading all of these blogs about it, keeping track and researching every new card. In Canada, the credit card/points system is pretty limited. In the US, there are constantly new cards with spending bonuses. So, for example, if you spend $3,000 in the first three months you get a points bonus of 100,000. We've done this several times. 100,000 points is a roundtrip to Europe for 2 (or a gorgeous hotel for a few nights). 

Some cards have high fees while others don't have any the first year (so just cancel them once you've made the bonus and redeemed the points). But even those with fees can be really worth it. For example, my American Express Platinum has a fee of $450 a year. But it gave me 100,000 points, which covered both of our flights to London and return when we went in April (which would have cost over $1,000 for sure). It also has other perks, like $15 uber credit a month, free airport lounge access, $200 airline fee credit and so on. Not to mention the concierge service, which I take full advantage of. Anyway, when looking for a last minute trip, use points. Hotels tend to be so expensive if you don't book early (Parker in Palm Springs was almost $1,000/night for Memorial Day weekend!) We've used this app a few times. The good thing is you could catch a really good deal. The bad thing is it is super last minute and you don't know what hotel will be available. Sometimes the one you want pops up and other times its all chains you're not interested in (that happened to us for this weekend). 

Price Match. Check out all the sites like Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz.  See which one offers the best deal (beware that some include tax in the price and others don't, which can be deceiving). Then call up the hotel and see if they have any special offers and if they would be willing to price match (a lot of them will). 

Bargain directly at the hotel. Okay, so this one may be more relevant for Southeast Asia then, let's say, Palm Springs. When we went on our honeymoon in Bali someone gave us the advice not to book any hotels in advance and to negotiate when you get there. This was the smartest advice because more often than not, hotels have empty rooms and they definitely want to fill up as much as possible. We were able to get villas with pools for 1/5 the price. You may not get the same bargain in the US, but it still can be worth the try. 

Hope you guys have an amazing Memorial Day weekend. Follow along on my Instagram story to see where we ended up booking, on points ;) xoxox

Photography by Felicia Lasala 

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