Last-Minute Vacation Ideas & Resources for Retirees


We all know how important it is to plan carefully before taking a vacation, but there’s also a lot to be said for “flying by the seat of your pants.” Indeed, with family commitments, continual errands, and doctor appointments filling up our schedules, it can be hard to find time to hash out vacation details. Then all of a sudden, a block of free time appears. What to do? Book a last minute vacation, of course. Here’s how.

Where to Find Deals

Booking a trip at the last minute is actually a great way to save money since many companies need to sell off their inventories. There may not be as much choice regarding flight times and rooms, but there are great deals to be found. Depending on where you live, you may even be driving to your destination.

There are many websites and clubs that are solely dedicated to last minute travel. Last Minute Travel caters to people that are short on time who need a vacation. These sites have deals on airline flights, rental cars, hotels, vacation homes, cruises, and vacation packages. Travelzoo, Expedia, CheapCaribbean, and other travel sites all offer last-minute vacation deals.

Airfarewatchdog is one good resource for monitoring changes in airfares. Users can create an account, enter their destination, and set up to receive notifications as prices change. Once the alert is received, you can book your flight knowing that you got the best price.

Be Flexible

 /><figcaption><em>Last minute travel can mean something might go wrong. Be ready to adapt.</em></figcaption></figure>
<p>One of the best ways to grab a great getaway is to keep an open mind. Once you know how much time you have to spend, set a radius from your home base. If you are flying, you can expand this. Check what destinations fall within these parameters, then see where you can travel within your time frame. <a href=Skyscanner has a tool that recommends destinations that are proximal to your location. It also lists travel deals by month.

If you can’t find any hotel deals or availability, consider a rental. Airbnb and VRBO offer vacation rentals provided by homeowners in destination towns. Vacationers can search by destination, home size, features, and price. Other travelers rate the accommodations after staying there, which provides excellent feedback for searchers. It may be harder to book a rental in a busy area during high seasons, but they are generally easier to find and more affordable than hotel rooms. Some have features like outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Before booking, get the home’s address to make sure it is conveniently located to the attractions you want to see.

If you’re feeling especially flexible, you might consider sharing a vacation rental with additional family members or good friends. Some of these rental homes are quite large with extra bedrooms and bathrooms. You can also share the costs of food and transportation, like car rentals or Uber rides. Of course, your travel buddies need to be available last-minute as well.

A Few Adventurous, Inexpensive Jaunts

Greenville, SC

This up-and-coming southern town is getting rave reviews for its thriving downtown scene and scenic natural beauty. Greenville is located by the Blue Ridge Mountains and full of widespread lakes, waterfalls, and mountain views. In town, visitors enjoy the Greenville County Museum of Art, culinary tours, the Arts Center of Clemson, the Carolina Ballet Theatre, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and farm-to-fork restaurants like Fork and Plough.

The Greenville area is also home to 13 African-American cultural sites, including Mattoon Presbyterian Church, Fountain Inn Principal’s House and Teacherage, and Working Benevolent Hospital.

Palm Springs, CA

If you can’t decide if you want to retreat to the mountains, desert, or beach, then Palm Springs is for you. Clear, sunny skies, outdoor activities, and lazy days at the pool are all hallmarks of this destination.

Golf aficionados can choose from over 100 golf courses: PGA West and Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort are amongst the finest on the planet. Tennis buffs have their choice of hundreds of pristine courts as well. And, upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment venues can be found everywhere. To immerse yourself in nature, visit The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Garden a desert botanical garden and zoo that covers close to three square miles. Another must-see is Joshua Tree National Park, which is about a 45-minute drive from Palm Springs.

Nashville, TN

“Music City” attracts music lovers from around the world. Nashville visitors can spend days on end walking in and out of different music venues for modern and traditional country, rock n’ roll, and the blues. This is Nashville’s main draw, but it is also known for its fantastic barbecue at restaurants like Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint.

The city has many eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own personality and attractions to visit. If you have time, rent a car or Uber out to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage home or Belle Meade Plantation. Time permitting, buy tickets online and visit the Grand Ole Opry or catch a Tennessee Titans game.


Yes, there are also websites dedicated to last-minute cruising, like Last Minute Cruises. These sites have maps that show ports along U.S. coastlines, with short and long sails on different cruise lines. The least expensive choice we found was a four-night Western Caribbean cruise out of New Orleans for $314 per person. Some travelers prefer cruising over other means of travel, and there are many ways to book these with little time to spare before your departure date.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

The entrance sign at the Polo Club at Mountain Island Lake, a 55+ community in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Small Active Adult Communities in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina is a top retirement destination for adults 55+. With 72 active adult communities in the area, there’s a lot to choose from and think about. If you’re considering a move to Charlotte and already know you’re looking for a small community in size but big on options, then we’ve got you covered.

Cresswind Charlotte is a 55+ community near Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Communities for Downsizing in Charlotte, North Carolina

A smaller home has less space to clean and maintain–inside and out. They also typically come with a smaller, more affordable price tag. Fortunately for the 55+ crowd looking to downsize in the Charlotte area, there are several active adult communities that offer smaller floor plans at affordable price points.

A sunny day at Lake Walk Freedom Homes in Mooresville, North Carolina

55+ Communities Near Lakes in the Charlotte Area

Dreaming of spending your retirement on the water, boating, fishing, swimming, or just relaxing, soaking up the sun every day? Then, Charlotte, North Carolina should be on your radar.

The clubhouse at Village at Deaton Creek in Hoschton, Georgia

The Best Active Adult Communities in the Atlanta Area

The state of Georgia is a popular destination for 55+ active adults, and the Atlanta area is one of its hottest places to relocate. The city offers fine restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities, and impressive cultural attractions, as well as its own rich history and distinctive southern charm. If you are considering living near Atlanta, you’ll want to take a look at six of the area’s most popular active adult communities.

A happy group of elderly people living in a 55+ community meet the age requirements.

What Are the Age Requirements for a 55+ Community?

For many, the answer to “What are the age requirements for a 55+ community?” may seem obvious. You have to be 55 or older, right? No, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many scenarios where there’s only one resident who is 55 or older. Also, there are rare cases when no residents is 55 or older. 

An older adult takes a continuing education course offered in his 55+ community.

Never Stop Learning: Continuing Education Programs in 55+ Communities

Many people look forward to retirement because they can finally stop focusing on work and start focusing on doing more of what they enjoy. Do you want to learn a new language, play an instrument, or try making a new craft? There are many benefits that learning something new can provide.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top