11 Last-Minute Summer Vacations You Barely Need to Plan
Let someone else handle all the details so all you have to do is show up and have fun!
Water baby? Hit up an all-inclusive beach resort
There’s so much more to do at the beach than just lay on it! You can swim with dolphins, go snorkeling, take a hike to a local attraction, or even hit up a water park. But finding (and getting tickets to) each of those things can be a huge pain. Enter: The all-inclusive resort. Let the concierge take care of the details and you just show up for the fun.
Our recommendation: Check out the Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas, select the type of stay you’re looking for, and go!
Do you love to roll the dice? Las Vegas all the way, baby!
With shopping, dining, shows, rides, and more, Las Vegas is about so much more than casinos (although there are plenty of those too!). But the best part is it’s all within walking distance of any hotel on the strip and many hotels offer package deals for their on-site attractions.
Our recommendation: Booking.com makes it easy to see all your options, read reviews, and pick the ideal casino for your Vegas vacay. Need more ideas? Try one of these 17 summer vacations everyone should try before 50.
Are you a risk taker? Sign up for a one-stop adventure
If you love river rafting, hiking, boating, or any type of outdoor adventure then you already know how much work they can be to plan! Skip all the hassle by going with a company who will handle all the details, from gear to permits, so all you have to do is show up for the adventure.
Our recommendation: G Adventures offers many types of preplanned active, outdoor trips for adventurers. All you have to bring an open mind.
Love Hawaii? Go to Hawaii
Hawaii is a destination unlike any other, going beyond the normal beach vacation. The islands offer a particular kind of relaxed attitude, cuisine, and culture that you can’t find anywhere else. Unfortunately, it can be super confusing to sort out all your options and plan everything. One option is to pick an island that suits your fancy and go with the flow there.
Our recommendation: Use Hawaiian Airlines. You can book affordable flights and follow their island guides about what to do once you get there. The only hard part is picking an island—they’re all so fun! For something a little more budget friendly, check out these 22 mini-vacations that won’t break the bank.
Looking for an authentic experience? Stay local
If you like to immerse yourself in the local culture, the best way to find the best dining, dancing, and fun is to skip tourist hotspots and stay where the locals go—you can even stay in their homes. Not only do you get a place to stay but it’s popular in many countries for the host to also act as a tour guide (for a little extra cash). All you have to do is show up and go where they tell you.
Our recommendation: VRBO has homes for rent by the owner all over the world. Check out the list of amenities, read the reviews, and contact the owner to see about finding a local guide for your stay.
Love to learn new things? Get a rail pass
For people who love history and expanding their knowledge, the more places they can see, the better. But putting together a comprehensive list of places and sites can take months of planning. Let your method of travel be your guide by signing up for a rail pass. Bonus: Many offer student and senior discounts. All you have to plan is which stops you want to explore.
Our recommendation: Rail Europe offers a Eurail Global Pass that gives you access to 28 countries while riding first class for one flat fee. For more, try one of these 10 amazing European vacations for under $400.
Just want some relaxation? Rent a beach house
Some people go on vacation to be entertained and see the sights but others prefer to find a beautiful spot and spend the whole time enjoying doing nothing. With miles and miles of beachfront property, Florida is the perfect spot to shack up in a beach house for a week. Enjoy the sun, sand, and good food with zero distractions. Ahh!
Our recommendation: Choice hotels offers beach house rentals but without the hassle of working with the owner yourself.
Is driving your jam? Take a pre-planned road trip
Road trips may remind you of your dad pouring over maps for weeks, trying to design the perfect summer vacation for your family before school started but hitting the highway doesn’t have to be that complicated. Thanks to road trip geniuses who share their plans online, all you have to do is find one that scratches your itch, print it out and hit the road.
Our recommendation: Trip Advisor has a whole list of pre-planned road trips with suggestions for hotels and activities along the way.
Foodie? Book a cruise
What would a low-effort vacation list be without a cruise, the ultimate in show-up-and-go vacays? Pick from a variety of destinations, themes and groups, book your suite, and show up at the dock on departure day. But no matter what type you pick you’re always guaranteed one thing: Insane amounts of amazing food! It’s a foodie’s dream.
Our recommendation: Priceline, the site you already know and love for getting you great deals on flights and hotels, also offers sales on cruises.
Need a romantic getaway? Head to the Caribbean
Whether you’re a newlywed or have been together for many years, your relationship could definitely use some quality time. And what’s more romantic than the Caribbean? Beaches during the day, dancing and dining in the evening, and luxurious hotels for… other activities, at night.
Our recommendation: Sandals all-inclusive resort offers special packages just for couples. For some vicarious travel thrills, check out the best Secrets Resorts from people who have been there.
Thrill seeker? Ride the coasters at a theme park
Theme parks are known for having everything you need to make great memories— food, rides, games, shows—in one spot. But while Disney may be the most famous theme parks, you’ve got lots of other options. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, check out Six Flags in Jackson, New Jersey, home of the fastest coaster in the United States. The Kingda Ka hits a whopping 128 miles per hour. Don’t miss the scariest roller coasters in America.
Our recommendation: Orbitz has a section specifically for theme park lovers, helping you pick just the right one for your vacation.