Last Minute Travel Tips

As much as we like to have our lives neatly organised and planned, sometimes it makes perfect sense to seize the impulse of the moment and have an exciting break from the routine. Here are my last minute weekend getaway ideas that might help you not just master the art of the quick getaway but also lists some wonderful destinations each holding an array of luxury vacation rentals you can reach quickly and easily.

The Basic Last Minute Weekend Getaway Ideas

Okay, so you’ve reached the end of a gruelling week.  Ahead looms a weekend that you may be able to extend by a few days.  Perhaps you are in the lucky position to be able to take a week or two off at short notice.  What are the key elements you need to have in place to extract the maximum of enjoyment and adventure from your precious personal time.

The list is simple:

1. A fully valid passport.  Always check your passport has at least 3 months life left.  A few destinations insist that passports have up to 90 days validity before you enter their territory.

2. If you are a regular traveller to countries with known risks eg. Malaria etc. keep a record of your travel shots so you know that you are covered and ready to roll.

3. Good luggage – by this I mean a really lightweight but sturdy wheelie case that fits snugly into an overhead airplane bin. Invest in one of the new-generation cases that are easy to manoeuvre and give you ample packing for a week of mixed activities.

Some of the best last minute weekend getaway ideas for you to enjoy

4. A capsule wardrobe. Numerous articles are written in glossy magazines showing how you can go from beach chic to evening glamour in a few deft garment choices.  The more scientific and creative energy you bring to building your holiday wardrobe the lighter you can travel.

5. A travel kit – this is a small pack that contains all your mini shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, cleansers, mini sunscreens, personal care items. This should always be packed and ready to go.  You can audit it every 6 months to ensure nothing expires.

6. A multi-functional luxury wrap. It works as a blanket on a chilly flight, it is a casual and warm cover-up on a night out, it’s a barrier against nippy insects as you enjoy a cocktail on a terrace at dusk.

These are the backbone of any successful last minute vacation ideas.  So let’s take a look at some last minute deals and what to look for.

The Ultimate Weekend Away

Not every vacation has to be the 2-week ideal.  Sometimes, the most memorable vacations involve that short hop abroad.  Quite often, when were have a long trip planned we take a measured approach to what we plan on doing.  A day trip somewhere, a fun activity on a lazy afternoon all of which are interspersed by long stretches of time lounging with a good book.  The value in looking at last minute vacations ideas is that invariable the time-limitation will ensure that each day is used to its fullest extent.  Here are my top choices for travellers.

Departing from the USA


In under 3 hours from Miami, you can be touching down in Aruba.  This island, part of the Dutch Caribbean, enjoys a warm and dry climate.  It experiences very little rainfall and temperatures rarely dip below the mid 20s all year round.  It also sits outside of the hurricane belt so is a desirable destination for anyone looking for sunshine all year round.

The best last minute vacation ideas can lead you to the most luxurious destinations

Tierra del Sol is a gorgeous community comprising unique self-contained Aruba villas.  With the use of the facilities of the nearby Club at Tierra del Sol, you can explore the 600 acres that make up the beautiful grounds of this attractive enclave.  Flamboyant 15, is a fabulous 2-bedroomed villa with its own private pool.  This is the perfect base for a holiday that can include golf, tennis, hiking and adventure.  The stunning Arashi Beach is a mere 3 km away and easily reached by complimentary shuttle bus.  A trip into Aruba’s capital of Oranjestad is a must for the Dutch inspired architecture and the amazing shopping.

The Bahamas

In about 3 hours from NYC or under 1 hour from Miami you can be on the ground in Nassau, in the heart of the Bahamas.

One Cable Beach offers newly built and modern 2 bedroomed apartments with stunning access to the perfection that is Cable Beach in the heart of New Providence island.  The island is known by tourists generally as Nassau which is the main town of the island and capital of this wonderful island group.  It is only a short flight from mainland USA but truly feels like a world away.


In under 3 hours from LA, you can step into the Pacific splendour that is Cabo.  Beach perfection awaits as well as the magical Mexican vacation experience. Nowhere is the concept of luxury so well executed as in Las Ventanas, a stunning one bedroomed ocean view villa with media room – within the Rosewood Resort in Los Cabo.  This incredible property has beautiful terrace areas, spacious living room with its own kitchen area.

A great last minute deal is a trip to the vibrant city of Mexico

You can keep to yourselves in the ultimate in romantic getaways or enjoy the amazing spa, tennis and beach activities that are at your fingertips.  See our blog on the best beaches in Mexico for more information on this tropical paradise. It’s simply divine!

Departing from Europe


In about 2 hours or less you can fly from most of the main European centres into the white isle of Ibiza.  This compact island offers travellers the best of both relaxation and party.  The beauty of the beaches, the chic yet laid back vibe of Ibiza Town, combined with the eclectic party scene create a wonderful and exciting destination for someone looking for a weekend in the Balearic islands.

Casa Can Jordi is an uber chic 5 bedroomed property with dazzling views across the Mediterranean.  With a lovely pool in the heart of a spacious terrace area, this is a property that provides privacy and style.  The impeccable interior is finished in fresh white that enhances the sense of serenity.  With easy access by road along the main route between Cala Llonga and Ibiza Town, you can dip in and out of the eclectic and arty scene to be enjoyed in Ibiza from Spring to late Fall.


With direct flights from London, Germany, Spain and Portugal into Kerry Airport, you arrive into the heart of some of the most stunning and scenic landscapes to be found in Europe.  Mountains, lakes, the famous Wild Atlantic Way coastal drive are all easily accessed from this regional airport.  The moment you touch down in Kerry you will feel your stress simply evaporate.

The enchanting lands of Ireland are one of the best last minute vacation ideas

In the heart of Kenmare, a historic town located in the South West of Ireland, is a pretty thatched house named Villa Rosa located on the ground of the Sheen Falls Estate.  With over 300 acres to explore on your doorstep or the wild beauty of the mountains and woodland that surround the picturesque Kenmare Bay you will be spoiled for choice in terms of delightful restaurants, friendly pubs offering traditional music and the freshest of seafood and season ingredients.

The award-winning Spa at Sheen Falls Hotel can be walked to and some delicious treatments enjoyed.  There’s a mystery and charm to Ireland – it’s the ultimate destination for a romantic getaway.

International / Last Minute

No matter where you are based in the world, there are always the perfect last minute Caribbean vacations to be enjoyed.  If you are contemplating a Caribbean vacation for the first time, then I recommend you call our fantastic team at Exceptional Villas.  They can guide you to the perfect destination and top Caribbean Villas that will cater to all of your specific requirements.

It’s always a good idea to check out the optimum time to visit various Caribbean islands e.g. You might have a specific interest in surfing, snorkelling, sun bathing, fishing, whale watching, the sea turtle nesting and hatching, carnival, golf…. Whatever your desire, our friendly and informed team can guide you in choosing the very best time to travel and where specifically to go.

Some of my top picks would be:


This island nation is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean for travellers who want the picture-postcard perfection of Caribbean vacations. With divine beaches, stunning resorts and a plethora of Barbados top attractions, it is renowned as one of the loveliest islands of the Caribbean.

The best last minute Caribbean vacations are waiting for you to discover them

Smugglers Cove 1 situated on the edge of Paynes Beach is a divine 3 bedroom ground floor property.  This fresh and elegant villa opens out onto a terrace with views across the gardens to the beach.  You can start each day with a swim in your pool or venture the very short distance to the powder white sands of Paynes Beach and the turquoise Caribbean beyond.  The palm trees swaying along the white beach seem almost too perfect for words.  It’s exactly what a Caribbean getaway should look like.

Costa Rica

This is becoming one of the most desirable destinations in the Caribbean. Specifically, its Pacific coastline has miles of the most pristine sandy beaches that stretch endlessly in front of turquoise waters. The jungles that flourish all along the coastline are teeming with birds and butterflies.  Chattering monkeys are a feature of this tropical paradise as well as the very shy and rarely seen jaguar. Yoga, surfing, snorkelling, hiking, visits to volcanoes, amazing coffee plantations, divine food.  It’s the full package of delights for anyone interested in grabbing the perfect last-minute vacation deal.

The spectacular views from the hillside above Manuel Antonio have to be seen to be believed.  When looking at where to stay in Costa Rica, you will discover the incredible Villa Celaje. The terrace of Villa Celaje has a panoramic view that stretches out across the tropical jungles beneath to the expansive sweep of the exquisite Manuel Antonio beaches. This large newly built property combines the very best of modern design. Each room features stone and wood that bring a natural quality to this state of the art property.

There are so many affordable last minute air fares that make last minute travel easy


Unquestionably, the culture and personality of Jamaica make it one of the most interesting places to go to in the Caribbean.  This island has given the world reggae music and spicy jerk cuisine – the two key ingredients to any amazing night in the Caribbean ,.. or anywhere!  There are fabulous beaches a short drive from the famous Montego Bay and you will find yourself slipping under the magical spell that Jamaica casts on its lucky visitors.

Wild Orchid is a stunning colonial style property set in splendid manicured grounds.  If you want to capture a sense of grand living – Caribbean style – this is the property for you.  Sitting in the heart of a large coconut and banana plantation, this luxurious property with traditional and sumptuous furnishings, opens out onto large lawns fringed by pretty palm trees.  With your own private pool and tennis court and membership of the nearby exclusive Tryall Club, this is a wonderful property for a large family getaway or reunion.

St Barts

Probably the last work in beach chic sophistication. This jewel like island is the epicentre of Caribbean glamour with the who’s-who from the world of celebrity descending on the island for some quality beach time.

 After you have explored the tropical jungles and rain-forests, you can relax on the golden Costa Rican beaches

The villa of Governeur Cliff has a dramatic location with a wide open view down to the sandy Governeur Beach of St Barts.  This is a quiet place to relax and chill in between fabulous trips to Gustavia. Fun and fabulous lunches await along the sea front of the island’s capital and you can dip in and out of the duty free shopping scene.

A word on Air Fares

If you are looking for the best last minute air fare rates, it is believed that booking a flight on a Tuesday nets the best results.  Generally, some of the low cost carriers offer seasonal discounts and if you are registered with them you will be advised when they have special deals.  Of course, if you have the luxury of having an account with a Private Jet Company, you can easily guarantee your jet within 12 hours.


It may be a cliché but the world is getting smaller.  A few decades ago it was unthinkable to simple fly to a sunny destination for a few days.  The increase in the number of flights as well as the development of airports in more remote locations, allows the intrepid traveller to step away from the rigours of daily life more easily.  The mundane day to day can give way to a fabulous and exotic adventure where you steep yourself in an entirely new culture and scene.

For some of the best last minute deals search our website at Exceptional Villas

And lastly …. The very best tip ….

My very best tip to give anyone thinking about skipping off on a last-minute trip of any duration is to pick up the phone and contact Exceptional Villas amazing booking team.  They have decades of experience and first hand knowledge of each of the spectacular villas and resorts that we represent around the world.  When you are sitting on the terrace of your private villa, with a schedule as busy or serene as you wish, you will have found how easy it is to simply getaway and enjoy a bespoke vacation like no other.

About Mairead Moriarty

Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories.

It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name!

Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really.

Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be.

Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.

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