It's Not Too Late for a Last-Minute (Affordable) Summer Getaway
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When you’re faced with seemingly endless meetings, deadlines, and emails, something’s gotta give. For most of us, that thing is R&R.

That may explain why so many Americans don’t use all their paid vacation days: If you’re feeling stretched at work, the thought of taking a break can sound nearly impossible. But the evidence is clear: Chugging away isn’t doing you (or your career) any favors.

As it turns out, vacations can actually improve your job performance, rather than dragging you further behind, and even increase your likelihood of getting a raise or bonus. Not only that, but getting away can boost your emotional well-being, too.

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And with Labor Day fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to plan a last-minute getaway. Whether you want to party at the beach with your friends, enjoy a romantic weekend or go solo, here are seven tips to help you get a break—without going broke.

Scan for flight deals, destination: anywhere.

When it comes to last-minute trips, plane tickets are probably your biggest challenge. According to a study by CheapAir, you’re most likely to get a rock-bottom fare at around 54 days out—and the two weeks pre-departure tend to have the steepest prices. Still, there are strategies that can yield a bargain.

“Look for deals first, then choose the destination,” says Becky Pokora, travel blogger at The Girl and the Globe. “Most people start the other way around, saying, ‘I want to go to Hawaii,’ and then look for ways to save on that particular trip. But it’s often better to search for pre-made packages, airfare sales or special promotions.”

With that in mind, Skyscanner is your new best friend. Enter your starting location and dates, then for the destination, click “Everywhere.” The site will pull up a list of flights in order of cost. Google Flights offers a similar “Everywhere” service, plus a handy feature to filter results based on the type of trip you’re in the mood for, from ecotourism to culture. If you’re feeling super spontaneous, the app GTFO (Get the Flight Out) offers up round-trip tickets leaving that night or the following morning.

Twitter is also a must. Follow @JetBlueCheeps, where the airline famously tweets about their killer, eleventh-hour sales; @TheFlightDeal for a round-up of travel bargains that come in at $.06 per mile or less; and @airfarewatchdog, which publishes deals from all airlines. (Just be ready to act quickly—these get swooped up fast.)

Hit the pavement instead.

Of course, avoiding air travel altogether may be the most economical option. “Use a website like Fuel Economy to estimate the cost of your trip and figure out whether it’s cheaper to fly or drive,” says Kristina Portillo, founder of Business Travel Life.

The Roadtrippers app can help you out by suggesting sample itineraries and cool stops along the way, themed trips like movie filming locations or guides to haunted places and decent roadside lodgings within your price range.

August 16, 2016

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