Planning a last-minute vacation has become more popular during the global pandemic, as travelers are unsure what restrictions will be in place at the time of their trip. The average number of days between booking to check-in is now 50 days, down -37.5% from the average lead time pre-pandemic, according to Forbes.

The spontaneity and flexibility of last-minute travel are certainly appealing, but last-minute travel can also be expensive and difficult to plan. Fortunately, HomeExchange makes last-minute exchanges an affordable possibility.

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Search last minute home exchanges

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

During the pandemic, HomeExchange added a new "last minute" search filter. Now, when you search for a vacation, you can filter by homes with availability during the next two weeks.

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

Make sure your own home calendar is up-to-date so people searching for an exchange can find you easily and your exchange requests are relevant to your needs!

Send a last-minute vacation exchange request

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

When sending exchange proposals for a last-minute trip, it's more important than ever to make your messages personalized. We recommend you send messages to at least 15 members with available homes for the best results. Use these tips to make your message personal and increase your chances of getting a positive response!

  1. Share something about yourself so your potential exchange partner can learn more about you! Explain who you are, who you’re traveling with, why you want to visit their town and anything else you want to share about yourself to seem open and approachable.
  2. If you’re proposing a reciprocal exchange (a member comes to your house and you go to theirs), help the member get excited about visiting your home! Tell them what you love about your city, any festivals or events that might be taking place during the exchange, and the features of your home that make it a wonderful place to stay.
  3. Look at the person’s profile before you send a message. Use this information to find common interests and comment on it when you send a message (maybe you both have a love of surfing, for example, that can help create a connection). Members will appreciate that you’ve gone the extra mile and may be more open to an exchange with someone so personable!

Be flexible when planning a last-minute vacation

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

If you can only travel on specific dates, state that up front when sending HomeExchange requests. But keep in mind that the more open you are to different dates or a different type of exchange (reciprocal or GuestPoints), the more likely you are to get a response and find an arrangement that works for both parties.

Keep an open mind to exchange requests you receive, too, even if they’re in destinations you might not have considered before. When it comes to finding a home exchange, flexibility is the name of the game!

Flexibility can also help with finding great deals on flights. If you're willing to fly on weekdays or during undesirable hours, and are able to shift your plans by a few days, you can score cheap flights. Google Flights and Skyscanner are two handy tools to find cheap last-minute flights.

Join HomeExchange Facebook groups for last-minute travel opportunities

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

Many of our members find last-minute travel opportunities in our Facebook groups. Members can post the link to their home and when they're looking for an exchange— you might just find your home swapping match there!

Stick to a travel budget

5 tips to plan your last-minute vacation on a budget

Just because you're planning a last-minute vacation doesn't mean your budget should go out the window! Make a budget for flights (or gas, if you'll do a road trip), food, activities, and anything else you may need.

When traveling with HomeExchange, you can save up to 80% on your accommodation budget, meaning you'll have more funds to enjoy your destination! Signing up for HomeExchange is free, so you can start communicating with members as you organize your next vacation. You are only required to pay the annual membership fee of $150 when you're ready to finalize your first exchange.

That means you can enjoy unlimited exchanges for a year for the price of one night in a hotel. Whether you're a big planner or prefer last-minute weekend getaways, a HomeExchange membership ensures you can find welcoming homes wherever you go. You can be sure that you will be supported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and covered in the event of unforeseen events with our guarantees.

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