Not all of us are planners when it comes to travel. However, in the summer months, you can’t really afford to wing it. Many hotels are booked up or prices for everything from rental cars to flights are sky high in the go-to vacation destinations around the globe. However, there are many last minute destinations that can sweeten the end of your summer. While these destinations might not be the loudest and most well known, but hey provide much enrichment without too much of the cost or crowds.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: Located in southwestern Czech Republic and within easy reach of Prague, the UNESCO World Heritage city is a maze of cobbled streets and rich history. The fairytale-like castle, the second largest in the Czech Republic, dominates the town. Cesky Krumlov swirls around the Vitava River, making it possible to cool off in the summer by paddling a canoe right through town. There are also a number of notable museums and art galleries. While on some tourists’ radars, most of those arriving by the busloads leave by the late afternoon, leaving much of Cesky Krumlov to yourself. It is also very affordable, even in season with hotels costing anywhere from $50 to $100 per night.
San Juan, Puerto Rico: If you head to most capital cities this time of year, you will no doubt encounter sky-high prices and crowds. San Juan, Puerto Rico is the exception. Late summer is one of the wettest and hottest times to visit. If you can brave the heat or the rain, San Juan makes the trip worth your while with a number of art galleries, a rich Spanish heritage and beaches with calm and clear waters. A quick search of hotels for August proves the city is affordable for last minute bookers, with hotel rates per night anywhere from $70 to $200.
Louisville, Kentucky: Louisville might appear to be under a thick cloud of humidity in late summer, but the spirited city provides plenty of bourbon drinks for refreshments. If you choose to visit Louisville last minute, you won’t find as many crowds as May brings when the Derby takes place. You can still tour Churchill Downs, catch a Minor League baseball game at Louisville Slugger Field and even explore one of the 100 parks in Louisville. Louisville has a wealth of hotel options, from budget hotels to more historic and grand properties, mostly under $200 per night if you are booking only a few weeks out.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay: Located on the bank of the Río de la Plata, Colonia del Sacramento is one of Uruguay’s most picturesque villages. Due to its proximity to Buenos Aires, Argentina, many day-trippers come into Colonia by boat and leave for the city at night. Even with the crowds, you can get to know this UNESCO World Heritage city without forking over a small fortune. Hotels even in the busy season remain affordable. If you visit after October, you can have more of Colonia to yourself, especially its atmospheric Barrio Histórico.
Leavenworth, Washington: If you don’t have the time or money to fly to Germany, you can settle for a taste of Bavaria in Leavenworth, Washington. An easy weekend trip from Seattle, the town’s architecture takes on a decidedly German aesthetic. And with the Central Cascade Range framing the village, there are plenty of outdoor activities to take advantage of while pretending you are actually in the Alps.
Guadalupe, Mexico: The wine-centric village of Guadalupe in the Valle de Guadalupe rests just 75 miles from San Diego. Buried in Baja California, Mexico, the area is largely undiscovered, making for an ideal last minute getaway. This is Mexican wine country and predictably, most of the attractions revolve around the wineries in the area. There are also many boutique accommodation options in Valle de Guadalupe.
Cuenca, Spain: The UNESCO World Heritage city boasts a historic center teetering over a rocky canyon. Cuenca, Spain is perhaps most known for its Casas Colgadas, Hanging Houses. The structures with balconies seemingly cling to the cliff, jutting out into the canyon. Cuenca is just under two hours drive from Madrid in the Castilla-La Mancha region. Accommodations for last minute bookers can range from $50 to $150 for utmost luxury.