Cheap Last-Minute Vacation Destinations for Seattleites


Seattle is well positioned in North America to provide a lot of options for a last-minute vacation. Finding a cheap flight from SEA shouldn’t be a problem, whether you want to go to the stunning beaches of Hawaii, or the bustling metropolis that is New York City. When taking a last-minute vacation, you shouldn’t limit yourself to destinations that are nearby, as the opportunities for cheap flights allow you to experience far off cities that offer enough free activities to offset a two- to three-hundred dollar price ticket. With a cheap plane ticket and cheap hotel options, plus free activities to fill your days, it should be easy to plan an impromptu vacation that stays below a $500 budget. To get some ideas for a Seattlite’s next big adventure, we’ve got a few tips for taking a last-minute trip away from the Emerald City.

Finding Cheap Last-Minute Flights from Seattle

The view of Seattle from a plane

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The first step in taking a cheap, impromptu vacation is figuring out how you will get there. To this end, it is important to pick a city that you can fly to relatively cheaply at a moment’s notice. But there are a few other tricks you can use to find cheap, last-minute flights from Seattle regardless of your destination. Try flying on days that are not popular travel days, like Monday or Thursday, and you can see your ticket price drop dramatically. Fly out Thursday evening, enjoy the weekend, and return first thing Monday morning. You can potentially save more than a hundred dollars on your flight this way. You can also sign up for fare alerts whenever you complete a GoLastMinute flight search, so the latest prices will be sent straight to your inbox. Stay up to date on pricing so you can plan your last-minute trip when the rates are at their lowest. This is the benefit of planning an impromptu trip, as you can choose your destination based on what flight prices are the lowest when you want to go. 

Monterey, CA

A boardwalk by the water in Monterey

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A beach vacation is always a good idea when you are trying to stay under budget, as hanging out on the beach is usually free and can fill your days with a feeling of adventure and unmatched relaxation. A trip to Monterey in California will carry with it a pretty low-cost flight ticket, plenty of free things to do, and little to no unexpected costs. Explore Fisherman’s Wharf for some local shopping, a lively atmosphere, and the chance to see wildlife like sea lions lounging about. Take a hike or bike ride down Monterey Bay Coastal Trail to see scenic views of the beaches and the ocean. Head to Monterey State Historic Park to see the historic buildings and museums. From window shopping to nature walks, there is plenty to do for little cost even without considering a day at the beach.

Kahului, Maui

A beachfront town with mountains in the background

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While Maui might seem like an expensive vacation destination, that is only really true if you are staying at a fancy resort or taking an extravagant cruise. In truth, flights from SEA to Maui can be relatively cheap, getting as low as a couple hundred dollars depending on when you go. The advantage of a trip to Hawaii is that there are plenty of immaculate beaches and lush wilderness to fill a vacation. Avoid overpriced tourist traps and let the natural beauty of the island be your entertainment, and you should have no problem keeping your last-minute vacation under budget. Just be sure to use fare alerts to find the cheapest time to go, and the rest of your budget will fall into place.

New York, NY

The New York skyline with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground

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New York City is another destination that is often thought of as quite expensive. But the liveliest city in the world offers plenty of cheap or free activities to fill a vacation, and flight tickets can often be found as low as $200 for a round trip. Whether you go to Times Square in the evening, or Central Park during the day, you can expect some of the best people watching you will ever experience. Walk along any of the city streets to find cheap street food to enjoy and unique shops for a little window shopping. That’s not even to mention attractions like the free ferry that goes out to the Statue of Liberty, or other famous sightseeing you can do.

New Orleans, LA

A carriage carries passengers through the French Quarter

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While most people think of New Orleans as a destination during Mardi Gras, the town has plenty to do year round and avoiding Mardi Gras means you should be able to find cheaper flights and hotels. There is often free live music to enjoy, whether that is street performers at the French Quarter, or free music events like festivals and outdoor performances. This colorful town also provides a lot of good window shopping and people watching, making it worth your time to just stroll down the streets and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Most importantly, the local street vendors offer a lot of delectable treats at relatively low cost, letting you get a taste of bayou cuisine without overspending on fancy restaurants.

Anchorage, AK

The skyline of Anchorage with mountains in the background

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Last, but not least, a vacation to Anchorage is a great way to see untamed wilderness during the summer months. Travel to Anchorage will likely be highest during the peak of summer, so to get good pricing, shoot for a vacation during the shoulder season during late spring or early fall. Once there, nature will serve as your entertainment each day, as you hike along trails, engage in birdwatching or fishing, or maybe try your hand at cross-country skiing. Beyond communing with nature, check out Campbell Creek Science Center, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, or the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center for cheap educational activities. When it comes time for dinner, head to one of the local breweries to experience Alaskan beer at its finest and freshest.

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