How to Take a Spontaneous Vacation, in Eight Steps

Surprise! You’re taking a trip this weekend.

Now, you may have questions: Where am I going? How much will this cost? How did you get in my room? Etc.

Leave those pesky details to others and rely on this: the eight apps and services tailor-made for spontaneous vacations.

See you out there. Wherever there is.

Not particular about the where part? For this web app, just enter your closest airport, trip budget, number of passengers and when you’re available to leave, and Wander will recommend places you can actually go (hotel included). Note: Wherefor is a very similar app.

Choose where you want to go, and get notified of the best/cheapest times to go—our preferred itinerary. Also good for suggesting trips and a great Chrome extension that suggests cheap trips with every tab you open.  

You’ve arrived … and have no idea what to do or where to go. Hoodmaps crowdsources descriptions of neighborhoods in major cities by category, from “SoulCycle moms” to “hipsters” to “Bjork” (hey, Brooklyn Heights). Does it get racist? Yeah. But if you want to avoid tourist-y areas — or embrace them — this is a good way to discover a city’s character (and, again, prejudices).

Book same-night stays at a curated mix of boutique hotels in major cities, along with suggested hour-by-hour action plans during your stay.

Pack Up + Go
A travel agency that’ll arrange all the particulars for your next weekend getaway — accommodations, itinerary, et. al. — with an unexpected catch: you won’t know your destination until departure.

Powered by Hopper, this app that only shows you roundtrip flights leaving tonight and tomorrow morning near your home airport.

Use this air travel comparison site to hack your way to a surprise weekend trip: Just set the filters to (for example) “anywhere,” “popular” and “this weekend only” and see where you can go for cheap — which seems to be a lot of Florida.

Using the site’s Trip Finder, find last-minute deals based on budget, or more nebulous concepts like romance, culture or climate.