Tie it up in a package
An obstacle that procrastinating travelers face is finding one component of their trip but not the other: snagging cheap air but coming up empty on rooms that suit the crew, or vice versa. Check sites like Lastminute.com and Travelzoo.com, which collect the leftovers from car-rental companies, airlines, and hotels, then package them for you. Amber Hanford, a mom in Van Horne, IA, has bid on package deals on Priceline.com, with impressive results: "We got a round-trip flight from Chicago to Houston for $185 and rooms in mid-tier national chains for less than $50."
Elevate your mind (and your family) at a ski resort
"Winter" resorts, like Breckenridge, CO (Breckenridge.com), and Stowe, VT (Go stowe.com), make for refreshing summer escapes: They're cooler than a sweltering amusement park, full of adventure sports like mountain biking and kayaking, and relatively uncrowded. Jeanenne Tornatore, a spokesperson for Orbitz.com, also recommends them because they host plenty of activities, festivals, and concerts geared to families in order to attract more visitors during their downtime. That kind of no-plan-required fun works for us.