Never has a vacation seemed more appealing than the present. On the heels of a pandemic that just won’t quit, the country is currently reeling from the everyday impacts of inflation on transportation, housing, groceries, and more. For many, vacation plans have taken a backseat to the responsibility of more pressing financial matters. But, that needn’t be the death knell for the unique family experiences and meaningful memories that only time spent away from it all can provide. Here are some budget-friendly options to get in on a little taste of the sweet life.
Many of us are so intent on “getting away” for a vacation that we miss all of the amazing spaces and places outside our backdoor. Whether it’s the myriad of landmarks, museums, galleries, restaurants, and tourist attractions of urban destinations or the lakes, campsites, ghost towns, and natural spectacles of rural locales, your hometown region arguably has more to offer for a well-rounded staycation than you may have considered, and there’s no time like the present to find out.
Visit the National Parks
Camping can be a fantastic inexpensive vacation option, with campsite fees seldom exceeding $40/night and park entrance fees, when applicable, hovering around $20. This is a particularly great option for families and those with campers. If you’re intent on creature comforts and indoor plumbing, you can rent a posh RV or find nightly lodging in or around the outskirts of most parks, as well. Check out vacation rentals near some epic outdoor attractions for extended vacations.
Whether it’s a cruise to Alaska, a South American tour, or a flight to Timbuctoo, last-minute bookings can be as budget-friendly as they get. Although this option requires a level of flexibility, it’s a great fit for singles or couples needing a quick escape. And, you never know what amazing destination you might find that you never considered visiting. Think Athens instead of Rome, or Peru instead of Hawaii. We tend to visit obvious vacation destinations, big cities and coastal locales, but so many places around the world offer incredible culture, culinary treasures, breathtaking views, diverse people, and an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime memories just waiting to be had. Check out Google Flights to search for flights from nearby airports or get on Scott’s Cheap Flights to get deals delivered directly to your inbox; look at the Hopper app for hotel deals; and jump on specific cruise websites to see what’s available last minute.
House-sit Somewhere Amazing
Take the expense out of travel by house sitting. It might take a minute to build up a portfolio. Start small and local and get some solid five-star reviews under your belt but, once you’ve gained some street cred, the world is your oyster. Sometimes these gigs are even paid!
Drop-in on Relatives
Visiting relatives, especially if they are within reasonable driving distance, allows you to minimize travel expenses, like lodging and flights, and free up a little extra green for amusement parks, water park passes, special meals, etc. And, you get the warm fuzzies from spending time with loved ones after a long pandemic-induced hiatus.
Think All-Inclusive and Off-Season
If you have a little more to spend, staying at popular locales and resorts during the off-season can prove surprisingly affordable. The peak season for Caribbean travel, for instance, is during the winter, so rates can be much more budget-friendly during the summer months. Many resorts even offer free accommodations and meals for children. Keep in mind that all-inclusive options may actually prove cheaper.