By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
Although things don’t feel normal right now in the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t think about how we’re going to spend the summer months. Just because you’re traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice adventure. Even though there are restrictions on travel right now, we can get excited about the summer heat. With all the time at home we have available at the moment, let’s get productive. Start getting ideas for your summer vacation and find out the cheapest places to travel to.
Thanks to long sunny days and gorgeous temperatures, summer is a popular time to take a vacation. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive times to travel, since the peak season is in full swing. Luckily, there are a ton of options when it comes to cheap destinations and budget-friendly travel ideas.
Whether it’s a trip with your friends or a romantic getaway, you really can travel the world on a shoestring budget. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your summer vacation while keeping the costs down.1. Explore Your Local City
If you’re anything like me, you might not have even taken time to explore your own city. We’re all guilty of this. Sometimes, when it’s on your doorstep, it turns out to be the last place you visit. But your local city might have some of the hottest tourist spots just waiting for you to explore.
When you’re tight on time and money, your local city is a great place to start, as it is literally the cheapest place to travel to. A lot of cities have a good selection of museums and galleries to explore. Are there any festivals in your city? What’s the biggest tourist attraction in your local area? You might be surprised by what you find.
Do you live in New York? Have you ever been to Boston? Sometimes we get a bit wrapped up in the idea of traveling to some far-flung destination on the other side of the world. But that kind of travel comes with a pretty hefty price tag. A summer vacation doesn’t need to involve international travel.
Portland has a ton of craft breweries and boutique shops to keep you entertained. If you love history, San Antonio, Texas has a cool fusion of American history and Mexican culture. Hotels are relatively low priced, and there’s plenty to see while visiting. Check out your nearby towns for a low-cost weekend away.
One of the biggest costs of summer vacation, alongside accommodation, is your travel. We’ve all experienced the tiresome effort of searching for the cheapest flights. Whether you know exactly where you’re flying to or not, find out the cheapest places possible to fly to. Use a tool like Kiwi.com to find out the approximate cost. Simply enter your departure city and date range to find the cheapest destinations across the world.
Airline tickets typically get more expensive as your departure date approaches, so booking in advance is usually a good idea. But always check the travel restrictions and advice set in place by the government before you book any travel in advance. Make sure that your travel insurance covers any flights that may get canceled so that you’re protected.
Often the most popular tourist attractions and destinations can be a nightmare for your wallet. Yes, they are usually popular for a reason. But anywhere you visit will have so many beautiful things to see and foods to try. By choosing a less-well-known destination, you won’t have to spend loads of money and hours queueing. You can travel more cheaply to places that are less touristy.
Instead of flying to popular (and expensive) destinations like Venice or Barcelona, why not check out Budapest, Prague, or Estonia’s Baltic Coast? You don’t have to leave the country to venture off the beaten path, though. For example, Natchez in Mississippi has incredible 19th-century homes, historical monuments, and great views of the Mississippi River.
One way to spend your summer on a budget is to volunteer or work abroad for free food and accommodation. This is a great way to immerse yourself in a different culture and make memories. It’s possibly one of the most cost-effective ways to travel. All you need to pay for is your travel there and any visas you need.
There are several different volunteer options, such as teaching English, bar work, hotel management, and more. Sites like Help Exchange and Workaway connect volunteers with hosts from all around the world.
The United States National Park System includes 419 areas that span across more than 84 million acres in every state. If you’re looking for the cheapest places to travel for a summer vacation that doesn’t skimp on memories, head to a national park. Getting outside and back to nature benefits mental health and can do wonders if you need a break to reset and recharge.
For majestic mountains and geysers, check out Yellowstone. Camping is a cost-effective way to see the 2,220,000 acres of wilderness. Spend your day on one of the many hiking trails for an active and budget-friendly holiday. Other options include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Acadia National Park.
If your finances can’t bear the weight of an extravagant vacation right now, you can find ways to make your trip more affordable. With careful planning and savvy solutions, you can think beyond the typical vacation solutions.
Spontaneously traveling is fantastic if you have the luxury of time and money. However, most of us need to come up with a plan. It doesn’t need to be a tight hour-by-hour travel itinerary, but you should have an idea of how long you plan on going away for and your budget. Leaving less to chance means you’re less likely to be faced with unexpected costs. Last-minute flights and accommodation tend to be more expensive.
Make sure you bring only what you need and pack efficiently. A light suitcase is not only great for running to catch your flight, but it also helps with baggage fees. Pack ahead of time so you’re not panic packing.
It’s also a good idea to pack your snacks. This way you avoid buying expensive airport snacks. Another way to save money is by preparing your meals. Restaurants in touristy areas tend to charge a premium price. Meal prepping will also help to avoid holiday weight gain as you’ll be more aware of what you’re eating as you travel.
No matter your budget, there’s a travel destination to suit your needs. Planning is one of the best ways to stay on budget and minimize the chances of unexpected costs. With bikini season right around the corner, you’re probably already thinking about how to get beach body ready for summer.
With everything that’s happening in the world right now, travel is restricted. But what better time to start planning and sharing your vacay Pinterest board with friends? Some of the cheapest vacation destinations provide the most exciting experiences that will stay with you. Trust me; your next summer vacation will be one to remember, full of freedom and sun.