With COVID restrictions relaxing around the country, you may be considering your next vacation. While travel abroad remains limited, there are other options. Just when we feel like this will be yet another year where we’ll have to skip a vacation, there’s hope! There are so many affordable ways to vacation if we just think a little bit outside of the box.
10 Outside-the-Box Vacations For Any Budget
Camping can be an affordable way to travel. In many states, a free park pass can be obtained from the local library to cover any related entry or parking fees. If you don’t have the gear, you can look for used gear online rather than paying full price for something new. Also, keep in mind that some sporting goods stores and even local libraries rent out camping gear. Search your area for rental options before making the investment of purchasing equipment.
Glamping is a step up from camping. It's glamorous camping. It often involves a yurt, teepee, treehouse, RV, boat, or other structure designed to ease us into a camping experience. It can be a great entry-level camping experience for those who aren't necessarily enthusiastic about the downsides of the great outdoors (sweating, bugs, sleeping rough) but still want a little time in nature.
Hostels are out there for those who don’t mind sharing communal spaces and roughing it just a bit. They usually don't come with luxurious accommodations, but the price is right for many budget travelers. Look in your area for hostel options. In Georgia, there is a treehouse hostel in Brunswick. While it's closed due to COVID restrictions, it may be a good option to add to your bucket list for when it reopens.
Check Our Airbnb
Many homes offer rooms for rent or even entire locations for low prices. Be sure to book well in advance to secure an affordable rate. VRBO and HomeAway also list affordable vacation rentals. While Airbnb has recently made the news for outrageous rental prices, there are still affordable listings if you're looking for them.
Utilize Groupon Travel Deals
Keep an eye out for changing deals, and snag a good one when it comes up. Groupon nearly always has a discount code available to use for our purchases. I recently visited the Great Wolf Lodge using a Groupon rate.
Opt for a Staycation
It may not sound relaxing just to stay home--especially after a year of it--but when we treat our areas like tourists, taking day trips to see sites, it can be fun! I know my state offers a free zoo pass from the local library that can be checked out once a year. A staycation is a great opportunity to do all the things we’d like to do closer to home but rarely have the time to do.
Be a Day Tripper
Decide how far you want to drive. Two hours, three, five? What’s the longest you’re prepared to sit in a car? Then, go online and map the circumference around where you live. Where could you visit in a 5-hour drive from your home? Which sites interest you in that area?
Don’t think only of tourist spots. Parks, hiking trails, waterfalls, and other natural beauty may abound. Museums may also be a point of interest. Foodies might want to take a trip simply to try out the local cuisine. Be creative, but decide first on how long you want to drive, and then figure out your best options there.
Stay at a Park
Many parks offer affordable accommodation in the form of cabins, inns, or lodges. A park can be a great way to vacation. Not only can you stay on-site, you can also take advantage of the park's many amenities. For instance, at Hard Labor Creek State Park, there's a playground, miniature golf, a lake for fishing and kayak rentals, a nearby observatory, geocaching, hiking, horseback riding trails, and more!
Look into local farms and other locations that may provide reasonably priced accommodations (and farm-to-table cuisine). Many offer experiences suitable for the whole family. The best part about agritourism is that it combines a unique vacation with supporting local agriculture and small businesses.
Don't Rule Out a Cruise
While many cruise liners aren't yet running at full capacity, they could start booking again soon. This may seem like an expensive option, but I can tell you that it’s not. As a single mother, I was able to take my two children on a Carnival cruise for a week for less than many would spend for a long weekend away. The cost included all meals, entertainment, childcare, and gratuity. This is, of course, more affordable if you are within driving distance of a port. It is easily the most luxurious- and yet most affordable- trip I’ve ever been on.
Many of us have been vacation dreaming for over a year. We've daydreamed about cabins or beaches, drinks with little umbrellas, hammocks swaying in a breeze, or something sizzling on a grill as we bask in the sun. Whatever our escape fantasy for vacation, it may be possible to actually have a small, affordable vacation. We just might want to consider a few outside-the-box options and make the most of whatever we choose.
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