Cheap Weekend Getaway Ideas

cheap weekend getaway ideas

With Memorial Day coming up, I thought it would be fitting to write about some cheap weekend getaway ideas. Because of many places of business being closed for this federal holiday, it makes for a great opportunity to take a mini-vacation. Your bank account may be unfortunately saying otherwise. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a four-day weekend.

Cheap Getaway Ideas

Many of these suggestions can not only be planned last minute but on a budget as well.

Last Minute Planning = Last Minute Deals (Sometimes)

It is typically encouraged to plan your trips well in advance to ensure the best deals; however, you can certainly grab some last-minute deals by waiting to book your trip. Try GoLastMinute, which is a travel site that scours the internet for last-minute flight deals. Other common booking sites offer last minute deals as well, such as Expedia, where you can also find hotel and cruise deals. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate.

Book an AirBnB

You don’t necessarily have to fly somewhere to stay in a cool location. Many sweet spots are just a reasonable drive away, and if you have one in mind, you can save money by renting someone else’s home. AirBnB has become an increasingly popular option for tourists traveling on a dime, but you can book an entire vacation home as well through HomeAway. Stay in the mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, visit the Florida Keys, or even rent a home in Paris for your trip. Plus, with these options, you can save money on going out to eat every night by purchasing your own groceries.

Getaway Locations

No matter what part of the states you are in, there are great (and cheap) places that are only a drive away from your location. Here are a few suggestions:

If you’re in the East Coast, consider staying in Atlanta, Georgia; Asheville, North Carolina; Burlington, Vermont; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dewey Beach, Delaware.

  • Atlanta, Georgia: Along with its awesome barbecue, Atlanta does not charge for you to visit one of its most historic landmarks, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. With hotel rates as low as $39.94 over Memorial Day Weekend, you may want to add this to your list.
  • Asheville, North Carolina: I just visited Asheville last spring, and it was not only affordable, but one of my favorite locations to date. Parking is not much fun, but you can walk just about anywhere downtown that you want to go. Plus, you can go kayaking right on the French Broad River outside of town.
  • Burlington, Vermont: If you’re the outdoorsy type, Burlington will not let you down. Vermont is really popular in the fall season, so now may be a good time to visit when tourism is slower.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The City of Brotherly Love is the host of the famous Rocky stair climb scene at the Rodin Museum, which has a mere suggested $8 entry fee. Take advantage of public transportation to save on gas and parking fees, and visit some of the mircrobrews that host complimentary tours on Saturdays like the Yards Brewing Company.
  • Dewey Beach, Delaware: Dewey Beach is adjacent to Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach but is the cheapest option of the two. Hitting it before the big beach season will help you save on hotel options as well. You can, though, try HomeAway and rent someone’s house for the weekend for potentially less. If you’re hoping to go to a beach over Memorial Day Weekend, this is a great option.

For West Coast dwellers, you’ll find  Portland, Oregon; San Antonio, Texas; Carmel Beach, California; Catalina Island, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona are some of the great spots for you to visit during Memorial Day weekend.

  • Portland, Oregon. Portland consists of a vibe that combines an outdoor feel to an urban area. You can visit the International Rose Test Garden, take some distillery or brewery tours, hit up a gallery walk, and more. Not to mention, they have some awesome flea markets you won’t want to miss.
  • San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio is full of free attractions, like the Alamo and their Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Market Square and the Japanese Tea Gardens are also attractions you can visit without spending a dime.
  • Carmel Beach, California: Drive down Highway 1 to see the rocky beach at Carmel Beach. Visit the small town full of boutiques and restaurants, do an art tour, surf, paddleboard, or go camping. This gem of a spot makes for a one of the many great cheap weekend getaway ideas without hurting your wallet.
  • Catalina Island, California: Believe it or not, now may be an ideal time to travel to Catalina Island right before the busy summer season starts. You may find the best rates during the week, though, instead of the weekend. You can book an average-rated hotel at a little more than $80, according to HotelPlanner. If you miss your chance to visit it now, the fall would be another time to visit due to the lack of crowds.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona: From parks to the arts district, you won’t be bored visiting Scottsdale. Check out this list of ten free things to do here.

Other Ideas

Of course, you could drive to the nearest body of water, National Park, or state park and camp out for the weekend as well, which is always cheap to do. You could also become a tourist of your own area by trying a restaurant you have not had a chance to go to yet or do a tour of the area hosted by your local tourist bureau.

What cheap weekend getaway ideas would you add to the list?

Nine Cheap Travel Trips

Cheap travel tips

Cheap travel tips

A vacation doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. If you are a traveler on a budget, these cheap travel tips are for you.

With concerns of rising air fares, baggage fees, cost of gas and more, taking time to travel can seem financially daunting and unrealistic when everyone wants you to save and think about retirement more. The truth is, you can most certainly still travel on a budget.  Here are nine easy cheap travel tips, some of which I use myself:

  1. Travel off-season. This is probably one of the easiest ways to save on your next trip, especially when flying. You will find that the rates are lower right off the bat when you plan to leave when others are typically not. Savings will also be found in rental cars and accommodations. If your trip depends on warm, nice weather, I would recommend comparing and contrasting prices in the fall and spring.
  2. Bring your own food. Are you going on a road trip? Pack your own food to avoid extra spending on stopping at restaurants or fast food joints. Plus, you’ll get to your location faster by saving time. My boyfriend and I often hit a lot of ground when we travel, and our most recent trip was a road trip. We were able to save time and money by bringing our own meals for the road.
  3. Leave during the week. The weekends are unquestionably busiest for traveling, which means higher prices in air fare, car rentals, hotels and the like. By generally choosing to fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you can make your vacation cheap. Always keep major holidays in mind, though, as that does change things.
  4. Opt for a bed and breakfast. When my boyfriend, Ryan, and I decided to travel to Seattle in 2014, we knew this trip would not be cheap, mostly because of both renting a car for a few days and needing to stay in hotels for four of the seven nights of our excursion. Ryan was not too keen on the idea of a hostel (another inexpensive option) due to none with privacy being available, so I began looking into bed and breakfasts. I found a happy-medium, located right by downtown Seattle in the Cultural District, The Panama Hotel. It is technically a hotel but has a bed and breakfast feel. It also holds much history. In fact, it is the only remaining Japanese bathhouse still standing in the United States. We stayed here for the first couple nights at the beginning of our trip, and we were able to save money while also being able to walk through the downtown area. And, speaking of which…
  5. Put on your walking shoes. If you are trying to save as much money as possible on your trip, make a plan to walk as much as possible. Even in the age of the sharing economy with Uber and Lyft, try walking. You can still use that extra $20 for your next meal. Remember: cheap travel is the key here.
  6. Get the biggest bang for your buck. Ryan and I have been able to do multiple trips because we often incorporate the great outdoors in our travels. We will stay a few nights in a major city then head out of town to a national park or outdoor area that interests us, which helps us to keep expenses low while traveling. In addition to be cheaper, it also allows us to experience so much more.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for a refund. If you noticed a cheaper deal with another hotel company or car rental after booking, you can cancel your current agreement to go for the lower rate. Just make sure you do it in enough time and read the terms on your receipts. Many hotels allow a 24-hour cancellation notice in order to receive a refund. Others might require a minimum of 48-hours.
  8. Fly out locally. Instead of flying out of a major city’s airport, you may be able to save by flying out through a regional airport. Be sure not to rule it out when doing your price comparisons.
  9. Use an app. I am still learning about all the awesome apps there are you can use to find the best deals along with last-minute reservations. I am sure you are aware of useful tools like Groupon, Airbnb and LivingSocial, but some others include HotelsTonight and Air Help, which helps you with airfare compensation. You can also manage travel points through TPG To Go.

Part of cheap travel is to also know peak times in the areas in which you want to travel. Going with my point listed above, you can expect to spend more on travel costs during the area’s busiest times.

By keeping your budget in check and using these little tricks, you can fit a vacation that not only suits your schedule but your wallet as well.

What would you add to the list?