Dirt Cheap Vacations for Broke College Kids

Need a break from a year of saving up?

We all want summer to be a time of adventure — whether that's relaxing on the beach or backpacking up a mountain. Some other more ambitious dreamers might even be fantasizing about an all inclusive resort. These things all sound great! Except one thing — you're in school and broke as hell.

But lucky for you, here's a list of cheap, fun vacations that will look amazing on your Instagram and won't break bank. You're welcome.

Montreal

dminc.com

Canada is literally so proud of their summers — when my friends and I road tripped there, we accidentally walked through three festivals. What's better than cheap beer — note the drinking age is 18 — and authentic poutine? The also equally cheap hotels and restaurants. Walk through Old Montreal and explore the cute shops or take a hike on Mount Royal and look over the entire city.

The only downside is that Canadian tax is pretty steep — two different kinds to be exact — but hey, they have to pay for their free healthcare somehow. Transportation-wise, you can fly pretty cheap on airlines like Spirit, but you can also drive like I did. My friends and I had a little extra cash so we also stopped at Acadia National Park in Maine. Which brings me to the next destination…

National Parks

www.worldatlas.com

If you live out in the Midwest, good for you! Nature is practically at your fingertips while us New Yorkers have to drive a couple hours. Visiting the national parks not only lets you get away from all the noise of the city, but also supports the National Park Service — you're welcome, Leslie Knope.

The fee for a car in places like Yosemite or Yellowstone is only 30 to 50 dollars and you can bring your own equipment to camp in their grounds. If you're feeling particularly fancy — and rich — you can also rent rooms in their hotels and cabins. Most parks also have restaurants in them, but you're probably better off visiting their grocery stores. Bring what you can and buy the necessities.

Costa Rica

www.costarica.com

Need an actual getaway? Costa Rica is your destination. If you book flights on cheap airlines and cheap days, they can be as low as 400 dollars per round trip ticket. Budget hotels like Cabinas El Mirador or Orosi Lodge start at 60 to 70 bucks a night. The activities are the real money grabbers — zip lining, rafting, hot springs and others are anywhere from 100 to 300 dollars.

However, if you save enough and plan your trip just right, the budget for each person doesn't need to be sky high. Costa Rica is the perfect place to unwind and relax while still exploring new cultures and places. I'd recommend skipping the resorts and party beaches unless you're into that whole scene.

Your Local City

www.worldatlas.com

Ever think about just driving into your city and staying there? Or if you already live there, renting a hotel or AirBnB and relaxing for the weekend? Since I go in between Boston and New York City, staycations are super attractive since I never really have enough time in either place.

You can splurge on the hotel if relaxing is the only thing you'll be focusing on, but save room for activities if you want more. Take day trips to the Sears Tower in Chicago or walk the High Line in NYC. Have a picnic in Boston Commons or take a tour of Hollywood. Even though these things may seem touristy, you may have never experienced what was in your own backyard — and you might even learn something.

Tour of Europe

www.redrosetravelntours.com

Europe can be very cheap if you're already abroad. Wine is two to three euros while some food even comes free with alcohol. Transportation is affordable and sometimes it takes literally half an hour to get from one country to the next. If you were abroad for the spring, consider staying there another week just to take in the sights that you missed out on.

Maybe you were studying in Madrid and Prague was too far out of your reach or maybe the nude beaches that intimidated you before now look pretty interesting. Or you can ship all of your stuff back and just backpack through the continent.

Whatever you decide to do can impact your life a lot. If you have the privilege to immerse yourself in another culture, you can help spread the information and educate others while lowering ignorance and bigotry. Perhaps in Montreal, think about why universal healthcare works or how France got out of a big mistake with the recent election. Who knows, maybe you may find a new beginning somewhere else.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!