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.
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…
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.
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
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
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.