Cheap vacations can be hard to plan. What starts as a simple trip interstate can easily begin to snowball from expenses like accommodation, tolls, and meals. Let’s get back to the basics with these last-minute, thrifty vacation ideas perfect for long weekends or impromptu day trips.
1. The Beach
The beach is nature’s water-park, and even your stingiest friend can scrounge up a few dollars for gas money to explore such a cheap destination. Swimming in the ocean and burying your buddies in sand doesn’t cost a cent. Off-peak motels should be able to hook you up with a room for a few nights at short notice, and if you’re lucky might include a free breakfast. There is no shortage of idyllic coastline to spend your holiday cruising through.
2. Mountain Cabin
Who hasn’t dreamt of spending a cosy afternoon in a wood-lined cabin, complete with a smoky fire and Sherpa-lined blankets? Splitting the cost of a cabin between you and your friends shouldn’t set you back too bad, especially if you’re open to sleeping on couches or top-and-tailing in beds. Choose to go off-season, or when the snow’s piling up outside. Either way, there’s plenty to do between snowball fights and indoor board games.
3. Waterfall Hike
Take your vacation on the move while going for a long bush-walk. The break from technology will help you feel more immersed in a breathtaking environment. There are many waterfalls safe enough to take a dip in, but even just listening to the tranquil sound is so rejuvenating, and worth more than money can buy.
Some campsites take booking fees, but cheap vacations don’t come sweeter than just pitching your tent up under the stars. Investing in camp equipment will help you out on future trips, or you could borrow almost everything from that distant relative in the scouts. It’s a great way to put your survival skills to the test while taking nature in for all it is. For added savings, take your dogs with you so you don’t need a pet-sitter!
5. Theme Parks
While the ‘House of Mouse’ may not come cheap, there are plenty of smaller, more niche amusement parks around. Cheap accommodation should be found nearby for regular visitors to the park, as well as restaurants and cafes. Theme parks are great for sinking some time into over a long weekend so you can soak up every single ride and experience they have to offer.
As inexpensive as cheap vacations come, and so low-key to plan. Whether you spend the whole holiday indoors, or get out and explore aspects of your hometown you’ve never seen before, taking a staycation is a fun, homey way to take a break.
7. The Desert
Like the beach, but with less water. If you absolutely love hot weather, take a road trip with your friends inland. Make sure you plan ahead before you leave; water is a must. The desert has many unexpected attractions, from dune-sledding to camel rides, and are usually filled with strange sculpture parks and art attractions.
8. The City
Depending on your city, cheap vacations in town can vary in price. But on the other hand, if you book a hotel for the weekend with your friends or significant other, you should make some savings. You can enjoy the best brunches around, or if you’re feeling bougie, order room service. As an added bonus, you don’t have to think about catching public transport home from nightclubs on a Saturday evening/ Sunday morning.
9. Country B&B
More of a country mouse than a city slicker? Instead, explore nearby country regions and stay in a beautiful Bed & Breakfast. Find one close by to wineries, orchards, or within a short drive to the main town so you can explore the culture and history of the place. It’s relaxing and a little romantic, but most importantly, not all cheap vacations have an inclusive breakfast, so best to take advantage of those that do.
Rent a lake house with your family or friends to save on an otherwise expensive trip. Add the hire of a boat to the total price, and you’re set for fun and memorable trip on a pristine, fresh-water lake. There are so many free activities you can do, from fishing to going on outdoor walks. Have a group meal on the deck in the crisp evening air, or stay in watching scary movies. It’s great to spend time in different surroundings with people you love.
What are your go-to cheap vacations? Which places do you want to go to on this list? Comment below!
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Hi, I'm Kelsey! I'm studying a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne. In my spare time, I like to read, get distracted by YouTube videos, and browse Instagram all day long.