I love traveling, and I try to take at least two big trips a year. Because traveling can be expensive, though, you might thinking getting away to celebrate the end of summer is out of your reach. However — if you know where to look — you can find some affordable end-of-summer getaways that won't break the bank. Whether in the United States, or abroad, traveling can be a life-changing experience that opens you up to new ideas, perspectives, cultures, cuisines, friendships, and more. If you prioritize experiences over things, then you know what I'm talking about.
There are a few things you can do proactively to make traveling more accessible, like using a credit card that awards you airline miles. I'm not advocating debt, and you can use a credit card just like a debit card. Set your budget, pay for everything with your card, and then pay it off every month. I have two airline miles credit cards, which means that pretty often I am not paying for my flights when I travel. Many cards will even give you a companion ticket each year that lets a friend fly for under $100.
If you're definitely avoiding credit cards, some debit cards offer the same thing. It's also beneficial to sign up for free airline miles and hotel rewards programs because the points eventually add up. So, if you want to get away on the cheap, check out these affordable end-of-summer getaway ideas.
1Get A Travel Groupon
If you're on a serious budget but want to get away for a few days, Groupon has some amazing travel deals. I booked a trip to Ireland a few years ago that included the flight and hotel, and it was cheaper than the cost of a cross-country plane ticket.
Groupon offers deals within the United States as well as in countries around the world. You usually have to fly from a list of cities they select; road trip to the airport, anyone? If you're just looking for a few days of relaxation near by, you can score great hotel deals, too.
2Topdeck Travel European Paradiso Adventure
If you've got a little more cash and you want to check some items off your bucket list, the Topdeck Travel European Paradiso trip is pretty epic.
This trip takes you to nine countries in 28 days for less than $3,000, including three endangered destinations in one fell swoop, offering "plenty of time for independent exploration and tons of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities," Topdeck Travel Global PR & Communications Manager Maria Eilersen said in a statement to Bustle. “Lots of Millennials are seeing the effects of climate change, even in their own backyards, so are looking to visit at-risk destinations around the world now, before they’re gone."
- Venice, Italy: Get your romantic Gondola ride in now because the winding canals of this ancient city won’t be around forever. Thanks to increased ship traffic and rising sea levels, the existence of Venice and its lagoon are at risk and topping Europe’s list of endangered sites.
- Swiss Alps: Chock it up to climate change. The European mountain range loses around 3 percent of glacial ice, which means that by 2050 there might be any more glaciers.
- Stonehenge: Increased rainfall that has led to flood damage has put southern England’s landmark site on the endangered list. While this one isn’t part of the trip, it’s an easy addition to tack on at the beginning or tail-end because the trip starts and ends in London.
3Education From edX
If you literally can't get away physically, you can have a virtual Eat, Pray, Love experience with these online courses from EdX, a free online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012.
- If you're like most millennials, then you really love wine. Become a wine connoisseur this free World of Wine course.
- And, a great glass of wine, has to be paired with some great food, right? In Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science, learn from world famous chefs and Harvard professors as they explain the science behind everyday cooking techniques.
- If seeing the world's best architecture just isn't in your budget, you can travel the globe without ever leaving home with The Architectural Imagination, which focuses on fundamental principles of architecture from a study of history’s important buildings.
4Glamping With Tentrr
Haven't been camping before? We got you set! pic.twitter.com/FdizHbxDE8— Tentrr (@Tentrr) June 9, 2017
If you've never been camping, and roughing it really isn't your jam but you still want to experience the great outdoors this summer, give galmping a try. Glamping is camping but not as rustic, and Tentrr has campsites that are individually located on private land so you can relax and recharge away from other campers.
These campsites are already set up so you can avoid the frustrating crying jag that often comes with trying to pitch a tent, and they'll even curate outdoor activities for you and your crew. Tenterr's campsites are located on the East Coast, so if you already live nearby, getting there is pretty easy.
5For The Love Of Travel
Got the travel bug but your friends don't? If solo traveling isn't your thing, For The Love of Travel can connect you with other people your age going on some epic trips.
"Pulling a page from the slow food movement, we embrace the idea of 'slow travel.' That is, having an authentic cultural experience that connects us with the soul of the destination and people we can relate to," the website noted.
The company handles all of the major details, leaving you more time to discover, connect, and have fun with your new friends. Trips range from low-cost weekend getaways to bucket-list international adventures.
6International Volunteer HQ
If you're truly broke, and you want to give back, consider a volunteer trip. International Volunteer HQ offers opportunities in more than 35 destinations around the world, and it can cost you as little as $180 for one week.
You'll spend part of your time volunteering and the rest of the time exploring in places like Kenya, Argentina, Bali, Italy, and more. See the world and still have money left over to pay your rent.
If you like camping, and you don't hate the heat, here's an opportunity to live out your Blue Lagoon fantasies: I went to St. John about 10 years ago and stayed in a tent; it was hands down one of the best trips of my life. The island is located in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, most of which is under water. This means truly epic snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities are a given, and all you really need is a bathing suit, a hat, and some sunscreen.
You can pitch your own tent at Cinnamon Bay for less than $40 a night, or rent one of their eco-tents or cottages. If you've got a little more cash, you can stay in an amazing glamping resort on the other side of the island. Concordia Eco Resort offers both tent camping (already pitched glamping tents), and more cottage-like options, and they also have a cafe, activities, yoga, and massage offerings.
Summer is the off season in the Virgin Islands, and if you don't mind the heat, St. John, population 4,170, is a true exercise in relaxation with some of the bluest water — not to mention the most amazing fish — you've ever seen.
Bon voyage, my friends!