Sometimes, you just have to get away. No planning. Just a whole lot of relaxing.
Unfortunately, not planning is usually going to cost you. Plane tickets, hotels, tickets for museums or shows, eating out — it adds up pretty quickly. Especially in March, Spring Break kick-off time, when masses of young people flock to cities around the U.S. to blow off steam.
But you don’t have to go to a crowded Florida beach for a springtime getaway. There are lots of options for last-minute, affordable getaways you can take this month. It just depends on your budget.
If You Don’t Have Any Money
If you really don’t have much to spend, or just aren’t willing to blow your savings on a last-minute getaway for your mental health, consider packing up your lantern and canteen and go camping. One or two nights in a cheap hotel, exploring an area you’ve always known about but never given the time of day, can be as rejuvenating as a beach vacation. Avoiding a plane ticket or a hotel bill can really cut down on the final total of a trip. And sometimes, all it takes to scratch the itch is to get away from your daily routine.
If You Need a Change of Pace at a Moderate Price
A lot of the times, the biggest cost to visiting somewhere new is the plane ticket. Getting anywhere at all can be two, three, four hundred dollars, depending on where you start. If you have the nerves for it and are flexible, you can get better deals on last-minute plane tickets (like, really last-minute).
Take Atlanta for example. It’s a huge city that’s easy to get to, considering its truly massive hub of an airport. Once you’re there, it’s easy to avoid $10+ per trip Uber and Lyft rides and navigate the city on its $2.50 per trip public transit system, MARTA. For lodging, you can find hotels for less than $150 in the heart of downtown Atlanta, or get a private room at a hostel or an Airbnb for less than $100 a night. And there’s something for everyone there — museums, nightlife, tons of food. You name it, it’s there.
You can also try Philadelphia. Take a train to this more affordable NYC alternative, and stay in a hostel for a few nights. If you’re looking for something a little nicer, it’s easy to find a hotel room for less than $130. While you’re there, take advantage of the BYOB policy at many of its restaurants to keep dining out costs low. And make sure to check out the city’s extensive public art collections.
For a more outdoorsy vibe, it’s Denver all the way. It’s a bit of a drive from the airport, but you could get there by bus to skip the airport altogether. And you can travel around the city on public transit once you’re there. Again, try staying in a hostel and taking advantage of the many, many breweries and free or low-cost museums. And remember, it doesn’t cost anything to get outside and take in the region’s beautiful sights.
If You Need to Get Far, Far Away
Getting across the ocean from the U.S. can be much, much cheaper last minute. Tickets that usually top $1,000 are slashed in half. Right now, you can get a plane ticket to London for about $500, depending on where you’re leaving from. While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s a good enough deal that I’m thinking I should book my own trip when I finish writing this. Even more convincing is thinking about the affordable lodging options in London (did I mention you should try hostels?), and the fact that there’s so much to see in the city that just walking around can keep you busy for a full week. But of course, you shouldn’t miss the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the massive Victoria and Albert Museum. Time to start packing.