Ah, to be young and in love … and broke. I know the feeling.
As a recent college graduate at an entry-level job, I’m not exactly swimming in spare travel funds and my boyfriend is in the same boat. But we still try to take a couple of trips a year, including a trip to Spain next fall if all goes well.
The trade-off is spending a lot of time pinching pennies and doing math in my head. Lots of, “Well, if I skip lunch with my coworkers this whole month, that will be enough for this many dinners on my trip.”
But don’t worry! If you and your significant other need a cheap getaway, it’s totally doable. All it requires is a little determination and creative thinking. Here are some cheap vacation ideas for couples.
Stay Close to Home
If you’re short on cash, you might need to redefine what “vacation” means to you. Sometimes all it takes is a visit to the next town over and a night or two in a hotel to recharge or reconnect. You’ll certainly save on travel costs without the costly plane ticket. Think of it as a way to explore that little town you pass every time you leave your city but never stop in, or the chance to finally take that day trip all your coworkers talk about but you’ve never actually taken the time to do.
If you really want to get away, think about what’s nearby. Do you have to go to Florida or Hawaii for a beach vacation, or will the little coastal town your parents used to take you to work? Do you have to go to New York City, or will a few nights in a nearby city with a bustling downtown area do the trick?
If you have your heart set on really putting miles between yourself and home, keep reading. But if you’re thinking cheap, think nearby!
Often, the best way to save money is to plan things well in advance. You’ll save on lodging and travel costs if you start looking early. This will also give you lots of time to research and compare prices on the biggest expenses. And when it comes to entertainment and food when you get there, you’ll have time to read up on all the best tips, tricks and deals you need to navigate through relatively pain-free.
Get in Tune With Nature
You know what’s way cheaper than a hotel room and dinner at a fancy restaurant? A tent and pre-packaged food. I realize when I phrase it like that, it’s not the MOST appealing vacation idea, but camping can be so fun! Picture it: just you and your significant other stargazing next to a campfire.
If you can’t fully commit to that many hours outside or sleeping on the ground (honestly I’m really not that person either), this advice still holds up. When you get wherever you’re going, spend some time in the great outdoors. City squares, national parks, hiking trails and other natural attractions are usually free and make for incredible memories. You don’t have to spend money to have a great trip.
Maybe the week-long vacation of your dreams isn’t feasible. Consider a weekend trip or one that just lasts a couple of nights. Often, hotels and airlines jack up prices for weekend travel, so maybe you can swing a few weekdays off work to get out of town.
If you’re willing to change your picture-perfect, romantic couples getaway, you can save some money while still getting a great trip out of it.
Some Other Inspiration
If none of this is really working for you, there are some destinations that are cheaper than others but aren’t usually your first thought when you think romance. But maybe they should be.
Try Cuba for a picturesque step back in time (with all the modern luxuries you need, like Wi-Fi), or Albania for beautiful mountain views and sea shores. Travel to popular destinations like Berlin or Tuscany in winter, the off season, to save some money.
And generally, just keep at it. If the timing isn’t right, save up and make it happen. A cheap romantic getaway is within your grasp.