So you’re looking for some ideas to get away for cheap?
You’ve come to the right place. Here are 12 cheap vacation ideas for you, for couples, for families, for anybody!
The 13 Best Inexpensive Vacation Ideas
1. Last Minute Cruises
A cruise isn’t the cheapest vacation idea in the world, but cruises offer some of the biggest last minute discounts you’ll ever come across. This is because the ship incurs a ton of fixed costs that doesn’t get cheaper if cabins are half full. So when it’s down to the last few weeks or days, cruises that have space left can sometimes dramatically reduce prices in an effort to fill space up. Hey, they don’t tell their staff to take the week off if it’s gonna be a “light” week. They work, and will be paid, and they need YOU to be on the ship to cover these costs.
You can book a cruise just about anywhere. I always liked Expedia for booking lots of different types of things. But have a look around and absolutely price shop. Also consider booking directly with the cruise line. For example, if you are last minute cruise shopping and find a good deal for a one week Caribbean cruise with Carnival, go directly to Carnivals website and see if they have it cheaper on their end. Better yet, call Carnival and speak with a booking agent. Sometimes they have promo codes or other types of incentives they can give you when it’s “last minute” time. Let them know you’re looking at a few different cruises for similar or cheaper prices. Whether this is true or not, doesn’t matter. You will give them a lot of incentive to “give you” any discounts they may be keeping from you.
2. Backpack Low Cost Countries
Backpacking is my favourite way to see countries on a small budget. You don’t even need to necessarily visit low cost countries, but it will help keep costs extremely low if you do. For example, a hostel in Thailand can cost anywhere from $5-$15 a night. You can get a room for a family for about that price range t00, depend on where you are in Thailand.
Thailand isn’t the only low cost country to visit in Asia. Nearby Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are even cheaper! But I find Thailand extra friendly to tourists, and they learn English as their second language – which is a big deal when you’re asking a local for directions.
Other fun low budget countries that jump right out of my mind are Turkey, Bali, Nicaragua, and Budapest. These are all amazing countries to visit. You can easily spend a week or more in just the main city of each place. You could go as a family vacation or a couples vacation or a cheap solo travel. And the great thing is, you don’t even need to backpack these types of countries. Accommodations are already on the low end.
You can check out the cost of living index from Numbers. Generally speaking, the lower cost of living, the cheaper the country is to visit. This rule isn’t 100 true all the time. I see Span listed as a “middle cost” country, and while it isn’t a super expensive place to visit, it isn’t cheap either. Definitely not a “budget” place.
3. Go Camping Locally
Camping is one of my all time favorite inexpensive ways to getaway for the weekend. It is also the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks me for cheap family vacation ideas. I’ve gone camping countless times with my family, and I have to say, it’s easily one of the best inexpensive ways to enjoy time away from home. Round up your friends or family and head to a National Park, or Campsite, or anywhere you’re allowed to pitch a tent. Pack some food, beer, guitar, and marshmallows. And then let the stories, singing, and weird sounds at night take over your weekend.
4. Visit Countries During Low Season
Most countries have cycles where they they flooded with tourists and when it’s quieter. Some places like the Islands of Greece get all their traffic during the warmer months. I wouldn’t recommend visiting these types of places because the “allure” of it is beaches, parties, and fun in the sun – all of which are non-existent during winter months.
But vacation destinations like Costa Rica or Thailand have “rainy” season where they get much much less tourists. I don’t know if you want to visit smack dab in the middle of rainy season, since it rains every day, but I’d visit during the shoulder season, where the weather is just transitioning from rainy to summer.
Other cheap vacation spots you can visit is any country during winter time. I think Europe is a pretty cool place to visit during the winter. If you go down south a little more, like vacation spots in south of France, or Italy, you’ll find the weather milder and more bearable. Even Paris during winters aren’t too bad.
The huge benefit of visiting countries during winter is that you’ll see WAAAAY less tourists. Less lines to stand in, especially for major attractions like the Eiffel Tower or The Vatican. Along with that, prices of just about everything is usually cheaper as well. Locals won’t hike up their rates, and street vendors will be in a more forgiving mood when you bargain hard. If you can deal with the cold, a cheap winter vacation for your family or yourself is an amazing way to get away.
5. Book an All-Inclusive To A Sunny Place
One of my favorite things to do is to get away from life for a week and go to a sunny beachside resort for a week. I’m usually invited to these things, whether it’s for a wedding or some friends just wanna party, it’s always a lot of fun. And the BEST part is I can get all the food and drinks I want for under $1000 usually. You can absolutely find all-inclusive vacations for under $1000 to Mexico and surrounding areas. Now, $1000 ain’t chump change, but for a full week of accommodation, drinks, and food, plus your FLIGHT, it’s a damn good deal. And you get to lie on the beach 🙂
6. Get Off The Beaten Path And Visit Small Towns
Visiting big cities like London is great and a must-do. But why not hit up some nearby cities. Small towns and villages have their own special allure, and you’ll usually find cool unique food, clothing, buildings, and people that you will not see in big cities. Besides all this cool stuff, small villages and towns can be significantly cheaper too. Hotels/hostels and transportation within these smaller areas tend to be cheaper than big city money grabs. Generally speaking, when you get away from the touristy places, you’ll find prices tend to reflect what a typical local would pay. And that usually means LOWER PRICES!
You’ll have to plan a little more to learn about these smaller places and work out how to get there and where to stay. But it will probably be worth the effort, especially if you want to see something new and unique on a budget.
7. Travel Longer In The Same Area
The biggest benefit of staying in the same area longer is that it will usually cut transportation costs significantly. For example, train travel in Europe is pretty expensive. Tickets can cost $100+. Imagine jumping from city to city every few days. That’s a lot of extra dollars for train travel. Plus, the wasted time of traveling to your next destination. Instead, stay in Barcelona for a week! I did just that a few years ago, and I got to really submerge myself into what Barcelona is truly like. I ate more unique foods, and got to know the city very intimately. It gave me a richer experience that I wouldn’t have had if I was in a rush to see as many cities as possible.
I think any place that is fairly large or has small towns that area easily reached within a few hours are excellent cheap vacation spots that you can spend a week in.
8. Book A Last Minute Tour
Many Tours pay their driver/tour guide the same amount of money whether the tour bus is full or not. So when it gets really close to the departure date of tours, companies will slash prices in an effort to get as many people as possible to fill space. If you are pretty flexible and don’t need everything planned ahead of time, scan through vacation tours of the destination you want to go to to see what’s available.
9. Book An Early Bird Vacation
If there is a place that you know you will be going to ahead of time, why not book everything early! You can include your flights and hotels in there too. Booking early guarantees your spot and you’ll usually get a better price than when everyone else is booking at the same time. From my experience, booking 6 months in advance is pretty good for finding “early bird” discounts.
10. Pick The Cheapest Flight You Can Find And Go!
If you aren’t picky to where you want to go, you can just pick the a plane ticket to a place where you wouldn’t mind visiting. For example, if you just want to travel somewhere warm with a beach, your options are huge. You could scan cities with dirt cheap flights or vacation packages to sunny places and you’ll save a shit ton of money by taking advantage of last minute discounts – which can be HUGE sometimes. 30% or more. Considering that flights and packages can be $1000+, that’s an incredible amount of money saved.
11. Book A Weekend Getaway To Nearby Destinations
If a few short hours away, you have the mountains or sunny beaches, then why not just got there for a mini vacation away from this thing we call life’s responsibilities? Sometimes we forget we can travel locally, and that in our nearby backyards we have some really really cool fun shit we can enjoy. A small road trip with family and friends is an incredible cheap way to vacation.
12. Home Swapping
If you own a home and don’t mind strangers staying there, you can consider home swapping. If you haven’t heard of home swapping, it is probably what you’re thinking of. You swap your home for the home of someone else. You stay in each other’s home, saving you hotel costs. A popular home swapping network is Home Exchange.
13. Plan A Beach Vacation
If lying on the beach is your thing, or getting away from work and doing nothing is on your to-do list, then a beach vacation is a pretty good inexpensive vacation idea. Actually, it’s a good idea for any reason! Besides (possibly) paying for a spot on the beach, a towel, or a chair, beaches are super inexpensive. It’s super relaxing and you can cheaply vacation with your family and friends. If you have beaches near your home even better! Drive out for the weekend or plan a trip to a low cost Caribbean destination with a good beach.
What did you think of the cheap vacation ideas? If you know of any inexpensive vacation spots, let me know in the comment section below. I’ll add it to my list.