While summer is quickly winding down, that doesn’t mean it’s over just yet. So what better way to celebrate the final days of the season than with a girls’ trip? But wait, who has the time to take off of work or the excess money for flights, hotels, and good food? Luckily, planning a vacay doesn’t have to rob you of your precious vacation days or leave your wallet empty. That’s where finding affordable weekend getaways comes into play.
There are tons of destinations that are a short road trip or flight away, and once you arrive, you’ll have ALL the activities and amenities at your fingertips. HelloGiggles asked travel experts to share must-visit locations for women who want a vacation but also need to watch those coins. You may have been to some of these hot spots, and others might surprise you (Vermont in the summertime?). But they’re all high on the list when it comes to fun, making memories, and keeping your budget in check.
While traveling to locations during the “off-season” may not seem fun, that’s just not true and it can even come with added perks. “Scottsdale is a hidden gem in the off-season,” said Nancy A. Shenker of Bleisure Living. “Because it’s pretty hot in the summer, all the four-star resorts offer great deals on lodging, spa treatments, and activities.” That’s a win for your wallet and your well-being.
Chi-town is known for its battering wind, but the summers are a beauty. “With its iconic architecture, happening food scene, and the beautiful backdrop and beaches of Lake Michigan, Chicago is an easy favorite,” said Undercover Tourist CEO and founder Ian Ford. Also, the city has a great public transit system, so no need need to worry about renting a car or parking. You can save those coins and instead spend them on a good deep-dish pizza.
3Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Miami tends to get a lot of love, but traveling musician and blogger Alissa Musto said we shouldn’t forget about another Florida city: Fort Lauderdale. “I’ve flown to Fort Lauderdale for $100 round trip,” she said. In addition to sandy beaches, you can’t miss attractions like the Instagram-worthy Bonnet House Museum & Gardens or the Everglades; Musto suggested checking Groupon for tour deals.
Vermont in the summer? Hear us out. Since it’s not ski season, that means you can save cash without sacrificing fun. Travel and lifestyle journalist Lindsay Tigar specifically suggested Stowe as an affordable weekend getaway destination. “In the warmer months, it turns into the perfect place for a quick summer getaway. You’ll often find discounted prices on hotels and activities, like biking, horse-back riding, canoeing, golfing, hiking, and even zip lines.” Also, for a sweet treat, the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury is less than an hour away.
5Mexico City, Mexico
Who says you can’t take a jaunt to Mexico for a long weekend? And even better, the lodging is wallet-friendly, said Andi Eaton of Oui We and author of Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian’s Guide to Traveling in Style. “The Airbnb options in Mexico City are extensive. My recommendation is to choose a neighborhood you’re interested in based on your activities and then dive in to pick the perfect place to stay,” Eaton advised. And she clearly knows of what she speaks: she recently booked a luxury apartment in Mexico City for less than $100 per night.
6San Juan, Puerto Rico
Another Caribbean trip, but this one doesn’t require a U.S. passport. Consider spending your dollars in Puerto Rico, especially as the island continues to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. “San Juan is more than ready to receive visitors. Accommodation deals are quite easy to come by, and with flights from major East Coast cities averaging only $200-$300 round trip, a quick, sunny getaway to PR is a no-brainer,” said Michelle Halpern of Live Like It’s the Weekend.
7Take a cruise (various locations)
Finally, staying on land doesn’t have to be your only option. Ever considered a short cruise? “With cruises, the price you pay will include your room, food, and entertainment on the ship, so you are getting a lot for your money. It’s one of the most affordable ways to have a quick getaway,” said Cruzely founder Tanner Callais. While you’ll find many options departing Florida, cruise ports are also in New York, New Orleans, Galveston, Long Beach, and more. “It’s not unusual to find trips under $300 per person for three or four-night cruises,” Callais said.