The After Life: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted: 5 Summer Getaways

Even though I don’t technically get a summer vacation anymore (major bummer of grown-up life), there’s still something about those hazy days from June to August that beckons me. Ice cream trucks frequent every city corner, buildings glisten in the midday heat, and me? Well, I’m trying to figure out how to make the best use of my precious few vacation days.

Summer getaways may feel like a luxury you have to forgo, but squeezing in some fun in the sun can be part of your budget! Read on for a few vacation ideas that are fabulous and (relatively) frugal.

**5 Vacation Ideas for the SKC Twentysomething**

I’m on a boat! Not just for the alcohol-saturated college spring breaker (although that’s an entirely valid option), cruises can be a great way to take an all-inclusive trip and cap your spending. Cruise passage includes your stateroom, meals in the ship’s main dining rooms and buffets, many onboard activities, and nonalcoholic beverages. Plus, voyages leave out of most coastal cities, so carpool to the port and split long-term parking. If you opt for the least expensive excursions and limit your alcohol intake, you may not have to spend much more than the price of your ticket—a flat rate you can plan for in advance. Bon voyage!

Take in the boardwalk. Beachfront activities are both picturesque and entertaining (no fist pumping, please). Get your heart rate up during your getaway by riding bikes along the boards, or simply set a stroll goal. Both coasts offer theme park options on their board walks—westerners, check out the package deals offered in Santa Cruz, while we over in the East can find weekly specials in New Jersey and discounted and free events in Maryland as part of the Summer of Thanks!

Sip in the sunshine. Beer, wine, and liquor tastings are an affordable way to learn more about your tastes in alcohol and feel darn swanky doing it. Tastings in Sonoma and Napa Valley might be out of your price range, but give thought to wine regions that are off the beaten path. The Finger Lakes wine country in upstate New York offers events and packages year-round (don’t rule out an offseason vacation for even more savings!). And don’t worry if you’re not a coast-dweller—did you know there are wineries in South Dakota?? Or, attend Beer School at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis!

Click away. Don’t underestimate the power of sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for deals and discounts on otherwise exorbitant vacation spots! You have to be a dedicated scourer, but you could snag a stay at a resort you’ve been admiring. Just make sure you read the fine print—a lot of those deals specify certain dates you must or cannot stay, and you’ll still have to cover your transportation to the resort site.

Rough it. Camping fees in state parks like Yosemite National Park, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are often nominal, and some weekends are even fee-free! Make sure to check if you need a reservation or permit to stay overnight.

Tara Powers is a Villanova graduate mourning the loss of three obligation-free months. She now works in publishing in New York City, makes the most of her 10 yearly vacation days, and blogs at Chip Chip Hooray in her spare time.

Originally posted on Monday, May 14th, 2012

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