You don’t need heaps of disposable income to enjoy a vacation away from home. With careful budgeting, you can plan a self-care vacation that’s good for your mental health and easy on your wallet. The trick to an affordable vacation is to determine your budget, travel domestically, search for discounts and deals, and choose destinations with plenty of free things to do.
The key is to figure out what helps to energize you and look for events and accommodations that are within your financial reach. Here are four self-care getaways that won’t break the bank.
New York City, New York
New York City is the place to go for a high-energy getaway.
How to get there
As a major travel hub, New York City is easy to reach by air. Residents in nearby states can also take an Amtrak or commuter train into the city.
What to do in NYC
The hustle and bustle of the Big Apple can be just what you need to do some self-care while keeping the excitement going. NYC has a surprising amount of free things to do. Exploring Central Park, riding the Staten Island Ferry, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and touring landmarks like the New York Public Library and Federal Reserve Bank of New York won’t cost a penny. Many museums also have free admission days.
Even when things cost money, you can usually find a deal. The CityPASS program offers discounts to popular attractions like the Empire State Building and Guggenheim Museum. Dying to see a Broadway show?
Same-day at TKTS Discount Booths is the best way to get deeply-discounted theater tickets. Wondering where to find Yankees tickets for cheap? You’ll have the best luck using an online marketplace to filter by seat rating and check in-seat views before you buy.
If exploring the outdoors is your idea of fun, Boulder is the destination for you.
How to get there
Boulder is a short drive from Denver International Airport. Rent a car and check your memberships to Costco, AAA, and other organizations for discounts on brands like Hertz, Budget, and Avis.
What to do in Boulder
There’s nothing like nature to help with self-care! Boulder’s main attraction is the 300 miles of hiking and biking trails that weave through the area. Plan a weekend of hiking or sign up for a free program led by naturalists with Boulder’s Open Space & Mountain Parks.
Looking for something more adventurous? Bring your mountain bike to hit the trails at Valmont Bike Park or go rock climbing at nearby Eldorado Canyon.
After tiring yourself out, grab a drink at one of Boulder’s many breweries. Historic Pearl Street is full of window shopping, galleries, and fun spots to eat and drink. Arts and culture fans will love catching a theater performance from CU Presents.
Seniors, active military, and students are eligible for discounts. If you buy the night of the show, you’ll avoid service fees.
Charleston, South Carolina
This easy-going Southern city is full of charm and history.
How to get there
Visitors fly into Charleston International Airport. You can usually find tickets under $200 from major cities like Chicago, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Visitors can also access Charleston up and down the eastern seaboard, as the city is not too far from Interstate 95.
What to do in Charleston
Charleston is a history buff’s playground. Not only is the city home to dozens of Antebellum attractions, but you can also tour many of them for free or at a low cost. This includes the Charles Pinckney Historic Site, Fort Moultrie, Magnolia Cemetery, and the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site. Visitors also have the option to purchase a tour pass to save money on Charleston’s top attractions.
No self-care South Carolina vacation is complete without a trip to the beach. Charleston’s public beaches include Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, and Isle of Palms. If you want to indulge in Charleston’s world-class food scene after a day on the water, visit during Charleston Restaurant Week for prix fixe menus starting at $20.
Joshua Tree, California
Striking landscapes and solitude await you in Joshua Tree National Park.
How to get there
Joshua Tree is one of the most accessible national parks. It is located less than an hour from Palm Springs International Airport and under three hours from San Diego and Los Angeles.
What to do in Joshua Tree
Here’s a nature-lover’s self-care paradise! Joshua Tree National Park is the main attraction with trails and vistas ideal for hiking, photography, bird watching, and appreciating the unusual vegetation and rock formations.
Camping in one of the park’s campgrounds is the cheapest way to stay in Joshua Tree during the cooler months. But beware that some campgrounds are first-come, first-serve. If you’re visiting in summer or prefer more amenity-rich accommodations, you’ll find several budget and mid-range hotels in the area.
Joshua Tree National Park charges a $30.00 entrance fee per vehicle. Admission is valid for one week. To save money on admission, visit the park on an annual fee-free day which includes Martin Luther King Day, Veterans Day, National Public Lands Day, and the first day of National Park Week.
Final Thoughts on Self-Care Vacations
A vacation is a great way to get the R&R you desperately need. But you can’t kick back if you’re worried about your budget. When you’re out of debt, you can do these types of vacations more easily and not put so much pressure on your family finances.
Use these travel tips and ideas to plan an affordable self-care getaway. When you plan to save, you can rest easy on your next vacation.
This article was written by Lacie Martin from RaiseThemWell.org.