While it would be amazing to explore the streets of Prague or zipline through Hawaii’s Big Island, most of us can’t afford to travel the world for summer break. Airline tickets are incredible expensive, and the costs that come with trying regional foods, mini excursions, and buying souvenirs can be too much to handle (especially for those of us functioning on a college student’s budget). However, we all deserve to take a break.
For someone who’s got a little money on their hands, but not enough to purchase an extravagant overseas trip, having a road trip with your friends is a good plan. Whether you just stay within your state, travel around the states, or even try to hit the 48 continental U.S. states, it’s a fun trip to make if you feel like you and your friends could spare the money for gas, snacks, and accommodations. You definitely need to be careful with your planning though – keep to a strict budget and a solid schedule, because you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no gas and no money for gas!
Some other tips and tricks are to go into road tripping with a theme. Are you trying to hit all the major national parks west of the Mississippi, or try every BBQ joint in Tennessee? How about only stopping at places that would make a cool profile picture, or at every single presidential museum in the U.S.? It’s easiest to plan when you know what you’re going for.
If you live in the suburbs of a major area, and are a little more cash-strapped, then you can plan big “trips” every few weeks into the city. Spend a day playing tourist in your own corner of the world – it might be cheesy to ride the huge duck boats you see cruising down the streets of San Francisco or to pose in Times Square for a selfie, but it can be fun in small doses. It gives you a lot of insight into why people think that your city is on their bucket list of places to explore.
Many of these cities also have ethnic neighborhoods filled with good eats, small mom-and-pop shops, and rich culture. I definitely encourage you to explore and learn more about how they came to be, but be conscious of being open-minded. Be respectful, as those neighborhoods are a community’s collective home, and understand that sometimes, you will be viewed as an intruder, not a citizen.
Sometimes, it might just be cool to try and play tourist for a day in your own hometown. If you can’t walk or drive the distance, public transportation is normally pretty cheap (and in some areas, student prices are available). You can try to check out the haunted house you’ve been too scared to go into without your friends, or go on Google Maps and try to pinpoint places that you’ve never been to before. This is especially fun if you’re taking care of younger kids and need to entertain them somehow.
Ultimately, you still have a lot of options if you can’t afford to go on a cruise to Alaska this summer. It just takes a little imagination!
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