Top 10 summer vacation ideas for the broke college student

Classes will soon be out, and you want to enjoy your break, right? It’s the perfect time for a little summer vacation. But you are a broke college student, so if you’re going to hit the road, it has to be on the cheap.

Read on for some top destinations that will save money while allowing you to feel like you are living large.

Top picks for summer vacation

1. Cruise

Credit: The Cruise Web

Credit: The Cruise Web

Jennifer Lindstrom suggested looking into Carnival Dream in her post, “Dreaming of Summer Vacation: Top 10 Destinations for College Students,” for hercampus.com April 17, 2012. She said the cruise line “provides concerts from popular bands, night clubs, lounges, bars and a fitness center. This cruise line offers great cruise stops in Cancun or Montego Bay which are known to be college student hot spots.”

2. Panama City, Florida

Credit: Wyndham Trips

Credit: Wyndham Trips

Panama City is known as a fun, affordable spring break destination. So why not go during summer vacation? Be sure to book early to get the best deals!

3. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Credit: Niagara Falls State Park

Credit: Niagara Falls State Park

A Niagara Falls summer vacation is a great idea for the cash strapped college student. Why? Because there are many cheap hotels in the area and many popular attractions are within walking distance.

4. Costa Rica

Credit: Monteverde Info

Credit: Monteverde Info

Want to take a more adventurous trip? Costa Rica will fulfill that need. Whether you are interested in the crystal clear water beaches, hiking or even bungee jumping, there are so many activities to choose from. Do your homework and you will find affordable deals on this summer vacation.

5. Amsterdam

Credit: HG2 Amsterdam

Credit: HG2 Amsterdam

The city is popular for its “anything goes” reputation, but there are also some serious cultural attractions to enjoy. The best time to visit is August and airfares typically are reasonable.

6. Florence

Credit: Huffington Post

Credit: Huffington Post

It may cost you a bit more to fly here, but once you arrive, you can find reasonable hotel rates and food prices to help you save money. June is the go-to time to say arrivederci to the States.

7. The Whole Enchilada

Credit: Flyerizer

Credit: Flyerizer

Want to explore more than one of Europe’s top destinations? The only way to afford that will probably be to backpack. Trains and hostels are about to become your new best friends.

8. Consider camping

Credit: Healthy U

Credit: Healthy U

Odds are someone you know, maybe even mom and dad, has a tent. Find a friend or two, load up on beef jerky and discover the great outdoors this summer. This is an especially good plan for anyone in the center of the country, where oceans are hard to come by.

9. Visit your local amusement park

Credit: Sarah Hope Linnemann

Credit: Sarah Hope Linnemann

Usually there is a world of roller coasters within a day’s drive—if that sort of adventure appeals to you. Carpool, share a hotel room if you are staying overnight and you will have a fun time, while you save money.

10. Take a road trip

Credit: Travel on a dime guru

Credit: Travel on a dime guru

Last, but certainly not least, you can opt for the classic road trip. It was good enough for Kerouac and his pals, so why not for you? Pick a destination, or simply choose a highway to explore and see what the road offers you. Fill the car with friends who can all chip in on gas and lodgings, or combine this idea with camping to save even more money.

Have you got any tips for how to save money on a summer vacation? Let us know in the comments.

3 replies
  1. ellie says:

    aside from camping and the local amusement park idea, none of these activities are the least bit cheap. They may be less expensive than going to Bora Bora but that doesn’t say much.

    Reply
    • Ari says:

      I agree Ellie. How are these places cheap? Its nice that they are cheap for someone out there…but they are not cheap for me.

      Reply
  2. Annie says:

    Another way to go on vacation without breaking the bank is going with a church group. Many churches will shoulder some or all of the costs of lodging and activities. That’s how I got to spend six days on Tybee Island for just $125 total.

    Reply

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