As fun as *stay-cations* are, sometimes we need to get away from our daily surroundings to really relax + take a break from our daily routines. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to zen out + not have to spend a lot of money getting there —
Thailand is a zen paradise — it’s a major hot spot for yoga + meditation retreats, but it’s so much more than that! You can stay in a beach hut + relax in the sun every day, learn about the local culture by visiting ancient temples, ++ bike through the mountains, all for low prices. Thailand is also considered a great place to travel solo — backpacking trip, anyone? ; )
Compared to the rest of Western Europe, Portugal is a lot more affordable for travelers on a budget. For a sweat sesh with a view, hike along the footpaths of the Trilho dos Pescadores to see the gorgeous coastline + be met by more wildlife than people. You can also kayak the Mondego River Valley, visit Portugal’s only national park, Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, for hidden swimming spots + waterfalls, ++ watch the sunset in Marvão.
If you don’t want to leave the country, there are beautiful travel destinations located right inside the US! Sometimes all we need to relax is to be out in nature, + whether you love hiking, white water rafting, biking, horseback riding, exploring, skiing, hanging out on the beach, shopping at farmer’s markets, or relaxing at wineries [at a legal age, of course ; )], the possibilities are endless here. You can drive down highway 101 for a breathtaking view of the Oregon coast, visit Crater Lake, climb Mt. Hood, ++ see the Painted Hills. Besides the amazing scenery + mile-long list of things to do, there’s great food, it’s a major health and wellness hub, the state is one of the greenest in the world [hello, fresh air!] ++ there’s no sales tax — happy shopping!
4] ADIRONDACKS, NY
Another perfect place to get in touch with nature, upstate New York offers cheap camping spots, free hiking trails, ++ gorgeous scenery. You can get your daily cardio in while skiing in the winter or biking in the summer, or simply relax + take in the fresh mountain air. Bonus — if you’re interested in running a marathon, there’s one every year at Lake Placid!
5] YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA
This national park is about 1200 square miles of pure zen. There are waterfalls, mountains, ++ huge trees everywhere. California itself can be a more expensive travel destination, but what makes Yosemite affordable is the abundance of free hiking trails — you can see all the natural beauty Yosemite has to offer without spending much in the park at all. #CHAARGtip: spend even less money by packing your own homemade hiking snacks. : )
When you need to get away for a bit, traveling can seem like an unattainable option because of the cost. However, there are plenty of beautiful + relaxing places you can go to without spending a lot of money. Flights are often the most expensive part of vacations, so staying in hostels, buying local street food, walking instead of renting a car, ++ avoiding tourist-heavy spots are ways you can save a bit more money. Overall, it’s okay to be mindful of costs, but while traveling, try to enjoy the present moment + focus less on prices. Always remember, too, to prioritize safety, even if a safer option might cost a bit more. You may not always have money, but you’ll always have your experiences. : )
++Ashleigh Monaco [ashvm_inchaarg] // University of Iowa