Help me plan out a fun graduation present vacation for my gf and I!
May 12, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend is about to graduate undergrad this coming July. We want to take a vacation and live in New Jersey. Budget is about 2500-3000. Doable? Suggestions??

I haven't been on a vacation in about 8 years, like a true go enjoy yourself vacation. (Not counting spring break visiting my parents in Florida for free lol) My gf hasn't since she was 18 either. (I'm 28 she's 25)

This July she's graduating undergrad and we both want to go take a trip to celebrate and relax. it would be in August from the 9th to the 15th. We both live in Central New Jersey for location reference.

I was considering a cruise, something like Norwegian to Bermuda. I've done this before and it was a ton of fun with family. Total cruise package (not including shore excursions etc) would be just over $3k. I just looked for fun I don't think I'm really going to pick that.

What are some other really great trips we could take as a couple that won't break the bank but would be really fun? (I was thinking Amish Country in PA, maybe Martha's Vineyard, perhaps a drive up to Montreal as we've both never been to Canada) We haven't really taken a trip anywhere together except my college for a game (2-day trip, Upstate NY) and that was with 2 friends so it wasn't really alone.
posted by PetiePal to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Washington, DC! Seriously, this city is gorgeous in the spring and early summer. Take in the nightlife, hike through Rock Creek Park (bigger than NYC's central park, and more heavily wooded besides!) rent kayaks and picnic on Roosevelt Island - the list goes on and on and on.

If you get bored with the city proper, rent a car and head out to wine country! Both Maryland and Virginia have thriving wine industries. In fact, a fun trip might be a week or so in DC, then a few days at a B and B in Charlottesville, VA - the heart of VA's wine country, and a fun little city in its own right.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 12:48 PM on May 12, 2010

Aruba is fun, close, and not too pricey. Plus it really feels like a vacation, whereas going to other US cities might not be different enough.
Other good options: New Mexico or Northern California.
posted by rmless at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2010

Just throwing out ideas:
Montreal QC
Cape Cod MA
Northampton MA
The Yucatan, Mexico
Ashville NC
posted by The Michael The at 1:36 PM on May 12, 2010

From New Jersey, several parts of the Caribbean are very affordable to fly to. My wife and I are also in central Jersey (Middletown) and have traveled to the Bahamas a few times. We've stayed three times at the "Paradise Island Harbour Resort All Inclusive" which is a total basic hotel on Paradise Island (Nassau) with decent food and all inclusive drinks. There's a great beach 10 minutes away and it's been a great getaway for my wife and I. Looking at that week, flight + hotel for Mon -> Fri looks to run around $750/pp on Expedia. But take a look around at other islands as well, there are usually some great deals out of Newark.

We have also taken several cruises, so I'd highly recommend that as well!
posted by tommccabe at 2:24 PM on May 12, 2010

And also note that if you are looking at prices on Expedia or something, be open to flying out of JFK or even LGA. I don't know exactly where you are in NJ but for me, the ride to JFK is only an hour if there is no traffic but it can be worth it to save money on airline tickets.
posted by tommccabe at 2:26 PM on May 12, 2010

Just jumping in about the cruise. We're from NJ too and a bunch of cruises leave from Bayonne. We're taking one in July that goes from NJ to Bermuda to Bahamas and back to NJ. Royal Caribbean. No plane tickets needed!
Also I always was under the impression that Vegas was a relatively cheap trip but I could be wrong.
posted by Busmick at 2:49 PM on May 12, 2010

Puerto Rico is close, cheap, and awesome! It is very much like a trip to Aruba. Check out Vieques or Culebra for something similar but quieter. Another idea would be to find a room to rent in Europe through Craig's list for a week or two. I've done both of these things and they were great vacations!
posted by xammerboy at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2010

Check out I'm trying to plan a vacation for the end of August/beginning of September to Costa Rica and they found some stuff cheaper than I've been finding it so maybe it can help you. That said, I really want to go to Montreal too. It's supposed to be great and summer would be a wonderful time. It sounds like you're not exactly sure what you want in a vacation so simply deciding fly or drive? beach? mountains? city? will help you narrow things down.
posted by kat518 at 5:19 PM on May 12, 2010

I recently priced a trip to Ireland on through their vacation sections. 6 nights, seven days, including car and hotel -- $3500. You can do it cheaper for fewer nights, you can do it cheaper with less nice hotels, or with a car with no air conditioning.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:24 PM on May 12, 2010

Check out Travelzoo or whatever it's called. They have amazing deals every week. Full disclosure: I shorted this stock years ago (and made some money!) But I still think it is a worthwhile, and free, service.
posted by mrhappy at 5:50 PM on May 12, 2010

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