Can you help us find the anti-Seattle?
March 28, 2012 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Say you have 5 days, $1000 for flight+hotel (+maybe car rental) and you want to get out of rainy Seattle to somewhere warm and relaxing. Where do you go?

We (my girlfriend and I) find ourselves with the unexpected luxury of 5 days off (3/30-4/3) and an intense desire to escape rainy, cold Seattle. Simply put, we are both in very bad need of a vacation. We are looking for some trip ideas to warm, hopefully sunny locales where we can relax and recharge a bit.

We have approximately $1000 (we could go *maybe* $1100-1200 if the destination was especially spectacular and/or accommodations were a bit fancier) for flight + hotel. We'd also like the option of being able to rent a car within that price range if the destination requires it but that just depends on the destination.

What we'd like to do: relax, get some sun, walk/drive around, explore local sites and landmarks, and eat some tasty food. We're not big outdoorsy people, but we enjoy the beauty of nature and love to walk.

Vegas is the obvious choice here and we've checked it out on Expedia a bit (the flight+hotel+car packages) and there are some options in that price range. Neither of us are completely sold on going to Vegas (we've both been before) but it remains an option I suppose. Ideally, I think we'd really like to visit a new place that's outside of our Northwest comfort zone and can offer a new experience.

Do you have any trip ideas? Is this a pipe dream to think we can find such a trip given this short timeframe and budget? Hopefully not, but we'd love to hear any and all of your thoughts, advice, recommendations, etc. Thanks Mefites!
posted by karizma to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How about Arizona? Stay at a resort. Take a day trip to Sedona (or Grand Canyon) and do some walking/hiking.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:53 PM on March 28, 2012

Grand Canyon (for the more outdoorsy trip) or Austin, TX (for the more cultural trip).
posted by DoubleLune at 6:56 PM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: Just a note: I appreciate the suggestions (keep 'em coming!) but I'd like to be sure that they meet the budget requirements too. If you have specific package ideas, that would be welcome too! Thanks.
posted by karizma at 6:59 PM on March 28, 2012

Fly to Vegas and drive to Death Valley and do some gentle hiking there? Truly one of the more spectacular places I have ever been. I stayed in the Amergosa Opera House, which was an absolute trip and very cheap. But don't stay there if you need to be connected.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:25 PM on March 28, 2012

What about a last minute cruise? Other AskMes have identified websites that offer last minute packages and I think you could do it for your budget if you weren't too picky about the destination. Mexico, perhaps?.
posted by carmicha at 7:27 PM on March 28, 2012

Kayak has a neat widget that lets you put in your point of origin and month of travel and see how much it will cost to fly to various destinations.

On such short notice, it looks like it will be hard to fly somewhere predictably warm and sunny and still leave a reasonable amount of money for a hotel. If I were you I would probably just drive east on 90 until the rain stopped, and set up there for a few days!
posted by apparently at 7:56 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you saying $1000 for you as a couple? Or $1000 each?
posted by barnone at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2012

Come on down to San Diego! It's not super hot here or anything, but the forecast is for sun and 70s (might even hit 80s inland) for the foreseeable future. I know there's several Motel 6s near my office in Carlsbad all running in the $50-70 range (I'd go to the one at Poinsettia Lane and Avenida Encinas, or the La Quinta or one of the others on the same block, if you're looking at Carlsbad, as they're closest to the beach and still close to the Flower Fields and Legoland and the train station), though Carlsbad is hardly hoppin' and you can probably find something in your range much more in town or at least in more fun parts of North County.

You can sightsee for days for no more than the cost of gas and maybe parking, fill your cold souls with cheap amazing Mexican food (plus pretty much every other kind of food), and not even have to deal with another time zone. You could even overnight out to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree (or Julian or Temecula if you like wine). I think this time of year is about as low as our season gets, so there are probably deals to be had, and look around for specials for things like the zoo.

I can think of four basically-free half-day wanders you could do off the top of my head (La Jolla Cove, Coronado Island, Point Loma, downtown by the USS Midway [afternoon/sunset/then into Little Italy for dinner]), but there's far more than that. You'll want hats and sunscreen and jackets.

I think Virgin has direct flights from Seattle and are constantly sending me email specials, but you should also check Southwest.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:09 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Suggestions for your timeframe and budget, in no order of preference. Investigate:

1) Vegas - there are non-cheesy places, and tons of amazing hikes in the vicinity
2) Los Angeles - boardwalks, amazing food, fun shopping, beach, sun
3) Palm Springs (drive out to Joshua Tree for the day or spend the night)
4) Santa Cruz - beachy, surf, good food, nice little walks
5) Sonoma AZ area - gorgeous, very different, nice time of year
6) Austin! - fun! good food! easy environment! cool to see in this weather!
posted by barnone at 8:11 PM on March 28, 2012

This site lets you see vacation package specials listed by city of origin. I don't see much exciting for under $1k/combined other than Vegas, but if you meant $1k per person, there are a lot of nice options.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:14 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've heard great things from thrifty hostel-friends about this place in Cancun. Less touristy places are just a $12 bus ride away.
posted by Giggilituffin at 9:50 PM on March 28, 2012

Fly to Vegas and drive to Death Valley and do some gentle hiking there?

Not to be a killjoy, but I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to drive rentals through Death Valley. So... somewhere else then.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:01 AM on March 29, 2012

posted by banshee at 8:23 AM on March 29, 2012

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