Summer Travel Destinations for Procrastinators
May 12, 2022 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Summer break has arrived (I'm on an academic schedule) and despite my best intentions, the past two months were, for a variety of reasons, not conducive to planning a trip. But I'd really like to go somewhere this summer. What trips could still be planned for June-August?

I would really like to go on a vacation, but preferably one that does not require much planning - I am burned out from work, and so a place where you can pretty much show up with just some housing reservations and a list of things you plan to do/see, would be ideal. I am a pretty resourceful traveler though, and generally don't mind doing things on the fly, and am good with flexible - I generally don't care about specific "trip outcomes" or ticking off boxes when I travel.

More details/requirements:

Pragmatics: The nearest airport is Raleigh-Durham International, but I have family/friends in Baltimore, Philly and NYC, and so should a flight be cheaper at any of those places (including DC), I don't mind having to tack on a visit to one of those cities.

Budget: For two people, sharing lodging, looking for trip ideas, for 7-10 days, that wouldn't be more than $2500. Willing to go slightly over that if needed, though generally I don't mind doing things like preparing some meals myself, or other cost saving methods.

Things we don't care about: quality of hotel rooms - only requirement is that the room be relatively clean with no bugs.

Things we like: hiking in natural beauty, art museums, strolling around interesting cities, beaches, wildlife, food of all sorts. Really, the ideal place I think would be somewhere with a mix of hiking, swimming, great food, and a bit of interesting culture (but this is less important).

Concerns, planning wise: having a hard time getting a rental car, finding budget accommodation options, anything that requires reservations, etc.

Other: Between my partner and I, our relevant languages are English (fluent), Spanish (fluent), French (basic), German (Intermediate), Portuguese (intermediate).

Ideas already but I'm unclear whether it's "too late" to try to plan for this summer:
-Somewhere in Mexico
-Puerto Rico
-Pacific North West

posted by coffeecat to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Google Travel allows you to do fairly flexible searches (e.g., 1 week in July from RDU) and then maps all the places and the prices of flights and optional hotels. Move the map to see other countries.

You could also call a real-live travel agent to give you a few options.
posted by mcgsa at 3:04 PM on May 12

You have a lot of options in Mexico. Almost anywhere there is quite cheap to visit once you arrive. Summer (especially right before school starts up) tends to be the slow season because it's so darn hot. I'm seeing a flight out of DCA and a rental car at Merida in the Yucatan for $1400, you can get a nice place for $100 a night, and local-style food is very cheap. It is hard to spend US$25 per person with drinks at the nicest restaurants in town, more like $5 per person at a normal place. E.g., a local pizza place will sell you two large two-topping pizzas, garlic bread, and a 1.5 L drink for US$11, including tax. The cheapest places with no websites are even less, we had a decent sit down meal with two tacos, rice, and a drink for US2.50. Admittedly that place had a dirt floor and no walls, but the service was, no kidding, excellent. You can get a pound of cooked meat and a literal kilo of hot corn tortillas to go for $7. If you're willing to cook obviously you can economize even more. You might not need the car, though, there is shockingly good bus service to the major areas, especially if you're fluent. There's a bus from Merida to Progreso, which has a beautiful beach, that costs $2.30 roundtrip and runs every hour. Ubers were like US$2 in town. Cenotes, ruins, museums, there is a lot to do.
posted by wnissen at 4:30 PM on May 12

The vineyard will be crowded and expensive this summer, but has " a mix of hiking, swimming, great food, and a bit of interesting culture ". There is a fast ferry from NYC in the summer. I can buy you lunch and might know of a cute Air bee and bee thing. Mefimail me if you want. If you look into this idea avoid July 4th and the last two weeks of August. If you wait until Sept, everything gets more affordable.
posted by vrakatar at 8:14 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Go to Duluth, MN (because it's likely too late to do Isle Royale).

There is AMAZING hiking nearby, plenty of places to stay (or camp out!), and it's not outrageously expensive. Great day trips to the trails, plus canoeing if you feel brave. You could even contact an outfitter in Ely, MN (an hour away), and see about a short trip.

It might not be possible to get a camp site in the BWCA this late, but you should still be able to rent someone's cabin, or stay at one of the places along the North Shore (which means fewer bugs). The state also has cool little cabins to rent:

Goddamn it's beautiful up there in the summer.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:08 AM on May 13

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