Get me OUT of here
August 4, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Help me have an adventure!

Ok, so I have nine days and $1200 bucks to spend. I was trying to get some friends together but couldn't arrange anything, and I kind of just want to go off on my own anyway. I'm 31, female, and just recently came out of a long-term relationship. I'm in a rut, I'm bored, and I'm sick of feeling like this so I want to just GO somewhere- somewhere exciting and different where I'll do crazy things and meet awesome new people. And possibly meet some sort of guy I can have a fling with, but that's not required. So as you can see, my expectations are low :) .

This'll be happening pretty soon- the second to last week of August- so I'm looking for last minute ideas. I'd love to go somewhere exotic, but money is a factor and long travel time will cut into actual vacation time. I'm asking you guys because I'd love to get some ideas that aren't things I'd come up with myself.

Oh, and I did see this thread, but it was really UK-centric and the parameters are different from what I'm looking for. I'm in NYC.

Thanks in advance!
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Get a last minute deal to go on a cruise. VacationsToGo has great deals- we booked our last crusie with them and were very happy with the service. I think you could find a deal for cruise + airfare to departure port for $1200.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


1. People frequently go to Las Vegas when they feel like this. $1200 is a little light, though, given the insanity of air travel prices. Which brings me to...

2. Try driving cross-country, and back. It's not the most social thing that you can necessarily do, but people who have done it frequently find that it's worth the trip. And, you can at least say that you got to actually use all the fuel from your "fuel surcharge".

3. Try New Orleans. If you're of the activist-help-people-out mentality, you might get a lot out of assisting with the volunteer reconstruction effort down there. They certainly still need the help. Or, you can have yourself a damn fine party down that way.

4. Try taking a cruise. There's lots of food, dancing, and activities, often including quite a bit geared toward singles. Some cruise lines (like Carnival, for example) leave right out of the cruise terminal on the West Side. And, you can probably scratch out an inner cabin for under $1000. The only real downside is that they have to be leaving/arriving on your schedule. And, of course, it would suck if you got seasick.

Good luck, and have a great time!
posted by Citrus at 1:02 PM on August 4, 2008

How do you feel about leaving the country? Travelzoo has a ton of great deals.

- Peru - I did something close to this package with a girlfriend and it was fantastic. Peru has awesome food.
- Ireland
- Costa Rica

Or if you want to stay in the states:

- Las Vegas - You can call and add hotel days.
- Hawaii
- Hiking in the Grand Canyon - It will kick your ass if you're out of shape, but after a day of rest you'll feel like a million dollars.
posted by Alison at 1:09 PM on August 4, 2008

A lot of "volunteer-vacations" cost around that. Alternately, get a car, head down south. Drive around the Everglades. Eat and sleep in towns you have never heard of, off highway exits you didn't know existed.
posted by GilloD at 1:12 PM on August 4, 2008

Do Couchsurfing across US from NYC to CA. It's a good chance to meet new people.
posted by WizKid at 1:14 PM on August 4, 2008

I think somewhere in Central America is a good bet. You should be able to find a flight for about half your budget, and the rest should be plenty to travel by bus, stay in cheap hotels, drink the local beer, lie on the beach and eat good food for a week or so.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 1:21 PM on August 4, 2008

My experience: Its not where you go but what you do. Pick an activity that you like or that you've always wanted to do. Lets say, for example, surfing - exercise and sun will fight off depression, you'll get in great shape, and the gender numbers are in your favor. If you play around in the Buzz section of Kayak (a great resource in any case), you'll find that you can get to Costa Rica for about $350.

If you're more the spiritual-meditative type, go for a week of yoga or an ashram, some of them will let you go for cheap or free if you're OK with living in a dorm or washing a few dishes. Odds of a fling not so good though. Or whatever. Writer's colony. Nudist camp. Coding party. Volunteer at archaeological dig or home building (though you usually have to pay to volunteer which I find a little weird). Go to Denver for the convention, rent a car, stay in a motel 100 miles away the first night and hope you'll meet someone who will get you a floor pass and into some good parties and let you sleep on their floor. Or sleep in your car if you have to. But basically, change the question from where should I go to what should I do.

And, of course, ymmv, literally, but I've found long drives to be good for solitary reflection but not getting out of ruts, and cruises... is there an emoticon for shuddering in horror?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:25 PM on August 4, 2008

Burning Man
posted by infinityjinx at 1:33 PM on August 4, 2008

If you can put off your trip to the last week in August, I'm going to second infinityjinx and say Burning Man. It pretty much meets all your criteria.

If that's not your thing, I would agree with RandlePatrickMcMurphy - decide what you want to do and find a cool place to do it in. Do couchsurfing or stay at cool hostels so you'll meet lots of folks.
posted by pombe at 1:37 PM on August 4, 2008

Great question! I've been pondering an adventure myself lately.

As you might guess from my username, I'm a pretty big fan of going on a cruise ... but it actually would NOT be my recommendation for your situation. The problem is that cruises are always sold double-occupancy, so (a) it would be relatively costly unless you have a friend you'd want to travel with, and (b) they're not really great for flings, because people usually travel in pairs, due to the double-occupancy thing. And any cruise longer than a week tends to be mostly retired people.

If you're up for slightly scruffy travel, I find that hostels are a great way to meet people. Green Tortoise, both here in SF and Seattle, is great: good prices, central location, social atmosphere. They have both women-only dorms, and single rooms.

They also have an amazing-sounding bus adventure travel program. I haven't tried it, but now you've got me thinking.... =)

If your travels bring you to San Francisco, feel free to give me a shout. Not sure I can hook you up with any guys, but I'd be happy to show you around.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 1:38 PM on August 4, 2008

Or this. Go learn a foreign language and come back feeling smarter than the guy you broke up with.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:40 PM on August 4, 2008

Nthing couchsurfing, combined with something you want to do in a place you want to do it in. Learn to sail in the Keys, fish in mexico, etc.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:54 PM on August 4, 2008

Tikal! Cheap flight to Cancun, then overland through Belize, or fly TACA on to Flores.
posted by mdonley at 2:21 PM on August 4, 2008

Being 30 myself, I'm going to assume you're over couchsurfing, Greyhounds, and hitchiking, but those are options.

If I had nine days and $1200 bucks, I'd go to some international tourist hippie surf town where I could afford a decent hostel or a cheap hotel and learn to surf. I might look at Zipolite, Mexico for starters.
posted by salvia at 2:50 PM on August 4, 2008

Let me second Burningman.

If you're willing to put up with the dust (and it is really, really dusty) it is the craziest, wildest thing out there. Wondrously amazing, lunatic fringe people building amazing things.

I'll be at 9:00 and gremlin, underneath the biggest, gnarliest parachute thing on the block everyday at sundown.

And yes, there are many menfolk to hook up with. Some with flame throwers, so, be forewarned.
posted by Freen at 2:50 PM on August 4, 2008

Listen to Scott Carrier's story "Just Three Thousand More Miles to the Beach" and then try not to take Citrus' second suggestion.
posted by Jahaza at 3:00 PM on August 4, 2008



Once you're aboard, push yourself to participate in some activities which you'd normally avoid.

Much fun stuff to do on the ship, plus you get to go to cool places.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:13 PM on August 4, 2008

Okay but, I might add, if you DO go the cruise route, DON'T cheap out and go with the Carnival cruise lowest price package. I just got back from one and, among many other slights, they actually didn't have a working pool on the boat for three days out of four. It was like being trapped in a two star hotel for half a week.
posted by rileyray3000 at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2008

I think that Mexico or Central America would be great for your budget especially considering the value of the dollar these days. There are lots of places where you can get hut near a beach and just chill. A lot of these places have fun things that you can try for the first time, land or water-based. I'm doing something similar later in the fall in a town south of Puerta Vallarta...check out some of the little town south of there and you might find something promising. I am flying out of NYC to PV for about $650 plus some local transport, and then food and housing is pretty cheap...all bringing you in under $1200. Feel free to email if you want details about where I'm going.
posted by kenzi23 at 3:28 PM on August 4, 2008


I'm taking notes as I'm in a similar boat -- only i have about $1,000 less than you to spend.

If you play around in the Buzz section of Kayak (a great resource in any case), you'll find that you can get to Costa Rica for about $350.

RandlePatrick, it looks like those are flights out of Washington -- we're in NYC, and Buzz had less attractive flight options...

Sorry, I actually did have advice I swear -- I would also say "road trip." I really was itching for an adventure in 2000, and drove solo to Vegas -- I was deliberately looking for classic American kitsch, so I drove on a two-lane highway the whole way, stopped at tacky roadside attractions, ate in diners, and had a BLAST. I ended up naming my rented car, striking up a conversation with a waitress who wore pink nylon and called me "hon," shuddering at the Precious Moments Chapel, learning how to throw a tomahawk, completely losing my mind after getting lost somewhere in the middle of Kansas and having two chicken waitresses and a trucker sort me out, falling completely in love with a local paper in the midwest somehwere, getting my mind completely blown in a state park in Nevada, nearly getting heatstroke in Utah (I didn't know anything was wrong until I hallucinated 300-foot-tall stone tablets iinscribed with the Ten Commandments somewhere in the middle of the Arches National Park), seeing Sigfried and Roy, and doubling my money in Vegas.

I recommend it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 PM on August 4, 2008

Seconding New Orleans, or any road trip involving a car or better yet a motorcycle.
posted by nola at 7:49 PM on August 4, 2008

Green Tortoise offers not only a hostel, but awesome bus tours of national parks and cities. They are cheap (your budget will cover it easily), fun, you'll meet people (mostly young but not all, about 50% European and 50% American), you'll hike and explore and feel a million miles away.
posted by Miko at 7:53 PM on August 4, 2008

This is the wrong time of year to drive into the Everglades. I'm the only person I know who really really enjoys the Everglades in June-Sept. I just rode 12 miles through Shark Valley 2 weeks ago and I wouldn't recommend it to the out of towner set. The guy I went with got eaten alive (he used some Citronella Bullshit for the first 6 miles of the ride.) but he was a good sport.

Even if you're from someplace with the super huge mosquitoes. Yours might be impressive, but ours are vicious. Also, it's hot down here.

This place is so mosquito-ey that I cover myself in 98.5% DEET (forget the Off Deep Woods Shit if you are there even in the winter. Go with the DEET, apply liberally. It melts plastic, so don't put it on your mouth, or, well, anything plastic!)

As for what you should do, may I suggest something volunteer oriented? Habitat For Humanity is everywhere. Get yourself set up with a group and come home feeling grateful for everything you have, and your ability to give.
posted by bilabial at 8:07 PM on August 4, 2008

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