How to Budget for Cheap Weekend Getaways

September 20, 2022

Sometimes a long vacation far away can actually be more exhausting than relaxing. That's why a cheap weekend getaway on a budget can actually be more rejuvenating.

Longer vacations can also cost a lot of money compared to a smaller weekend getaway. Because it’s just for one weekend, you usually don’t have to take any time off of work either. All of this makes cheap weekend getaways the best solution for preventing burnout and getting the rest and relaxation you deserve. 

How to Plan a Weekend Vacation on a Budget

The key to planning a successful weekend vacation on a budget is to plan your trip activities and finances well. Making an airtight vacation budget will help you get the fun and rest you need while keeping your wallet from suffering. In the meantime, if you’re in desperate need of a weekend vacation and you don’t have the funds you need right now, you can take out a small loan.

When making your cheap weekend getaway budget you’ll need to consider all the elements of your trip like transportation costs, lodging, food, and entertainment. 

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First, figure out where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Maybe you want a beach vacation with water sports and white sand beaches, or maybe you want to visit the local hall of fame or museums. You could even just go to a nearby city, spend a day on a nice golf course, and spend the evening listening to lively music downtown.

Once you know where you’re going you need to figure out how you’ll get there. Some transportation options are cheaper than others. Some transportation options are also faster and more comfortable than others. Weigh the pros and cons along with the costs and what you have to spend.

Cars lined up in a row


Second, figure out your lodging situation. Whether you stay at a bed and breakfast or at a campground, there are many ways to save on lodging. Research your options alongside their prices to snag the best deals. Don’t forget to also keep in mind if you need lodgings that are family friendly, kid friendly, or pet friendly. 

Save money by booking cheaper lodging at Airbnbs, hostels, or campgrounds. If you go on trips very often, then investing in a trailer or some quality camping gear can save you money in the long term as well. Many hotels also have memberships you can sign up for to accumulate points toward free stays. 


Eating out can easily become the most expensive part of a vacation. Save tons of money on food by packing your own meals and snacks. No matter where you end up staying you can always bring your own food. If you're going camping you can pack food bags and coolers full of nonperishable foods. If you're going to a hotel or Airbnb you can find one with a kitchenette so you can make your own meals instead of spending tons of money eating out.


Create a vacation schedule for yourself so you know what activities you’ll be spending money on once you’re at your vacation destination. By creating a schedule for entertainment ahead of time, you'll know how you're spending your weekend and how much each activity will cost. That way you can avoid feeling bad about how much your vacation fun cost because they were a part of your budget.

People at a concert

Budget Travel Tips for Weekend Getaways

The more days you stay away the more your trip will cost. This is why weekend trips are so great! You can vacation without breaking the bank simply by leaving for fewer days.

According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily cost of a vacation for just one person comes to about $224. This means that a 2-day vacation would cost $448, a 3-day vacation would cost $672, and a longer 4-day vacation would cost $896. But you can save even more on a weekend getaway by cutting areas of your budget and making smart, money-saving choices.

  • Book off-season trips
  • Book your trip well in advance 
  • Start a hotel points membership 
  • Split the costs between fellow travelers 
  • Pack light to avoid paying for extra bags of luggage 
  • Put your vacation spending on a prepaid debit card

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Budget Template
Download a Weekend Getaway Budget.

Ideas for Cheap Weekend Trips

Whether you live on the west coast, the east coast, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of attractions near you to visit without spending lots of money. Invest in the items that will save you money traveling in the long run, like tents and sleeping bags. And choose a trip that’s right for your vacation needs. 

Weekend Getaways for Couples

A good weekend getaway for couples needs 2 things—romance and relaxation. Look for places where you and your partner can connect on a deeper level and spend some quality time together, just the 2 of you. The natural beauty of national parks and the fun of local big cities are 2 great ideas for weekend getaways for couples. 

  • Dunedin, Florida
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • San Antonio
  • Glacier National Park: Montana
  • Olympic National Park, Washington
couple sitting on a beach in the sunset

Weekend Getaways With Kids

Vacationing with the kids requires lots of fun things to do while keeping all the kids safe. Parks and resorts that have lots of activities like theme parks and water parks are great choices for vacations with kids. There are major theme parks in almost every state, but often there are fun parks to visit with kids close to home as well. 

  • Hershey Park, Pennsylvania 
  • Walt Disney World, Florida 
  • Walt Disney Land, California 
  • Dollywood, Tennessee
  • Six Flags, New Jersey
  • Silver Dollar City, Missouri
Disneyland Castle

Family Weekend Getaways

No matter the size or age range of your family, a family vacation needs comfort and stability so the whole family can have a good time and get along. Theme parks are also a great route to go, but older families can also enjoy many local national parks as well. 

  • Stowe, Vermont
  • Watkins Glen, Pennsylvania 
  • Washington DC
  • Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  • Zion National Park, Utah
  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
Zion's national park

Girls Weekend Getaway

When you’re taking a trip with the girls, you want to be able to have lots of fun and make memories with your friends. Visiting a major city is a great choice so you’ll have lots to do and lots of memories to make. 

  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana 
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
Girls laughing in a car trip

Weekend Beach Getaways

The beach is a classic choice for a vacation. Many beaches are also free to visit, making it an affordable way to have lots of fun and get a great summer tan. There are all kinds of great weekend beach getaway options all along the coasts of the US. 

  • Key West, Florida 
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Big Pine Key, Florida
  • Laguna, California 
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina 
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon 
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Cape May, New Jersey 
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Last Minute Weekend Getaways

If you need to get away at the last minute, going into town is a great way to find some fun and relaxation near you without needing to plan too far ahead. Find the nearest city and see what they have going on this weekend. 

  • New York City, New York
  • Los Angeles, California 
  • Chicago, Illinois 
  • Houston, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona 
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
  • San Diego, California
Los Angeles, California