The Starving Student
Twenty-somethings can squeeze maximum adventure
out of a minimal budget
By Brent Stoller
Riu Hotels & Resorts
Feel like island-hopping in Thailand or hitting the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles? What about snapping a selfie with the Buckingham Palace guards? Book a Contiki expedition and these experiences can be yours for an affordable price.
This escorted tour company, specializing in guests ages 18 to 35 who wish to see the world alongside like-minded travelers, offers a selection of trips to Greece, New Zealand and more for less than $1,000 per person. They provide an insider's look at each destination, including authentic meals and accommodations in the heart of your favorite cities. And, while activities pack the daily schedule, there's also free time to explore on your own or hang out with new friends.
Some sample deals at press time: "Austria Ski Plus" nine days in the Alps from $795; "Morocco" five days of cultural exploration in northern Africa from $775; and "St. Patrick's Day" a four-day celebration in Dublin from $565. All prices are per person and don't include airfare.
The all-inclusive route
When traveling on a budget, the fewer the variables, the better. Knowing the final cost beforehand helps you determine the vacation's viability -- and helps you persuade your friends it's within their financial reach, too.
Enter the all-inclusive resort, which bundles room, food, drinks and on-site entertainment into one upfront fee. Located in vacation hot spots throughout Mexico and the Caribbean -- with a few options in the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Brazil as well -- these properties are great for spring break, summer trips or getaways between semesters. Guests can be as active as they want to be, thanks to poolside lounge areas and beachfronts that boast complimentary water sports. Restaurants of varying cuisines please the palate, while live music and other nightly entertainment provide the good vibes required of a tropical vacation.
Sail the open seas
With coast-to-coast departure ports, taking a cruise is an unbeatable vacation option for those minding their pennies. Look to Carnival Cruise Lines for three- to six-night sailings with per-person prices under $500.
These floating cities deliver comfortable accommodations, barbecue and burgers, cozy pubs and an array of activities that keep the party going. Relax by the pool or tear down a water slide, then challenge your friends to a mini-golf match. Once the sun sets, heat up the nightclub's dance floor or lead a sing-along in the piano bar. Feel like splurging? Sign up for a shore excursion, such as parasailing over the Bahamas.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2015. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 680-2858 for current rates and details.