By Claire Trageser
June 26, 2019

It's summer, the season that demands a getaway (or three). If you're looking to get out of town, but don't want to spend a bundle, here are a few destinations — along with flight and hotel recommendations — you should book right now.

Maui, Hawaii.
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Hawaii

Southwest Airlines has started rolling out flights to Hawaii, and the new competition on the routes has driven fares down across several airlines. Southwest started its flights in March, and currently flies to Oahu, Maui and Kona, all out of Oakland. That may mean a two-stop flight, but it can get you big savings in the airfare department. (Or you can search from your home airport on Google Flights to get a sense of prices on other airlines.)

Once you’re in Hawaii, there are ways to stay and enjoy yourself on a budget. Try shopping at grocery stores and farmers' markets instead of eating out for every meal, only rent a car for the days you really need to go visit another part of the island, or if you’re staying in Oahu, you can take the bus.

You can hike and enjoy the beaches for free on the island, and get cheap snorkel gear at rental shops. Also check out the local newspapers for listing of free events, instead of spending money on expensive luaus.

The Polynesian Hostel Beach Club, in Honolulu.
Megan Costello/Courtesy of Polynesian Hostel Beach Club

For accommodations, there are very pricey hotels in Hawaii, but there are also cheaper options. Try Hilo Bay Hostel, which has dorm rooms for $30, on the Big Island. In Oahu, check out Ilima Hotel with rooms at around $125, or the Polynesian Hostel Beach Club in Honolulu. In Maui, the Lahaina Inn has rooms at around $100.

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico.
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Tulum is typically cheaper than the more touristy spots in Mexico such as Cancun or Cabo, but still beautiful and romantic.

Fly into Cancun International Airport for flights at around $200 from Los Angeles or Houston, and then you can take the ADO public bus or you can book a private shuttle in advance.

Once you’re there, look for cheap places to stay downtown, such as Casa de Piedra, which rents apartments for around $70, or Posada Luna del Sur, a small boutique hotel with suites at around $55.

Check out the Tulum Ruins, or visit the free public beaches. You can also try swimming in a limestone swimming hole called a “cenote” at Casa Cenote or Gran Cenote for about $10. There are also free salsa lessons and other free activities around town.

Boston, Massachusetts

Fenway Park, Boston.
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Boston is a great place to visit in the summer, with warm temperatures that aren’t squelching and a less crowded city with the students gone.

You can fly there for around $200 from many major airports, or take the bus or train if you live on the East Coast.

Hotels in downtown can be a little pricey, at more than $150 a night, but if you move outside the city to the suburbs you can find much lower prices and then take the T into the city for exploring. Also look for Airbnbs in Waltham, Brookline or Sommerville, which are accessible to the city but much cheaper.

While in town, get tickets to see the Red Sox at Fenway Park — you can get cheaper seats in the standing section or “obstructed view” seats. Or just wander outside the stadium before a game. Walk through Boston Commons or visit the Museum of Fine Arts, and consider renting a car for a day to take a trip to the beach.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Prices are cheap in these twin cities, and summer has the right temperatures for visiting. Flights average at around $250 and are cheaper earlier in the summer.

Once you’re there, you can book plenty of hotels for well under $100 a night. Try the Best Western Plus The Normandy Inn & Suites, which is walking distance to downtown and near the metro, or University Inn, which is cheap, clean and easily walkable.

The Normandy Inn & Suites, Minneapolis.
Courtesy of Normandy Inn & Suites

When looking for things to do, try renting a bike or going for a run along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, which stretches 50 miles if you can make it that far. You can also visit the Theodore Wirth Regional Park, which has several gardens to explore. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is free for visitors, but special exhibits cost more, and you can wander around the neighborhoods in both cities to check out local restaurants and shops.

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