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  1. #1
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    $2500 budget vacation ideas

    Wife and I are kicking around ideas for a vacation this year. Haven't had a proper one in a handful of years. It'll be our 10yr anniversary and I'd like to go all out, but our budget is limited. Keeping the bill under $2500 total is a firm figure. A week is what I'm shooting for.

    We don't have to go international at all but would entertain it if financially feasible. That obviously helps with the budget. I think we'd both love to see Alaska and I know a lot of the peeps here have experience there. We enjoy the outdoors but aren't too into "roughing it" and aren't equipped to camp, etc. So we'd want decent lodging, meals, etc.

    Another thought I had was flying to Seattle and driving/seeing the PNW and coast. Neither of us have been to that part of the country. Would spring or summer be a better time to do that? Any thoughts? New England is also somewhere we've never been.

    I'm from Florida originally and we lived in the Mid-Atlantic for about 10 years, so those don't interest us much. I'd like to see New Orleans, but she doesn't want to for some reason. Never been to Vegas, but I'm not sure how good of a time we'd have as we're not the clubbin'/gamblin' type.

    So, any advice from the collective? The budget is decent I suppose for a within the US trip, but I know how things can get carried away if you're renting cars/buying hotels/eating out/etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by madmike View Post
    Never been to Vegas, but I'm not sure how good of a time we'd have as we're not the clubbin'/gamblin' type
    Please do not waste your money or time in Vegas. For $2,500 you do have all inclusive options in many Carib locals. Good Luck!http://www.expedia.com/Vacation-Packages
    Quote Originally Posted by theshredder View Post
    i identify as a gay transexual

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    One-word anwer: Cruise.

    Best bang-for-your-buck vacation there is. (IMHO). Food, lodging, entertainment all included in the price. Excellent food on all 4 cruises I've been on. Plenty of options for what you want to see. (Alaska, Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Central America, etc) Renting cars/buying hotels/eating out = all taken care of. Did I mention that the food is always awesome? Lots of stuff to do on the ship, depending on what ship it is.

    Depending on where you want to go (airfare to/from departure port), how long you want to go for, and what type of room you want (inside, window, balcony), you can easily go for $1000 (or less), each, for a week. I'm a big fan of Norwegian, but Carnival is excellent also, and I'm sure Royal Caribbean, Princess, and the others are just as good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Pacific Northwest. I prefer Portland to Seattle so I'd start there. Portland is a jewel. From there, head north, and if you've never been to Vancouver BC and Victoria BC you are in for a treat. Vancouver is an amazing city and Victoria is bit of old England.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4matic View Post
    Pacific Northwest. I prefer Portland to Seattle so I'd start there. Portland is a jewel. From there, head north, and if you've never been to Vancouver BC and Victoria BC you are in for a treat. Vancouver is an amazing city and Victoria is bit of old England.
    Hmm, I'm kind of liking this idea. I'm worried though that we wouldn't have enough time to enjoy each place, ~2 days each Portland/Seattle/BC. I wonder if a week touring from Seattle to Victoria to Vancouver would be enough to hit the highlights? Or even possibly going straight to BC for a week. I'll have to see how airfare prices are multi-city vs round-trip to Vancouver.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    The PNW is really fun--I miss it. But, if you aren't going to ski, definitely hit it during the July-September time-frame. Although Seattle is made out to be rainy, in the summer it has some of the most beautiful weather around. Portland is a funky city, but has a lot of character. Both Seattle and Portland have great food and bars, Victoria, BC is awesome, Olympic National Park is really amazing, and the WA/OR coast is hard to beat (if you aren't set on going in the water).

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond Joe View Post
    One-word anwer: Cruise.
    Have to disagree here with Joe. I lived the the Caribbean 10 years and Hawaii 25 and the tourist I encounter get 4-6 hours on land per stop, so you have to be on it for the boat experience, not the destinations, at least from any sort of immersion in a culture or place.

    There was this dancer I dated once though that workedn a cruise ship that hit st. Thomas, she would sneak me on and I would cruise to san juan and spend a day or two and fly back...

    Back on track, United has Denver-Maui direct and you can look on craigslist for a vacation rental cheap, shop at Mana foods and spend your time hiking Haleakala and snorkling. I will comp you two mountainbike rentals for a day or so and give you a trail map...

    I LOVE vegas, great food, amazing circe de sole' shows and chill in a suit at the Venetian. Just sayin' it's not too tough...

    Haleakala, Maui

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I've spoken to a number of people who are not typical "cruisers" who had a good time on AK cruises. There's also a cruise that interests me which goes from New York to Chicago via the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. Stops in Boston, Halifax, St. John Newfoundland, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto (I think), etc. Supposed to be a somewhat smaller faster boat and very luxo.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond Joe View Post
    One-word anwer: Cruise.
    I'd rather swallow broken glass than go on a cruise. I don't think I'd go on one if it was free.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    I've been on an AK cruise, not my thing at all and total waste of money IMO, but i'd rather eat KD and climb/bike/ski than eat lobster and talk to old people about how pretty the mountains look. If you've never been to the PNW I highly recommend it, I grew up in Victoria and now live on the sunshine coast near Vancouver and am still exploring everything. June/July/August are normally sunny ~25 degrees C, Whistler is awesome in the summer even if you don't bike. I like Portland a lot more than Seattle, and can't really comment on being a tourist in Van/Vic since I'm a local I guess.

    If it was me I'd fly to Portland, may drive up to Port Angeles and ferry to Victoria, then ferry to Vancouver maybe daytrip to whistler then fly back from van? then again could be a pain if you were renting a car doing that i dunno, would a lot of travelling for me but the ~7-8 hour drive might be cool and everyone loves the vic-van ferry, everytime they announce "pod of orcas on the port side" the boat starts to tip
    Last edited by kevin267; 02-10-2011 at 10:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    May be too much for you, but camping around the big island of Hawaii is pretty stellar, and cheap. Even if you don't have a stick of camping gear, you can land in Kona and buy everything you need at Costco for less then one night in a good hotel. The camp grounds are mostly right on the water, so beach front views are standard.

    Another, not so rough option is to rent an RV in your location of choice. Western national parks make a great trip, but it is also a great way to see AK.

    Once last option, $2500 in blow, +/- the hookers, check into a cheap motel and blow your nose until you can't see straight.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  12. #12
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    the wife and i are going to Costa Rica for about that much.
    let your tracks be lost in the dark and snow

  13. #13
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    For PNW, i'd personally spend the whole week on Vancouver Island. Maybe do a couple day ferry trips during the week. Or a week in Maine i guess. I'm a big fan of Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun, but it's pretty small, totally doable on that budget tho.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  14. #14
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    You should check for specials on air fare and use that to decide.

    Skyscanner is good.

    Last fall one of my friends scored a $260 RT ticket to barcelona on american airlines through them, I was pretty jealous.
    Quote Originally Posted by twodogs View Post
    Hey Phill, why don't you post your tax returns, here on TGR, asshole. And your birth certificate.

  15. #15
    Hugh Conway Guest
    buy a couple cases of beer, some dildos, lube, and a few hookers

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    At first I was going to say to not go to the NW, cuz you'll be driving so much, but my wife and I did a great trip starting in SF and going to Portland along the coast. It was fun not having an agenda and seeing the redwoods, beaches, wineries, small hotels, etc.

  17. #17
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    Cruising can be a nice inexpensive way to take a trip. See a few ports and get an idea of which ones you might like to return to for a longer trip. The food is usually decent and the accomodations can be very nice if you get a good deal. We were in a giant 2 bedroom suite on our last cruise down Baja out of LA. Steam shower, jetted tub, espresso machine, large balcony, 24 hours butler, the works. It was freakin bliss. IIRC we paid like $4k for the whole trip but that included our 2 kids.

    But, an alternative is to find a small house to rent someplace. We did a nice trip to Cozumel last March. The airfare was cheap and we got a sweet little 3 bedroom house with large yard, private pool, and daily maid service a couple of blocks from the water for like $1100/week. Hunt around for some cheap flights to the carribean and then start looking for private homes to rent by googling "villa rentals cozumel (or wherever)". Rent yourself a car to get around and hit the local grocery store to provision the place like the locals do. Then you can keep the costs down a bit on food and drinks and free up some more cash for entertainment/tours/eating out/etc... $2500 for 2 people is totally doable. If you can get a good deal on your flight you'll have a lot of cash left over for other things.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  18. #18
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    ... Paris ...

    Let's do some livin'
    After, we die

  19. #19
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    May 2009
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    cruise? i'm with smmokan

    vrbo a house and spend some time somewhere. (don't spend your time in transit)

    i rented a house on the coast of maine once, just west of acadia national park...it was awesome til my dog drank seawater all day and then ejected it rearwards in the kitchen...nonetheless, the hiking & sea kayaking were awesome (we were there in september)

    maybe something similar in the san juan islands (PNW theme again)?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorms View Post
    the wife and i are going to Costa Rica for about that much.
    This was going to be my suggestion too. Relatively cheap (and short) flights, safe to wander around on your own, cheap lodging/food/other costs while you're there.

    Mrs. C. and I did a drive-yourself tour in Costa Rica several years ago, where the package provided a 4x4 rental car and vouchers for the hotels/B&Bs that were reserved along the way, and some miscellaneous vouchers (park admissions, etc.). IIRC it was under $1K for that package, for both of us.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    How about Banff/Jasper/Yoho? Calgary is a major city and easy to fly into then you can jump in a car and the driving possibilities are virtually endless. You won't get bored in a week.

    One thing I'd warn you about on the Pacific coast in Oregon and Washington is it can be cloudy any time of the year. Even in July if there's onshore flow you could get unlucky and be socked in for your entire visit. Not to say it's likely, but it's far from rare for this to happen. Just in case you're wondering, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Victoria are not on the Pacific coast. These places are much more likely to have warm, sunny weather during the height of the summer.

  22. #22
    gunit130 Guest
    I enjoyed the Oregon coast more than Washington coast. The Columbia River Gorge area is pretty sick too. Check out Hood River, OR then go up to Mt. Hood, then head over to the Oregon coast. Go Tillamook to Canon Beach.

  23. #23
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    Nov 2009
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    I sent my son to Poland/ Hungery over Thanksgiving, $ 600.00 airfare plus everything else $1200.00 total. He spent a lot of time looking at all the cool things during the day and clubbin at nite. He said shot of local vodka .75 and $1.25 for a beer. He said he would go back in a heartbeat. He spent 8 days there. Way cheaper than the Norway/Sweden/Denmark trip he did two years ago. But he spent 2 months there that time. Eastern Europe FTW.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    You can do a lot for $2,500! Europe isnít out of the question if you shop smart for accommodations. As mentioned Costa Rico is awesome and I love Hawaii, both are doable with that budget.

    I live in the PNW for a reason and grew up in Northern Cal and do that drive at least once a year, never gets old. (Except for Hwy 1 from Leggett to Rockport, ughh). Used to do it in a day but now I wouldn't miss my favorite hotels on the beach.

    The PNW and Northern Cal are amazing in the summer, warm and green. There are a multitude of things to do, a week obviously doesn't give it justice. From the cities of Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, to the open country and small towns out along the Columbia Gorge cutting up to the the Methow Valley or down to Wallawa Lake, to the high mountains of North Cascades or the volcanos, you cannot go wrong. But I love roadtrips.

    But I would also recommend what I did last summer, fly into Vegas (because it is cheap and easy), rent a smaller RV ($700-$900) and head out to the parks in Utah. A week will go quick but a stop in Zion on your way to Escalante is awesome. Enjoy the open road and clear blue skies, perhaps a monsoon storm or two. I have traveled in the SW several times and it is just a magical place. You can just walk in any direction up on mesas of sandstone and drop down into little valleys. If you have never been, consider it a must.
    Education must be the answer, we've tried ignorance and it doesn't work!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Thanks for all the great ideas. We're going to have to talk it over and see what we'd like to do most with the time/budget we've got. I'm still kind of leaning toward the PNW/BC area, but that in itself is hard to decide on how to do it/what to see.

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