I like to call myself the queen of spontaneous, short-hop travel. Dad is more of a planner, but is an expert at visiting new international cities on a budget.
Getting away for a little while is satisfying because it gives you that “vacation” feeling without fully disrupting life back home. My secret to being able to travel frequently is utilizing and maximizing my points, miles, and credit card perks; however, most importantly, I stay inspired and driven by “deals”, considering destinations that don’t cost an arm and and leg.
Oh and let’s not forget to mention that having hotel status, being an airline elite, and having lounge access certainly adds icing on top! ;)
Inspired by the increased sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (worth ~$525 if redeemed for travel purchases), here are 6 short and fun getaway trips that can be done under $500:
JetBlue has been offering killer deals all year round with flight sales and generous award flight promotions. The airline also offers a variety of short vacation package options, some of which are just under $500 per person, depending on accommodations included. During a fare sale, JetBlue Getaways can be a bargain!Most of these getaways packages originate in either New York City or Fort Lauderdale and include round-trip airfare plus a hotel for three nights. Some cheap destination choices include Las Vegas, Bermuda, Orlando, and Barbados (with nonstop service starting from EWR in just a few days). If that’s not a fun weekend for an East Coaster, I don’t know what is.
Also remember that you can chop off an additional $100 of a JetBlue Getaways package just by being having The JetBlue Plus Card.
There are plenty of short cruise options one can go on that are under $500. I recommend signing up for Vacations to Go and checking out CruiseDeals.com. These websites specializes in finding last-minute cruise deals. If you’re flexible with a sailing date, the bargains are plentiful, especially from the South Florida area. Even if you’re not Florida-based, flights from New York, Boston, and many other cities to Florida have been as low $49 each way recently, so it still can be worth it to fly down for a cheap, last-minute cruise.
For example, a four-night sailing trip out of Miami to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, in January can be booked for $323 on a Carnival ship in an oceanview room — perfect for a short getaway without breaking the bank.
Sin City isn’t just for gambling- it is one of those places that I always look forward to visiting, and believe me, 2-3 nights is enough! High-end shopping, restaurants and entertainment make the destination a great short getaway option for anybody.
Some hotels on the Las Vegas Strip participate in loyalty programs (such as the Hyatt/MLife partnership), but if stay credits and hotel points aren’t your primary focus, many properties offer great prices for visitors on the budget. What I always like doing is first checking American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts rates, so that I can get “extras” such as a dining credit, room upgrade, free breakfasts, among many other perks.
In Vegas, it’s often possible to find a rate of under $100 per night, even on weekends. With so many flight deals (Southwest generally takes the throne for cheap west coast to Vegas flight) to Las Vegas so frequently from almost all US-cities, an escape to Vegas can easily be had for under $500.
If you live closer to the West Coast, a weekend getaway to California and its famous theme parks is possible. A 2-Day Park Hopper Ticket costs $235, which lets guests spend time in both parks: Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
Make sure to purchase your tickets from UndercoverTourist.com for discounts (don’t forget about the AmEx offer too), and so that your ticket purchase codes as travel in case you want to redeem your Barclaycard Arrivals miles for the purchase. Add a Southwest flight and either an inexpensive hotel or a stay at an Airbnb property in Anaheim, and you’ve got yourself a weekend at Disneyland.
Cedar Point is an amusement park in Ohio that’s open year-round. Known as the roller coaster capital of the world, you definitely need to visit if you want to get your adrenaline flowing! If you live in the midwest, this could be a cheap and exhilarating getaway for you. Tickets bought online ahead of time cost as little as $53 each, and there are so many package deals to choose from.
Just for fun – in light of my first ever (and free) private
jet turbo prop flight I just took, it’s worth mentioning that you and up to 8 friends can have a spontaneous weekend away in your own chartered flight!
If you’re like me and get a thrill from the novelty of flying on a private (and you’re open to destination options), try SuiteDeals from JetSuite. The charter company provides private air travel to several destinations that. The JetSuite deals are updated throughout the day as empty legs become available. JetSuite offers last-minute flights with an option to book the whole jet for $536 each way. If you feel adventurous, grab a few of your friends and share a flight on an available route (you can always use your miles to get you home!).
Traveling on a short getaway doesn’t have to break the bank. With so many ways to make use of your miles, points, and a little bit of cash, the possibilities are infinite. I have over 16 active credit cards, and it’s always fun for me to piece together fun trips using different credit card benefits/perks.
In theory though, if you want to keep things simple, all of these trips mentioned can be taken with just one sign-up bonus. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (worth ~$525 if redeemed for travel purchases).