5 ways to have the ultimate end-of-summer getaway on a budget

By Jessica Armstrong

Editor's note: This guest post was written by Ashley Rossi of SmarterTravel.

The end of summer, particularly in August and September, is often referred to as the "sweet spot" for travel. Summer crowds disperse, as families get ready to head back to school, meaning there is less demand at popular summer vacation spots. If your schedule allows, this is actually one of the best times to plan a long-weekend escape! Here are five budget-friendly tips from SmarterTravel that’ll make your end-of-summer getaway the best one yet.

Stay local

The best part about planning a staycation or a getaway to a nearby destination is that you'll save on transportation costs and time by staying local. Here are some suggestions for a number of major cities across the U.S.!

From New York City, we recommend a trip to Dutchess County in New York.

This quirky tiny house is located on a charming farm nearby in Sullivan County, New York.

From Atlanta, Georgia, head to Asheville, North Carolina.

Couples will love this romantic tree house cabin near Asheville, North Carolina.

From Houston, Texas, head to San Antonio.

A unique getaway awaits at these traditional tipis in nearby New Braunfels, Texas.

From Seattle, Washington, head to Bellingham or Whidbey Island.

A trip for two never looked so good than at this glamping tent on Whidbey Island in Washington.

From Los Angeles, head to San Diego, California.

This bell tent rental comes with its own mini-tennis court in nearby Carlsbad, California.

For even more exciting escapes near nine major U.S. cities, check out these top, cheap weekend getaways!

Hit the road

You can cut costs on transportation by driving to your weekend getaway. Even if you don't own a car, renting a car or using a service, like Zipcar, gives you freedom and flexibility to make a road trip a viable option. What's more? Zipcar has a partnership with state and provincial parks across the U.S. to give you free parking at select locations.

Make sure you're using an app, like GasBuddy, which is a crowd-sourcing app that tells you where the cheapest gas is nearby. Since you already have your smartphone out, take a second to download these nine other essential road trip apps, too!

Ditch the hotel

Try looking into different types of accommodations when planning an end-of-summer getaway—with glamping being a top choice. Not only are you staying in Instagram-worthy properties, but you'll likely be saving on nightly rates since these are usually a non-traditional form of shelter. You'll also be able to cut costs on dining out if you book a place with a kitchen or cooking area and avoid the potential high costs of hotel parking lots.

Embrace the off season

Significant savings can be found in destinations that are in their off season, as these locales are less popular this time of year and typically have lower prices to attract guests. This is especially true in summertime in mountain towns, like Stowe, Park City, Vail, and many more. Other popular destinations where summer is considered to be the off season include Arizona, Florida, and New Orleans.

Get outdoors

It's time to get outside! Most hikes and beaches are free to enjoy, and the great outdoors provides a naturally relaxing backdrop to celebrate the end of summer. Be sure to check out free National Park entry days—one is coming up on August 25!—and look at passes for state and national parks if you're looking to visit often. Don't know which park to visit? We've got some suggestions for you that come recommended by the park rangers themselves here.

Check out Glamping Hub and SmarterTravel's Weekend Road Trip Giveaway on Instagram! You and three friends have the chance to win the perfect end-of-summer getaway.

Travels with puppy: Tips for taking the family dog on vacation

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: This guest post was written by Jessica Brody, the creator of OurBestFriends.pet.

Have you ever dropped the family dog off at the kennel on the eve of your big vacation, looked into his or her big, sorrowful, brown eyes, and suddenly wished you could change your mind and bring him or her along? As it happens, you can change your mind, soothe your conscience, and make the kids happy, because traveling with a dog is a lot easier these days than it used to be. Bringing the family pet along on vacation can be a lot of fun and, with some planning, it doesn't have to be a hassle. Think of it as just another detail to iron out before you pack it all up and hit the road.

Here are a few of those details to get straight:


All pet dogs should have a collar and tags, with up-to-date identification and contact information, and it should be worn all the time, especially on vacation. If Rover gets away on a remote South Carolina beach and runs away, finding him can be nearly impossible if there's no way of knowing who his owners are and how to reach them. Your pet should also be microchipped so he or she can easily be traced back to you.

How will you travel?

Dogs these days travel both by airplane and by car, and the length of your trip may have a lot to do with whether you choose to bring your furry friend along. Airlines basically classify dogs as cargo and store them securely in the hold.

For a relaxed and mature canine, that might not be a terrible hardship, but if yours is a skittish and hyper pooch, air travel could be a real nightmare for your buddy. If your dog is small enough to fit in a pet carrier that can be squeezed in under your seat, some airlines will let them share the ride with you, so consult your airline about their dog policy before making a final decision.

Of course, the most frequently-used mode of travel for a family with a dog is a four-wheeled vehicle of some kind—usually the bigger, the better. Dogs usually have some familiarity with riding in a car to the vet or to the park, so riding along won't be as alien and scary as flying high at 30,000 feet. If your four-legged friend is anxious about riding in the car, talk to your vet about appropriate medications that can help them mellow out a bit.

Have a plan

It pays to have a plan of attack well ahead of time. Imagine having your dog in a carrier under your airplane seat on a crowded flight, and he or she suddenly starts yelping and barking as loud as possible. The angry stares of fellow passengers make things very uncomfortable, so have something comforting—either a favorite snack, toy, or a doggie sedative—on standby.

If you're going by car, plan out a few rest stops along the way for good leg stretching and sniffing sessions, not to mention bladder relief. That means you'll need a good strong leash, a food dish and water bowl, toys, and baggies for cleaning up any waste.


The number of dog-friendly rentals and restaurants has exploded in recent years, which makes this part of your travel planning a bit easier than how you'll get there and back with Fido. Why not have a little fun with it, and stay in a hotel that offers a doggie turndown service and special dog treats for its four-legged guests? Do a little advance research, and find out what kind of deposit and fee your accommodation will hit you with, too.


With glamping, there's hope for people who can't bear the idea of camping with just a tent and a sleeping bag. Glamping is a lot more fun for many, because it involves creature comforts— it's a camping hybrid, between luxury and "roughing it." If you're thinking about camping out with your dog on your trip, don't forget to bring the espresso maker along with your sleeping bag.

Taking a dog on vacation is a commitment and a challenge. You have to plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected; it's not something you can take lightly, and you can't let your attention waver like you might when you're at home with a sturdy fence in your backyard as a fall back. Long-distance travel can be traumatic for an animal, so think carefully before deciding to take the beloved family dog along for the ride.

Want to know more about the writer of this post? Jessica Brody lives in Dallas, Texas, with her loving family. As a certified dog lover, she believes that dogs are just about the greatest creatures on earth.

3 Key Ways Travel Can Inspire Your Yoga Practice

By Amy Ahlblad

Editor's Note: This blog post was written by Sheila Miller of Yogapedia.

I was 16 the first time I took a big trip without my family or any of my friends. Everyone else knew one another, and as the new kid in an existing social structure, I had the opportunity to see the consequences of my choices clearly.

Going through our daily lives, it can be difficult to detangle our own patterns and habits from the world around us. Doing so is a crucial part of the yogic practice. The yogic sages taught that in order to create lasting transformation in our lives, we must extract ourselves from karmic and behavioral patterns, called samskaras. If karma is not a concept you find helpful, consider that the patterns of belief and interpersonal interaction in your family are probably much older than you are.

That first experience of traveling alone gave my 16-year-old self a chance to determine which sufferings I could directly control, and the three-and-a-half weeks I was away convinced me I had the courage to make difficult changes and face adversity alone. When I returned, I made two big changes. My life has been better ever since.

While that might not sound like yoga at first, one of the most critical aspects of a yoga practice is study of the self. Our physical prowess amounts to mere tricks if it doesn't relieve our suffering and change our behavior when we are in challenging situations.

Read on for more information: Svadhyaya: Spend a Lifetime Getting to Know Yourself & Deepening Your Yoga Practice

Removed from our usual surroundings, we can see ourselves more clearly. The process of using our powers of reason, analysis, and observation to learn about ourselves connects to every other part of the yoga practice. In the remainder of this article, I'll offer three ways travel can further inspire your yoga practice.

New Beginnings

Any disruption to our schedules can be an opportunity to form new, positive habits or abandon negative ones. Whether you'd like to eat oatmeal every day or begin setting aside 10 minutes daily for pranayama, a shift in your schedule and priorities gives a window in which to make it happen.

In addition to being free from many of our usual time constraints, we are less subject to the patterns and habits that govern us when we are outside of our usual environment. Before your next trip, you might choose a habit or activity that would bring you joy and plant the seeds of that life each day during your journey.

During an extended trip to Costa Rica, I finally started using my Neti Pot daily. Those fantastical sounding claims about it improving your sleep (among many other benefits)? They proved true for me.

Going Deeper

Yoga can be the purpose for travel, too. Setting time aside for dedicated practice, such as going to a retreat, can help you break through plateaus and elevate the baseline satisfaction you experience with your practice.

There are so many yoga and meditation retreats that it can be hard to choose. I recommend finding a teacher from whom you'd like to learn, a technique or practice you'd like to spend time with, or a place to which you feel a connection.

A retreat enables you to gather a store of resources to call upon when you return to daily life and to meet yourself very intimately. I did my first week-long, silent meditation retreat 20 years ago, and I still learn lessons from it to this day.

Letting Go

Even while traveling, we aren't free of our habits, patterns, and conditioning. A journey puts us outside of our comfort zone; it's up to us what we do while we're there.

One of Patanjali’s sutras on yoga that I have found especially helpful to work with while traveling is this one, Heyam duhkham anaagatam (Yoga Sutra II.16), which may be translated as "future suffering can be avoided." This means that if it hasn't happened yet, then we still have room to intervene.

Travel allows us to feel and to experience our own reactions to thoughts and circumstances. The clutter in our minds and hearts of needing to pay the bills, be at work and so on, quiets, and we have an opening through which to see what we would like to change.

Realizing we wish to change something in our lives can be frightening. Still, this is one of the most potent ways in which travel can fuel our practice of yoga. Simultaneously, being out of our usual environment affords us affirmation that we'll be alright. Through change, comings and goings, fear, and comfort, we'll be alright.

For tips on how to keep your sadhana while traveling: Yoga for Your Travels

OM To-Go

The main idea is this: Seeing the world and the lives of others helps us to better see ourselves and the impact of our actions more clearly. No matter where you go or whether you can bring your yoga mat, you can still bring your practice. Happy travels!

Yogapedia is dedicated to curating knowledge from around the globe. Our intention is to help seekers turn within and connect with Self (Ātman) through shared understanding of the philosophy and practice of yoga.

To keep up with Yogapedia, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Don't forget to check out Glamping Hub's guest blog on Yogapedia, too—read on here.