Wednesday, March 28, 2012

4 Ideas For An Inexpensive, Stress-Free Getaway

tropical getaway coconut trees
1. LivingSocial and Groupon
LivingSocial is my fave!  I've used them for discounted dentist appointments,  yoga classes, wine tastings and even trips.  They have deals for all sorts of things and if you haven't heard of it yet, where have you been?  While most people probably know what I'm talking about, I have no clue how many of them actually use it.    Well, for what it's worth, I love it.  A vacation won't be cheap but it will be heavily discounted and sans stress because the itinerary is all done for you.

Have you ever wondered what the secret is behind these group discount sites?  Why are they able to offer such huge deals?  It's simple, due to the sheer numbers of buyers companies offer huge discounts, it's worth it for them because they sell and they sell fast.  There's power in numbers.  In fact, there's a new company called 4N1FUND which has taken this idea a step further by combining the group discount benefits with financial planning.  Not only can you now get discounted rates on medical services, spas and vacations, but you can get discounted rates on investing in your future too!

2. Local Ashram
Spending a weekend at a local Ashram is an inexpensive spiritual getaway that I highly recommend.  You don't have to adhere to eastern religious practices, in fact most attendees don't.  It's simply a nice break from daily life, a welcoming community and an interesting experience.  Ashrams provide a relaxing environment and a place of refuge.  In fact, stress is what drives most people to ashrams, stress and the dire need to unwind.  I'm from New York where ashrams are very popular.  City dwellers flock upstate to meditate and change their pace.  Zen Mountain Monastery is a good example.

Ashram accommodations are similar to youth hostels and can be as low as $60 a night for a dorm style room.  Some Ashrams will even allow you to stay for free if you agree to work.  My mother enjoys time spent at Ashrams.  She and her friends went free of charge once and were assigned the task of ironing the guru's robes, which was a unique and even intoxicating experience.  A few years ago, The New York Times ran a great article on the trend of visiting an ashram for an inexpensive, sans stress getaway.

3. Local Casino
In stark contrast to the ashram, casinos can provide a decent getaway for not much money.  If you can get away during the week even better because casinos offer huge discounts.  You definitely don't have to gamble to enjoy them.  There are shows, nightclubs, restaurants.  A casino is like a huge mall of fun.  Now malls or casinos aren't for everyone but when you're looking to break up the monotony of life for an affordable price, staying a night or two at a casino is a good option.  Invite some friends, chip in on a suite and have a blast!  There are casinos everywhere and perhaps they represent what's wrong with society but I say, when in Rome...

4. Dude Ranch 
When I was a kid my mom and I used to frequent a dude ranch in Pennsylvania.  This is a great family experience and can also be great for friends and couples.  Dude ranches organize so many activities from treasure hunts to nature hikes, there is plenty of wholesome fun to be had.  You might spend $800 for four nights but this includes food, lodging, horseback riding and activities.  So the stress of planning is not on you and the price is pretty reasonable compared to most vacations.  Also, call and see when they run specials because you may be able to score a deal.

Many states have Dude Ranchers' Associations.  Here in California there are quite a few options.

I hope this helps!  Remember, avoid stress at all costs.  Life is too short, there's not point in stressing.  Please send me your ideas on inexpensive, stress-free getaways so I can add them to the list!


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