Budget-friendly summer trips

By Anna Adamyk  Sterling, KS May 15th, 2018 3:00 P.M.

Summer is finally in the air! Student’s minds are on finals and finishing up papers and projects, but now is the time to think about where to travel this summer. Most students don’t have money to throw out the window, but it doesn’t mean we should be cooped up in one city all summer. Save a paycheck or two from your summer job and take a few days to experience a new place.

Make a friend trip out of it and split the cost of gas or a hotel. Or find out where your friends will be over the summer and see if you can visit them. There are students who will be in California to Massachusetts this summer.

Here are three ideas of places to go and things to do this summer:

Colorado’s Hot Springs: (gas + entry fee = $120)

Colorado is close and home to many attractions. It’s typically thought of as a place for outdoorsy people ready to hike, but it’s also a great place to not do anything and relax for a few days. Check out the hot springs in Colorado. There are numerous locations to enjoy the crystal-clear water that is amazing for your skin.

Glenwood Hot Springs CO
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort – Glenwood Springs, CO

A 9-hour drive from Sterling ($100 in gas roundtrip)

$15 to swim after 9 p.m. during the week ($20 after 6 p.m.; $24 anytime during the day)

Visit the website


Iron Mountain Hot Springs – Glenwood Springs, CO

9-hour drive from Sterling ($100 in gas roundtrip)

$25 to swim anytime from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Visit the website


Mount Princeton – Nathrop, CO

An 8-hour drive from Sterling ($90 in gas roundtrip)

$20 to swim anytime from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday

$25 to swim anytime from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday & Saturday

Visit the website

Glenwood Springs is a tourist friendly location with lots to do and many restaurants. Check out their restaurants that offer traditional American food to Thai or Indian food. Click here to explore the wide variety of food options.

Nathrop, on the other hand, is much more rural and found in a more mountainous location. It’s not a long drive from Colorado Springs where you’ll find all the restaurants and activities perfect for a short vacation with friends.


Orlando, Florida: (plane tickets + overnight stay for 3 nights = $250)

Did you know that traveling to Orlando, Florida, is really budget friendly? Some flights this summer drop as low as $160 roundtrip. You can also find private rooms through Airbnb.com as low as $30 a night (The hosts are rated by previous guests, so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck with a scary host during your stay in Orlando, just read the ratings.)

Cocoa Beach:

Cocoa Beach

1-hour from Orlando

Tourist friendly beach with tons of restaurants and activities.

Lots of authentic seafood places.

Downtown Orlando:

Lake Eola – free movies in the park, farmer’s market on Sunday mornings, paddle boat rentals and more. Learn more here.

Art galleries, infinite food options, nightly events.

Click here to see all the possibilities.


Kansas City, Missouri: (gas + Royals ticket = $50)

Take a short trip to Kansas City for a weekend. It’s personally my favorite place to take a short vacation. There are so many things to do and it’s fun to experience a “small big city.” My favorite things to do while in Kansas City is to try new restaurants, go to the City Market farmer’s market, and watch Royals games.

3½-hour drive from Sterling ($40 for gas roundtrip)

City Market Farmer’s Market: Lots of vendors gather on Saturday (from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) during the summer. They sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices. There are little restaurants surrounding the vendors too. Click here for more information.

Nelson atkins museum
Nelson Atkins Museum

Nelson Atkins Museum: This museum is free everyday (some special exhibits will charge to get in, but it’s not many). They’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. They have a variety of art that is always there, but they also feature a new exhibit every few months. Check out their calendar of events before you make your trip and see what they’re up to.

Bar-B-Que: Kansas City is known for its amazing BBQ. Kansas City native, Elissa Freemire gave her top 3: Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, JackStack and Q39. According to Elissa “Joe’s and Q39 are comparable and JackStack is expensive but to die for.” Kansas City Royals baseball: They’re season isn’t going too well, so tickets will be cheap this summer. Click here to buy tickets.

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