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It can’t be just me – is anyone else craving a vacation? Lately I’ve been missing the  yearly childhood visits to Disney World, or even the weekend drive to Pennsylvania to visit my nana. With midterms and assignments stacking up, and the caffeine tolerance growing higher due to my intake levels, I think a weekend getaway is necessary. However, realistically, I’m not an influencer who gets a free vacation to the Maldives with a brand deal. I’m a broke college student. With that being said, here are weekend getaways that cost under $400 that are realistic (distance and cost wise) for a student living in Orono, ME. 

  1. Acadia National Park, Maine 

Acadia during this time of year with all the foliage is the perfect time to plan a visit. At roughly 55 miles away from Orono, located southeast along the coast, it will take under a third of a tank of gas to drive there and back. Although only over an hour drive, and perfect for a day trip, there are plenty of low-cost Airbnbs in the area, beginning at $85 a night. For two nights at $85 a night, $10 worth in gas, and $50 for food while you’re there, it’s estimated to be a low $230 weekend getaway. 

Airbnb links

  1.  Boston, Massachusetts

Looking for something a bit more fast paced? Boston is a perfect city to visit. With shops, museums, history, tours, restaurants, and performances, there’s something for everyone in your friend group. I highly recommend trying Kung Fu Tea while you’re down there, if bubble tea is up your alley. Although Boston’s a 3 ½ hour drive, about 243 miles away, it’s well worth it if you’re looking for a change of scenery. Since it is located in the city, the hotel and Airbnb stays are located on every corner, ranging between $90-$150 a night on the lower end of the price scale. We are looking at around $40 worth of gas, $250 for a hotel, and $80-$100 for food and experiences, adding up to be right around $400. 

Airbnb Links:

  1. Camden or Belfast, Maine

Missing the coastline? Camden is a beautiful tourist destination with a stunning coastline, and filled with local shops and restaurants. I recommend the Hartstone Inn for a lovely 3-course dinner if you’re willing to spend a bit more, otherwise, I recommend Owl and Turtle Bookshop Cafe. About an hour and a half away at 63 miles, it’s one of the closer destinations to visit. For a $100 (two-person) dinner, $220 for a two night stay, $10 for gas, and $50-$70 for the rest of the food costs, that adds up to right around $400. 

Airbnb links:

  1. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont is gorgeous in the fall, and set along beautiful Lake Champlain. Head downtown for shops and restaurants, and be sure to check out Church St. If over 21, visit local breweries, and if under 21, check out the array of local coffee shops! Burlington is roughly 300 miles away, capping under six hours to drive. Estimating at $60 for gas, $160 for two nights at an Airbnb, and around $100 for food, the total estimated cost would be around $320 total. 

Airbnb links: 

  1. Montreal, Canada

Have your passport? Go to Canada! The drive isn’t nearly as long as you may think (about the same to get to Burlington, VT). Montreal is a great city with so much to do, and the Airbnb options are not only luxurious, but they’re cheaper than any of the options listed above. If you visit, be sure to check out the Biodome and the botanical gardens. If you’re 18, you’re also the legal drinking age (PLEASE drink responsibly), so you are welcome to explore what breweries the city has to offer. From Orono to Montreal, the drive is roughly five and a half hours, at around 300 miles. Considering $60 round trip for gas, $120 for two-nights in an Airbnb, and let’s say $120 for food and experiences, that totals around $300 for a wonderful getaway.  

Airbnb links: 

Additional tips and tricks when planning your getaway: 

  • Have money in cash for tolls…or invest in an EZ-pass!
  • If under 21, don’t book a hotel, consider Airbnb instead! (They often require you to be 21 at time of check-in)
  • Go with a group, split costs! Save $$$!
  • Spend minimally on food, if staying in a place with a kitchen, cook instead of going out. 
  • Leave on a Friday night for the destination and come back to Orono Sunday afternoon in time for class on Monday.
  • Make sure you and your group are vaccinated.
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Emilee Roy

U Maine '24

Hi! My name is Emilee and I am a Sophomore Animal and Veterinary Sciences major. I love animals, books, a good Netflix binge, and philosophy podcasts.
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