by Elizabeth Aldrich | Dec. 9, 2019
Travel for your big 3-0 without decimating your savings.
You're deep in adulthood now, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun. Your 30th is the perfect birthday to celebrate somewhere special.
That being said, while you might have more access to funds than you did in your 20s, most people in their 30s aren't prepared to drop big bucks on a celebration. With proper planning and the right location, you can have that destination birthday you always dreamt of without sacrificing your savings account. Here are the best destinations to embrace your new phase of adulthood and still have plenty of fun.
If you want a beachside birthday, the Yucatan Peninsula has some of the world's most stunning, sparkling turquoise water and white, sandy beaches -- all at an affordable rate. Plan to fly into Cancun airport and then make your way to your main destination. You can stretch your budget by staying farther inland in Valladolid, an indigenous town known for its affordability and rich Mayan traditions. Or if you have a more flexible budget, Tulum offers a chic, bohemian beachside experience with lots of outdoor activities and beach clubs to keep you busy.
There's tons of history and beautiful sites to take in as a group. Grab a cheap rental car to go see the ruins of ancient Mayan cities or go snorkeling in one of the many underground, natural swimming holes called cenotes.
Stay stateside for your birthday and visit “The Peach State” for a very affordable, picturesque experience. It's like a little New Orleans, but with small-town charm. Being in the south, Savannah is more affordable than most popular party destinations in the United States.
You're allowed to drink in the streets of its historic district, which makes exploring the city at night even more fun. Just ask for a to-go cup at the bar and then move on to your next stopping point. If you're fascinated by the paranormal, be sure to book one of Savannah's many haunted ghost tours to see a different side of the city at night.
As one of the most affordable and beautiful regions in Spain, Andalucia is full of Roman fortresses and Moorish palaces to explore. Immerse yourself in Spanish culture by enjoying tapas at local restaurants and experiencing a flamenco performance either in the streets or at a formal venue.
If you have several days to visit, this area makes for a great road trip. Top sightseeing destinations include Granada, Cordoba, Seville, and Cadiz. If you're going with a group, renting a house is a budget-friendly way to stay in this region.
If you're looking for the ultimate birthday bash that feels like you're going abroad but doesn't require a passport, San Juan may be the ticket. Flights can be very affordable, especially from the east coast.
Your party crew can experience true Puerto Rican culture with great food, drinks, and the chance to dance the night away in historic San Juan. This small, but powerful islet has beautiful beaches and rainforests that will provide a fun-filled vacation and an awesome background for your birthday photos -- no filter needed.
Also called the “Vegas of the South,” Nashville is a popular celebration spot for party-goers and music lovers. Your birthday group can rent a party bus or take a pedal tavern around town. There are plenty of pub crawls to join and endless options for live music at every corner.
If you're looking for more sophisticated birthday activities, take a day trip to Kentucky Downs to bet on the horses or schedule a Tennessee Whiskey tour to learn about whiskey-making at various distilleries.
Budapest is one of Europe's most affordable cities, making it a great option for a group trip abroad. Experience their famous baths by day and party in their unique ruin bars at night. Never heard of a ruin bar? These bars were built in the ruins of abandoned buildings as part of the underground bar scene.
Don't forget to visit Fisherman's Bastion -- a fairy-tale castle built in the 1800s -- for fantastic photo opportunities and a chance to learn about this city's storied history.
While it may not be the cheapest destination, Lake Tahoe is the perfect spot for any lover of the great outdoors. This beautiful region has plenty of outdoor activities all year round and is also known for its many casinos and resorts, which offer their own all-inclusive escapes.
Save money by taking advantage of the area's affordable rental houses to host your birthday guests under one roof. If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, or want to give it a try, Alpine Meadows is one of the most affordable ski resorts in the area. It's also where the locals go, so you know it's legit!
If you really want to save big and have some time to plan ahead, consider signing up for one of the best travel credit cards. Many of these come with generous sign-up bonuses, and you might even be able to earn enough points to pay for your flight.
No matter where you choose to spend your 30th birthday, make it a memorable one with plenty of celebrations and adventures.
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.
But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases into 2022, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.
That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.