20 travel steals for under $200

Our favorite ways to feel like a million bucks without even a swipe of the credit card

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Top 20 travel steals

  • Top 20 travel steals

    Coyote Rock RV Resort Marina on Oregon's Siletz River

UNDER $50

$25: Sleep next to a lighthouse
At Point Montara Lighthouse, on California's wild and uncrowded San Mateo County coast, two ten-buck bills and a five let you sleep just feet from the ocean, right on a pristine beach. The downside: It's a youth hostel, which means you may have to share your room with strangers. But in this location, who cares? 650/728-7177. Worthwhile splurge: Spend $65 per couple for a private room. –Charity Ferreira

$41: Cast close by the front porch
Skip the several-thousand-dollar stay at a fancy wilderness lodge. Instead, spend the night at Coyote Rock RV Resort & Marina, with its six charming little cabins on stilts. The cabins are within casting distance of Oregon's Siletz River, a mile south of Lincoln City, famed for steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. $41; 541/996-6824. –Jenie Skoy

$22: Wear flip-flops to the opera
The Metropolitan Opera attracts the world's greatest opera stars, but you don't have to fly to New York to see them. During the 2008–09 season, the Met's Opening Night Gala and 10 operas will be broadcast live in high-definition at cinemas across the country. First show Sep 22; tickets about $22; –Sharon Cohoon

$12: Get a quick fix of (lunchtime) theater
At Lunch Time Theater, midweek at Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix, see a 30- to 45-minute play performed by emerging theater companies and new talent in an informal, black-box theater setting. We recommend ordering lunch through the theater's website, which guarantees you a seat. Check website for schedule; about $12 for lunch and ticket; 602/254-7399. –Nora Burba Trulsson

$45 Eat at a (teaching) chef's table
Instead of envying the celebrities and guests on Emeril Live, who sit at the counter and sample the chef's creations, get a similar experience at Chef's Table, in Tubac, Arizona. There, guests chat with executive chef Noah Aguilar as he prepares a five-course meal featuring dishes like achiote-marinated wild salmon stuffed with crab and sweet corn. Tue–Sat; $45, excluding drinks; 520/398-8501. –Teresa Bitler

$25: Be a winemaker (for two hours)
Shadow Matt and Patrick Rawn, owners of Two Mountain Winery in Washington's Yakima Valley. They'll have you pluck and taste grapes, operate the crush machinery, and, finally, taste the vineyard's wine. Oct 18; $25; 509/829-3900. –Molly Berman

$5: Upgrade your wardrobe
At the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Scholarship Store in Los Angeles, prices for donated, often name-brand merchandise are ridiculously low: flirty cotton skirts, $1; Rampage and Arden B. slacks, $5 each; bathing suits, $2; belts, $2. And, best of all, store profits go mainly to student scholarships. Closed Sun; 213/624-1200. –Valerie Nelson

FREE

Catch a concert
As if the botanical garden and boats weren't enough of a draw to Seattle's Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, get this: Through Labor Day, there are free after-noon jazz, swing, and musical theater concerts at the locks too. Get there early to stake out your picnic spot, and bike or walk to avoid parking fees. Sat–Sun and holidays through Sep 1; 206/783-7059. –Jess Thomson

Watch ballet under the stars
Ballet Arizona goes outside this month with its Ballet Under the Stars series. Costumed company dancers reprise bits from past seasons and experiment with new work at grassy metro Phoenix settings that include a historic ranch in Glendale and an amphitheater in Tempe. 602/343-6500. –Nora Burba Trulsson

Take in masterpieces
At the Getty Center and Getty Villa in Los Angeles, you can see some of the world's most important works of art for free. Parking costs $8, but the smart money gets there by bus or bike. Villa closed Tue–Wed, reservations required; center closed Mon; 310/440-7300. –Matthew Jaffe

 

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