Are you yearning for an adventure but your wallet is telling you otherwise? Fear not, fellow wanderers! The United States, with its vast landscapes and diverse cities, offers a plethora of travel destinations that won’t break the bank.
From the sun-soaked beaches of Miami to the historical landmarks of Philadelphia, there’s a budget-friendly destination for every type of traveler. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the 15 best cheap places to travel in the US. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the USA without emptying your savings!
Tips and Tricks to Save Money While Traveling
- Consider Volunteering or Work Exchanges: Many places offer work exchanges where you can work for your accommodation. This can significantly reduce your travel costs.
- Travel Off-Peak: Traveling during off-peak times can significantly reduce the cost of flights and accommodation.
- Use Public Transport: Public transport is often much cheaper than renting a car or using taxis.
- Eat Local: Eating at local restaurants or buying food from local markets can be much cheaper (and more delicious) than eating at touristy restaurants.
- Free Attractions: Many cities have free attractions, such as museums, parks, and historical sites. Be sure to take advantage of these.
- Pack a Lunch: Buying food on the go can add up. Consider packing a lunch to save money.
- Consider Camping: If you’re visiting a place with beautiful natural surroundings, consider camping instead of staying in a hotel.
Remember, the goal is to enjoy your travels without breaking the bank. With a little planning and creativity, you can have an amazing trip on a budget. Safe travels!
While Hawaii might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of budget travel, it’s possible to enjoy this paradise on a budget. While flights and resorts can be expensive, there are many volunteer opportunities in Hawaii that can help offset these costs.
Most of these involve permaculture and working on a sustainable eco-farm. If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience in diverse nature, Hawaii can be one of the best cheap tropical vacations in the US.
14. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is a top vacation spot for young people in America. It’s also one of the cheapest places to live in the US, and an amazing place to travel on a budget. While visiting Boulder, Colorado, visit the cheap eateries, bookstores, art galleries, thrift shops, and live music gigs.
Or venture outside the city for canoeing on the Boulder River and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
13. Glacier National Park, Montana
Located in the Rocky Mountains of northern Montana, Glacier National Park is a massive expanse of wilderness that is heaven to travelers seeking some real quality time with nature. The rangers here often lead free activities such as hiking and stargazing, and there is plenty of exploring you can do on your own.
The entry fee is $25 per vehicle, which isn’t too expensive for an incredible national park in the USA.
12. Moab, Utah
If you’re interested in camping, exploring the desert, and seeing mind-blowing natural rock formations, Moab is one of the best vacation spots in the US. Moab, Utah is not far from Arches National Park, a hotspot among backpackers and road-trippers in western USA.
The park entry fee is only $15 per person, which is affordable for an entire day of exploration through one of the USA’s most famous national parks.
11. Savannah, Georgia
Full of lush green gardens and historic buildings, Savannah is a truly beautiful place. Flights, transport, and accommodations are cheap, and most of the sightseeing can be done for free.
Check out the museums, the historic district, and the magical Forsyth Park, all for no money at all. Savannah is an amazing place for cheap vacations in the US.
10. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas, is a colorful town with a fusion of Mexican and Texan cuisine, architecture, and culture. You can visit the Alamo, stroll along the River Walk, eat some authentic Mexican food, or relax in one of the many parks and green spaces.
This is one of the best cheap places to vacation in the US, due to its cheap public transport prices, cheap accommodation, cheap food, and abundance of cheap or free attractions. Flights are generally cheap as well!
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
Lovers of art, music, and architecture will absolutely thrive in New Orleans. This exciting Southern city is the perfect place for cheap vacations in the US, as it is truly very cheap here year-round. Accommodation and food are affordable, and there is so much public art on display that won’t cost you a dime.
Check out the regal architecture of the French Quarter and the artwork on display in Jackson Square. Also just wander around and you’re sure to discover lots of street art and free jazz clubs, and if you go in January you can attend the parades of Mardi Gras!
8. Phoenix, Arizona
The capital city of Arizona is another one of the best cheap vacation spots in the US. Surrounded by unique desert landscapes, there are lots of cool hikes and nature to explore. South Mountain Park and Camelback Mountain are top hiking destinations, though it is recommended to visit outside summer as the heat can be extreme.
Highlights within Phoenix city include the Desert Botanical Garden, the many fascinating museums, and the exciting nightlife.
7. Detroit, Michigan
Michigan’s largest city is known for its unique museums and interesting landmarks, with the Motown Museum being one of the city’s top attractions. Detroit isn’t normally a contender for the best vacation spots in the US, but there is a cool work exchange opportunity that can offer travelers a fun experience.
You can work in a family-run guest house working on social media, maintenance, or teaching English to other volunteers.
6. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis embodies the musical spirit and Southern charm of Tennessee, and it’s affordable to visit. So as far as cheap vacations in the US go, Memphis is a great option. Cheap motels and a few hostels offer cheap accommodation for young people, and even budget hotels are plentiful.
There are so many live music venues, music studios, museums and landmarks, and historic sights to see in Memphis. Beale Street Historic District is the main hub for music, and you can often find venues with little to no cover charge. Indulge in some cheap eats at local BBQ joints as well.
5. Chicago, Illinois
As one of the most popular places to travel in the USA, Chicago is a very well-known tourist spot. It isn’t known for being cheap, but there is lots of sightseeing and museum-touring that can be done for free. You can also volunteer in a hostel doing basic housekeeping work in exchange for free accommodation.
With a free stay and lots of free time, you can easily explore Chicago on a budget.
4. Miami, Florida
Miami is surprisingly one of the best cheap tropical vacations in the US. If you fly outside peak times, such as weekends and holidays, you can find really cheap flights. Food is also affordable in Miami, Florida. Spend your vacation soaking up the sun, lounging on the beach, and just walking around sightseeing.
If you limit your partying, Miami is actually really affordable!
3. Washington DC
Washington DC is definitely not one of the cheapest places to live in the US, but it is a cheap vacation spot. If you’re just visiting for a few days, find a budget hotel or stay in a hostel.
You can spend your days enjoying the world-famous attractions like the Washington Monument, the White House, Capitol Hill, and the multiple incredible Smithsonian Museums. All of these are free to visit!
2. Portland, Maine
New England is generally an expensive area of the USA, but visiting outside the busy summer season will save you money on flights and accommodation. Portland, Maine, is a trendy town full of unique shops, art galleries, amazing restaurants and nice bars.
Take a day trip outside the city center to visit the rocky beaches and lighthouses of the wild, beautiful Maine seashore. Try to visit between September and November. The weather will be a bit cold, but the cheap prices and smaller crowds during autumn will be worth it. You may even get to see some famous New England fall foliage!
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For a vacation filled with history and excitement, Philadelphia is an amazing place to visit. With cheap public transport, cheap hotels, and lots of free attractions, you can easily explore this vibrant city on a budget. Be sure to check out the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, and the United States Mint.
All are free to visit and are vital pieces of American history.
|Location||Average Price Per Day||Affordable Things to Do|
|Hawaii||$180||Volunteering, exploring local markets, hiking|
|Boulder, Colorado||$130||Visiting bookstores, art galleries, thrift shops, canoeing, hiking|
|Glacier National Park, Montana||$70||Hiking, stargazing, exploring nature|
|Moab, Utah||$80||Camping, exploring the desert, visiting Arches National Park|
|Savannah, Georgia||$100||Visiting museums, exploring the historic district, relaxing in Forsyth Park|
|San Antonio, Texas||$90||Visiting the Alamo, strolling along the River Walk, enjoying local parks|
|New Orleans, Louisiana||$110||Exploring the French Quarter, visiting art galleries, enjoying free jazz clubs|
|Phoenix, Arizona||$95||Hiking, visiting the Desert Botanical Garden, exploring museums|
|Detroit, Michigan||$85||Visiting museums, exploring local landmarks|
|Memphis, Tennessee||$90||Enjoying live music, visiting music studios, exploring historic sights|
|Chicago, Illinois||$120||Sightseeing, museum-touring, exploring local markets|
|Miami, Florida||$115||Lounging on the beach, sightseeing, exploring local markets|
|Washington DC||$130||Visiting monuments, exploring Smithsonian Museums, sightseeing|
|Portland, Maine||$110||Exploring unique shops, visiting art galleries, enjoying local cuisine|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||$105||Visiting historic sites, exploring local markets, enjoying local parks|
Please note that the average price per day is an estimate and can vary depending on the time of year, type of accommodation, and personal spending habits. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and budgeting before your trip.
Are there any other affordable destinations in the US that didn’t make the list?
Absolutely! The United States is a vast country with a wide variety of affordable travel destinations. This list includes some of the most popular and highly recommended ones, but there are certainly others worth exploring. Some other budget-friendly destinations could include Austin, Texas; Asheville, North Carolina; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How can I find the best deals on flights to these destinations?
There are several strategies to find the best deals on flights. Consider using flight comparison websites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to compare prices from different airlines. Setting up price alerts for your desired destination and dates can also help you catch any price drops. Additionally, being flexible with your travel dates and booking well in advance can often result in cheaper fares.
What are some budget-friendly activities to do in these destinations?
Each of these destinations offers a variety of budget-friendly or free activities. For example, you could explore national parks, visit free museums, walk around historic districts, or enjoy local street art and music. It’s always a good idea to research your destination beforehand to find the best affordable activities.
What is the best time of year to visit these destinations to get the best deals?
The best time to visit for the best deals often depends on the destination. Generally, traveling during the off-peak season (outside of holidays and school vacations) can result in cheaper flights and accommodation. However, it’s important to balance this with the weather and what you want to do on your trip. For example, some outdoor activities might not be available during certain times of the year.
Are these destinations suitable for family vacations?
Yes, many of these destinations are suitable for family vacations. Places like Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Chicago have a lot of family-friendly attractions such as museums, parks, and historical sites. However, it’s always a good idea to research each destination to ensure it has the amenities and activities that your family will enjoy.
How can I save money on food while traveling to these destinations?
There are several ways to save money on food while traveling. Consider eating at local markets or food trucks, which often offer cheaper prices than sit-down restaurants. If your accommodation has a kitchen, consider cooking some of your meals. Also, many cities have “happy hour” specials where you can get discounted food and drin
And there you have it, the 15 best cheap places to travel in the US! As we’ve discovered, affordable travel doesn’t mean you have to compromise on experiences or adventures. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or a city slicker, there’s a budget-friendly destination waiting for you.
Remember, the joy of travel isn’t about how much you spend, but the memories you make and the experiences you gather. So, pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and set off on an adventure that won’t leave your wallet feeling light. Happy travels!