Want to Travel Without Breaking the Bank? Here Are Budget-Friendly Vacation Suggestions

People enjoying a sunny day on the beach – Puerto Rico. (Photo by: Edwin Remsberg/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) VW Pics Group/Universal Images v

Every new year brings the prospect of new experiences, especially in the form of travel. Although it gives you precious memories from new adventures, traveling can drain your savings. You might start to panic when dollar signs fill your eyes and the digits start to add up. The list of costs can be long, including trips to and from the airport or parking, flights, gas money, rental cars, hotels, food and entertainment.

Travel is an investment in knowledge, new or improved skills and relationships, and mental memories that stay with you and your camera roll forever. Travel costs depend on where you live, but some experiences are more budget-friendly so you can make the trip with less financial burden. To get the best of both worlds, here’s a list of destination ideas that fill your cup without emptying your wallet. (Some recommended destinations on this list assume you live on the east coast of the United States; obviously, air travel costs will vary depending on your location.)


Do you want to stay close to home without much travel involved but take in new sights and escapes? Or, you might want to learn more about local activities and landmarks. You are a tourist in or near the place you call home. Whether you sleep at home or in a hotel, a vacation stay is easy and the costs of flights or gas are minimized or reduced. Explore nearby towns, eat at popular restaurants, and discover historic buildings and towns. A new life can be a few hours’ drive from your home, whether you live in a city and drive to the nearest beach, or live in the suburbs and hike into the nearest mountain range . A simple internet search for things to do near you brings up an abundance of holiday ideas just around the corner.

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Visit friends or family

Maybe bunking with other people isn’t your ideal situation, or maybe you’d love the opportunity to spend extra time with friends and family. Staying with family while traveling means no accommodation costs and more money in your wallet to save or spend on experiences, food and transport. It’s worth considering who you could stay with near destinations you wanted to explore.

Take a trip out West

You may be able to take a budget-friendly vacation out West with stunning mountain views. Spend your days camping, hiking, and enjoying the peaceful outdoors, and your nights gazing up at the undisturbed night sky full of stars. Flights to Phoenix are more affordable, and a rental car takes you just over 3 hours to the magnificent Grand Canyon. If you want to get to the Grand Canyon faster, fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, which is also reasonably priced. Camp out in the park, stay in a budget-friendly hotel, or experience the true West while staying at a gig ranch.


An airship is seen hovering over the Everglades wetlands in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

Often for less than $200, you can be in sunny Florida in no time, where there are a variety of beautiful vacation spots with different atmospheres. The famous Walt Disney World can be expensive if you go often in the parks and stay on site, but the trip will be full of beautiful memories, especially if you go with children. A Disney vacation can be planned for less if you book certain packages, stay in specific accommodations, or visit just one park. Cheaper trips to Florida with outdoor activities include learning to surf on the beaches of the North East coast, visiting the natural springs to see marine life like manatees and fish through the crystal clear waters, or taking an airboat ride through the alligator-infested Everglades. You can enjoy the bright blue sparkling waters of Miami and its thrilling nightlife, or explore the West coast with its calm and warm Gulf waters that feel like the Caribbean.

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Washington, DC and Virginia

A trip to the Washington Metropolitan Area is a must for history buffs. Flights to our nation’s capital are economical and open up a world of museums, monuments, events and architecture. The Smithsonian boasts an incredible national museum packed with history and art and is home to a 3,200-acre zoo.

Travel a few hours south to immerse yourself in historic villages that transport you hundreds of years in our country’s history. Colonial Williamsburg was one of the first purposeful cities in the United States and served as an educational, cultural and political center. As you walk around town and tour the beautiful historic buildings, employees greet you in 18th century attire and educate you about life in Williamsburg back in time.

New York City

New York City is an exciting place to visit and is full of things to do and see. NYC offers Broadway shows, incredible art museums, the magnificent Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, vibrant Times Square, and beautiful Rockefeller Center lit up during the holidays. Flights to the city can be budget-friendly, but food, accommodation and entertainment costs are higher than elsewhere. If you want to see the sites of New York City on a budget, stay outside the city and take the subway or trains. Dine at less famous but delicious restaurants for a lower bill and check out the best menu deals online.

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Puerto Rico

Flights to Puerto Rico, especially its capital, San Juan, are cheap and give you an international feel without being completely removed from the United States. The American territory has great sandy beaches and surfing hot spots like Rincón, Aguadilla, Vieques, and Luquillo. For a city that also feels like a beach, San Juan is steeped in Spanish history. In the capital, you will find cathedrals and ancient forts and walk through quaint and colorful towns. You can even experience the only tropical rainforest in America’s collection of national forests. El Yunque encompasses 29,000 acres and offers spectacular views and waterfalls. You can even hear the iconic sound of Puerto Rico’s coquí frog.

Central America

Some flights to Central America aren’t as budget-friendly as our other options, but once you arrive, the costs are economical. The most affordable option is to get food through local street vendors, using the bus system, and staying in a hostel. Hostels are shared accommodations with lower nightly rates and are a great way to save money on vacation. In areas like Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica, you’ll find rich culture, delicious cuisine, pristine beaches, and peaceful rainforests filled with wildlife. Visit between December and April for a warm and dry climate.

Want to Travel Without Breaking the Bank?  Here are some Budget Friendly Vacation Ideas


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