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Best Places To Travel on a Budget in the U.S.

September 27, 2023 By CityPASS

Travel can be expensive, especially when you've got a family in tow. But savvy travelers make it work by finding affordable activities everyone can enjoy. So, if you want to plan a vacation that doesn't break the bank, here are some tips on how to travel cheap in the USA.

What Should You Consider When Planning a Budget-Friendly Trip?

When looking for the best places to travel in the U.S. on a budget, several factors can affect the cost of your vacation. As you plan, consider the following:

  • Time of year: Prices are high in the summer, so try off-season months instead.
  • Flight date: Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly.
  • Free and low-cost activities: Natural parks, public gardens, and beaches are beautiful and great for budget travel.
  • Transportation: Consider gas costs on road trips and use public transport when you can.
  • Accommodation: Look for hotel deals or consider family-friendly hostels.

8 Cheap Travel Destinations for the Entire Family

If you're looking for cheap travels in the U.S., there are more options than you might think. Nearly every state offers an exciting, affordable city with unique attractions, rich history, and natural beauty that will leave you with lasting memories. Here are some of our top picks.

San Antonio, Texas

Known for its historical Spanish missions, including the Alamo, the average traveler to San Antonio spends about $132 per day on everyday expenses. Budget hotels and hostels can cost below $100 a day, but the average double-occupancy room runs about $137 per night. Depending on the time of year and the airline you choose, flights can be as low as $150 and go up to $400.

Activities like the San Antonio Botanical Garden and San Antonio Zoo are great affordable options for families, plus the warmer temperatures in winter make it one of the best places to travel in December.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known as the birthplace of America, Philadelphia offers endless attractions for American history buffs, including the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center, and The Franklin Institute. Travelers usually budget about $188 for everyday expenses plus an average of $151 per night for a hotel room.

Flights from major airports all over the U.S. are pretty affordable during slower travel months like September and October, with some budget airlines offering round-trip tickets for less than $200. However, if you're looking for a more well-known airline during holidays or other busy months, ticket prices can be between $400 and $500.

San Diego, California

San Diego is known for its fantastic weather, beautiful beaches, and golden sunsets. It's also ideal for enjoying thrilling theme parks, old-town trolley rides, and San Diego Bay cruises.

Although the average daily spending is steeper at $202, you can keep your costs down by spending some time at the many beaches or free summer concerts and other events San Diego offers. Double-occupancy rooms average over $200, but if you stay outside of downtown and ride San Diego's bike paths into the city, you can save some money. Flight prices depend on where you're flying from, but you can book a flight for less than $300 from many major U.S. airports during slower seasons.

Atlanta, Georgia

Known as the epicenter of the American Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is also home to remarkable Southern cuisine and attractions like the Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame.

There are always plenty of flight options, but during September and October the cheapest flights can fall below $200. From there, prices climb during the holidays and during spring and summer. With both daily costs and hotel rooms per night averaging below $200 each, Atlanta is an excellent option for budget travelers who want to enjoy the area's rich culture and even richer food.

Houston, Texas

It's not all cowboys and rodeos in Texas, and Houston proves it by increasingly becoming known for its wonderful museums. Tickets to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Space Center Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, are all remarkably affordable and amazingly fun for travelers of all ages.

Average daily costs and hotel prices can be a bit above the averages of other budget-friendly places — $262 for everyday spending and $283 per night in a hotel — but affordable entertainment averages it out with tickets to attractions mostly under $30. Plus, when the hot summer weather cools in fall, flight prices can drop into the $100 range for some cities.

Denver, Colorado

Colorado's capital city, Denver has something for everyone — sports enthusiasts, foodies, and lovers of the outdoors included. It's also home to terrific museums celebrating Colorado's beautiful landscape, history, and dedication to fine art.

Daily accommodation averages below $200 for Denver, but average daily costs peak over $200 at $218. However, it's the flight prices where you'll save money. During off-peak travel months, flights can fall below $100 on budget airlines, and even during peak travel months, it's easy to find flights for $200 to $300, making it one of the cheapest places to fly to in the U.S.

Boston, Massachusetts

Known for its wicked accents, beautiful fall colors, and stunning views from the Prudential Tower, Boston offers old-world American charm in a bustling city. Accommodation averages above $300 per night, and travelers typically budget around $250 for everyday costs. However, if you travel to Boston to take in the splendor of the leaves changing color in the fall, you can save on attraction costs.

Once again, flights are more affordable during September and October, with options falling below $300, which is perfect because it's the best time to visit the New England area and its changing fall colors.

Dallas, Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes savings. With average daily costs below $150 and hotels running around $168 a night, it's the cheapest city on this list and one of the most affordable places to travel in the U.S.

Dallas is notably home to the famous Dallas Cowboys football team, but it also boasts excellent art and cultural experiences at its many museums. Flights from most major locations in the U.S. range in the $200 to $300 price point, but from mid-October to mid-November, tickets have been spotted as low as $78 from some U.S. airports.

Explore Affordable Destinations and Visit Major Attractions With CityPASS® Tickets

CityPASS® tickets are an excellent money-saving option for travelers wondering where to travel on a budget. CityPASS® tickets offer deep discounts on top attractions in 16 major destinations. A vacation that includes world-class museums, amusement parks, and other popular attractions can be affordable with CityPASS® tickets.

Flight and hotel cost estimates in this article come from Budget Your Trip.

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