Traveling and exploring the world doesn’t have to be expensive — you must know where to go and how to find the hidden gems once you reach your destination.
The cheapest destinations in the US are often hidden in plain sight. From national parks to free attractions, the USA offers possibilities for experiencing culture, rich history, and incredible sights. Keep reading for all the best affordable vacation spots in the US.
Best Cheap Places to Travel in the US
1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Nicknamed “The Big Friendly,” Oklahoma City is a great travel destination for penny-pinchers. There are quite a few attractions you can do that will cost you next to nothing. It’s one of the cheapest travel destinations in its region.
Oklahoma City is home to a long stretch of the historic Route 66, which you can drive down and visit the infamous Arcadia Round Barn and Pop’s Soda Shop. Pay homage to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by exploring the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum grounds.
Explore downtown OKC and catch a Minor League Dodgers game at Bricktown Ballpark for under $20. Spend the day at Scissortail Park, enjoy free outdoor concerts, cool off in the splash pad, and delight in the affordable food trucks parked nearby. Take a free tour of the capital and admire the historic architecture.
Oklahoma City Travel Budget – Approx Total $350:
- Flights: As low as $59 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is around $11. Don’t miss OKC’s popular affordable spot, The Garage, for burgers and beers at grice prices.
- Hotel stay: As low as $78 at Booking.com
- Getting around: Explore downtown on a Lime scooter or call an Uber to get home safely. You can also rent a car for as low as $252 for three days.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US
2. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a must-see location to get an authentic taste of life in Texas, American history, and Mexican culture. It’s a very affordable city that welcomes tourists all year round. Texas is one of the cheapest states to visit, with much to offer travelers.
One of the most popular things to do in San Antonio and attractions in the city is free — the San Antonio River Walk. The River Walk is nearly 15 miles, so get your walking shoes on!
Explore one of the many public parks, including Eisenhower Park, Brackenridge Park, the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the Botanical Gardens. For a dose of history, visit The Alamo, one of the most historical sites in the US.
Try Natural Bridge Caverns for cave tours. The San Antonio Ghost Tour is $30 but worth every penny. Go for a swim at Pickrell Park or picnic at Crescent Bend Nature Park.
San Antonio Travel Budget – approx total $325:
- Flights: As low as $53 on Skyscanner
- Food: When dining out, each meal is around $13. For affordable dining, Schilo’s has tasty options at great prices.
- Hotel stay: As low as $82 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Use VIA Metropolitan Transit for local transportation. Uber is also available in the city. Rent a car for as low as $222 for three days.
See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah, should be at the top of your list if you’re planning a fall trip and want to save money. The city’s free parks, museums, and churches make it an affordable destination. In Utah, Salt Lake City is king!
Widely known for its large Mormon population, Salt Lake City is home to Historic Temple Square in the downtown district and is free to explore. You shouldn’t miss a visit to the Henry J. Wheeler Farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the remaining 19th Century farmsteads.
Visit the Utah State Capitol Building and take a free guided tour. Enjoy stunning views from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Spend the day at Sugar House Park, with playgrounds for kids, three miles of bike paths, athletic fields, and more.
Salt Lake City Travel Budget – approx total $350:
- Flights: As low as $33 on Skyscanner
- Food: Meals average around $14 at cheap restaurants. For affordable dining in Salt Lake City, try Chunga’s Mexican restaurant.
- Hotel stay: 2 nights for $142 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Day passes are $5 on the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). Uber operates out of the city. Rent a car for $197 for three days.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri, is most well-known for its jazz, friendly locals, and delicious barbecue. A bustling downtown area offers great shops, restaurants, and things to see. Spend some time at the Crown Center downtown for great entertainment and people-watching.
Take a stroll through the City Market, the city’s open marketplace, where Kansas City businesses sell groceries, gifts, produce, spices, and more. If you’re looking for BBQ that won’t break the bank, check out BBQ Shack Worth HD. Missouri is one of the best cheap states to visit, and its BBQ is some of the best in the country.
Explore the shops at Country Club Plaza. Visit Union Station and enjoy the stunning architecture. See some underwater creatures at SEA LIFE Kansas City. Catch a free concert in the Power & Light District. Listen to the sweet sounds of jazz for free at Chaz on the Plaza.
Kansas City Travel Budget – Approx total $350:
- Flights: As low as $67 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal at a cheap restaurant is $11. For affordable dining in Kansas City, try Pigwich (as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!).
- Hotel stay: As low as $59 on Booking.com
- Getting around: RideKC is the public transportation system; one ride is $1.50. The KC Streetcar rides through the heart of downtown and is free. Rent a car for $166 for three days.
See Related: Best Skyscanner Alternatives to Book Travel
5. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the cheapest cities you can visit in the US, so we recommend planning a trip to this southwestern paradise rich in Native American history.
Albuquerque has fantastic museums with free admission that are educational and entertaining. Stop at the Old Town of Albuquerque to learn about the town’s history, window shop, and explore.
If you are looking for other places to visit in New Mexico, you can’t miss the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, which preserves rock carvings made by Native Americans and Spanish settlers between 400 and 700 years ago.
Outdoor enthusiasts can spend the day hiking or biking at Open Space public park. Stop at the University of New Mexico museums to learn about the area’s culture, art history, and ecological footprint. Go fishing at Tingley Beach.
Albuquerque Travel Budget – Approx total $250:
- Flights: As low as $79 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is $13. For cheap meals in Albuquerque, don’t miss Frontier Restaurant.
- Hotel stay: As low as $55 on Booking.com
- Getting around: ABQ Ride city buses offer one-way rides for $1, and a day pass is $2. The New Mexico Rail Runner train will take you to Santa Fe, the state’s capital. Uber and Lyft are also available. Rent a car for $200 for three days.
See Related: New Mexico vs. Colorado
6. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, may not strike you as one of the cheapest cities in the US. Still, if you plan accordingly and visit in the slower months, you’ll find it’s an ideal tourist destination that doesn’t require a big budget. You’ll enjoy a lot of fun things to do in Charleston.
Enjoy gorgeous scenery, waterfront parks, a quick drive to Folly Beach, and experience that infamous southern charm anywhere. Stroll the Charleston City Market, with four blocks of small businesses and locals selling goods.
Walk The Battery, a defensive seawall and promenade in Charleston with famous antebellum homes. Take in the sights from Charleston Waterfront Park, like the harbor and the Cooper River. Enjoy a guided walking history and bar tour. Don’t miss a peek at Rainbow Row, with thirteen pastel-colored historic homes in South Carolina.
Charleston Travel Budget – Approx total $400:
- Flights: As low as $57 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is $18. For affordable eats in Charleston, try the Brown Dog Deli.
- Hotel stay: As low as $70 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Rent a car for $246 for three days. The public transportation system is CARTA; a one-way ride is $2. A weekly pass is $15. The city also has Uber and Lyft.
See Related: Incredible Places to Travel Without a Passport
7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The city of brotherly love would love to host you on your family vacation; we know you’ll have a blast exploring this big city filled with cool attractions.
Save money and witness American history at Independence Hall; it’s a must-see and is free. Stand in the room where the Declaration of Indepnce was signed in 1776. Experience the Liberty Bell in real life at Independence Hall National Historical Park.
Hang out at Spruce Street Harbor Park or Franklin Square for fresh air and sunshine. Visit popular public art like the iconic LOVE sculpture and the Rocky Statue, two free attractions in Philadelphia. Stroll through Elfreth’s Alley, home to 18th Century colonial Philadelphians. Take a guided ghost tour by candlelight.
Philadelphia Travel Budget – Approx total $400:
- Flights: As low as $44 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal at a cheap restaurant is $14. For affordable dining in Philly, try High Street on Market.
- Hotel stay: As low as $35 on Booking.com
- Getting around: SEPTA(train, bus, trolley, subway) is the best way to explore Philadelphia. One-way rides are $2.50. Ride-sharing like Uber and Lyft are available. Rent a car for $36 a day.
See Related: Things to Do in Fayetteville, North Carolina
8. San Diego, California
San Diego, California, may not be one of the cheapest places to travel compared to others on this list, but if you visit in the off-months, you’re in luck. Save a few dollars on travel and splurge on a luxury hotel room instead.
The iconic West Coast town has free beaches, parks, and waterfront views that are completely free to visit. For budget travelers who love sunshine, this is reason enough to plan a trip!
There are many things to do in San Diego, from wandering through Seaport Village and enjoying stunning views of the ocean. Explore the oldest home in historic Old Town, Casa de Aguirre. Visit Casa de Estudillo, a National Historic Landmark. Check out Balboa Park via a walking tour. Watch yachts and ships pass the San Diego Bay on the Embarcadero, and go on an adventure in the Gaslamp Quarter.
San Diego Travel Budget – approx total $450:
- Flights: As low as $33 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is $15. For cheap and tasty food in San Diego, try The Kebab Shop.
- Hotel stay: As low as $85 at Booking.com
- Getting around: Catch the trolley for $2.50 a ride. FRED (Free Ride Everywhere Downtown) is a free shuttle in downtown San Diego—zip around town on a Lime scooter. Uber, Lyft, and taxis are also available. Rent a car for $300 for three days.
See Related: Best Museums in San Diego, California
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
Despite what travel guides say, New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the cheapest places to travel — not during Mardi Gras! For budget travelers, New Orleans checks every box. Amazing culture, incredible food, and affordable hotel prices.
No matter when you visit, a stroll through the French Quarter is a must on your itinerary: witness live music, wild crowds, and tasty beverages on Bourbon Street. You’ll find reasonable prices for drinks and food away from the French Quarter if you’re looking for cheap places to eat.
Wander along Woldenberg Riverfront Park. Ride the Canal Street Ferry for $2. People watch on Bourbon Street. Explore the eclectic shops on Magazine Street. Enjoy live jazz music at the Jazz Museum. Book a sightseeing tour. Bike down the Lafitte Greenway. Enjoy a free tour on foot.
New Orleans Travel Budget – Approx totals $425:
- Flights: As low as $52 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is $14. Give Parran’s Po-Boys Uptown a shot for authentic and affordable Louisiana cuisine.
- Hotel stay: As low as $58 at Booking.com
- Getting around: Most visitors walk around the city of New Orleans. Streetcars are another popular mode of transportation. Use Uber, Lyft, or a taxi to get to the airport. Rent a car for $162 for 3 days.
See Related: Best Restaurants In The New Orleans French Quarter
10. Savannah, Georgia
There are so many completely free things to do in Savannah, Georgia, making it one of the cheapest vacations you can take. Hotel rates are reasonable, and there aren’t any major attractions to jack up the prices during particular seasons. You’ll experience lovely southern charm and enjoy exploring the city proper any time of year.
Stroll through the beautiful Forsyth Park and visit the various squares and parks in the heart of the city. Take a free walking tour to learn more about the city’s history.
Visit Tybee Island and soak up some sun at the beach. Admire the Botanical Garden’s natural beauty, or hike at McQueen’s Island Trail. Tour the Ghost Coast Distillery for free.
Savannah Travel Budget – Approx total $375:
- Flights: As low as $48 from New York on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is $18. Affordable dining can be found at Fire Street Food.
- Hotel stay: As low as $75 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Bike your way through the city, or ride on the Savannah Belles Ferry. The DOT Bus will get you anywhere you need to go for free or a Pedicab if you need to rest your feet. Rent a car for $258 for three days.
See Related: Websites to Find Cheap Flights AND Hotels
11. Pensacola, Florida
On the hunt for a beach town that’s also one of the cheapest places to travel? Pensacola is a vastly underrated vacation spot just south of Tallahassee, with some of the most pristine and sparkling beaches for miles.
Dip your toes in the ocean at one of Pensacola’s many public beaches. Local favorites include Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Gulf Islands National Seashore. Take your pup to Dog Beach or see if the fish are biting on Fort Pickens Pier. Cheap attractions include a dolphin tour, a ghost and graveyard tour, and a guided Pensacola Historic Landmarks tour.
Visit public parks, like Buccaneer State Park and Big Lagoon State Park. Catch a ball game at Blue Wahoos Ballpark. Visit the Pensacola lighthouse and stroll through Pensacola Historic Village for a history lesson. Take a day to explore the nearby Santa Rosa Island.
Pensacola Travel budget – Approx total $300:
- Flights: As low as $137 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is around $16. Tasty, cheap meals are great at The Dog House.
- Hotel stay: As low as $74 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Rent a car for $168 for 3 days. Use the seasonal trolley or the ECAT bus system. A one-way ride costs $1.75, and a 7-day pass costs $14.50.
See Related: Best Places to Travel in December on a Budget
12. Manteo, North Carolina
Manteo is a little beach town on the Outer Banks in North Carolina with a quaint downtown area, beautiful beaches, and friendly locals who will show you around.
Go cast a line on the Rodanthe Pier, swim, and play all day at Salvo Beach. If you’re on a quest for a beach vacation, the Outer Banks is an affordable destination, with many towns and beach cities close to Manteo that are easily accessible. Explore downtown Mateo and its unique shops and restaurants that will lead you to the Harbor.
For cheap attractions, try a walking ghost tour. Get your jump on at JumpMasters OBX Fun Park. Explore the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island if it’s raining. Visit the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, which contains artifacts from the Lost Colonists who disappeared in the 1500s.
Travel budget – approx total $350:
- Flights: As low as $54 from Virginia on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal when dining out is $13. Cheap dining can be found at The Hungry Pelican.
- Hotel stay: As low as $149 at Booking.com
- Getting around: Once you land at Norfolk Airport in Virginia, rent a car for $154 for three days and drive to Manteo. In town, you can walk or bike to most destinations.
See Related: Best Beaches in the US to Visit
13. Phoenix, Arizona
The desert town of Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the cheapest places to travel to, especially in the summertime. If the heat doesn’t bother you, Phoenix has fun, cheap things to do all over the city and surrounding areas.
Downtown Phoenix has great nightlife, from live music and unique restaurants to bars, pubs, and event spaces. Explore the Arizona State University campus with its sprawling lawns and gorgeous buildings.
Among the best things to do in Phoenix is to visit museums. Plenty of Phoenix’s museums offer Free Museum Days, including the Children’s Museum and the Desert Botanical Garden. There are free public parks and splash pads all over Phoenix; try Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek for the best public parks.
Visit the Phoenix Zoo for an affordable entrance fee of $26, much cheaper than zoos in other areas. The Grand Canyon is about 3 hours and 40 minutes from Phoenix, but it’s worth the trip if you have the time.
Phoenix Travel budget – Approx total $375:
- Flights: As low as $32 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is around $15. Try Maria’s Frybread for cheap local dining.
- Hotel stay: As low as $40 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Rent a car for $209 for three days. Uber and Lyft are both available in Phoenix and surrounding cities. Ride the Valley Metro bus and light rail for $4 per day or a 7-day pass for $20.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Arizona
14. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Add Virginia Beach to your list of cheap vacations that you shouldn’t put off. For cheap things to do in Virginia Beach, the list is long. For starters, hit the beach! Oceanfront Resort Beach, Chesapeake Bay Beach, and Sandbridge Beach are all completely free to the public.
Visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse, First Landing State Park, and stroll through the Virginia Legends Walk to learn about legendary Virginians from the state’s history. Go for a kayak ride, enjoy the wildlife at False Cape State Park, and support local businesses at Virginia Beach’s Farmer’s Markets.
In the summer, the Live! The Atlantic program features great entertainment on Atlantic Avenue, like magicians, jugglers, music, and more.
Virginia Beach Travel budget – approx total $350:
- Flights: As low as $84 from California on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is around $8. For delicious, affordable food in Virginia Beach, try Rick’s Cafe.
- Hotel stay: As low as $66 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Hampton Roads Transit is the city bus in Virginia Beach. A one-day pass is $1.50, and a 7-day pass is $22. If you’re staying in the Resort Beach area, the Wave Trolley or seasonal shuttles can take you anywhere you want to go. Visitors often get around on foot or bike. There are also taxis, Uber, and Lyft. Rent a car for $154 for three days.
See Related: Best Beaches in Virginia to Visit
15. Indianapolis, Indiana
Known for its Formula One race and the Indy 500, Indy draws in thrill seekers from all over. We have no doubt you’ll enjoy all the exciting, cheap places to visit in Indianapolis.
Visit Monument Circle for a daily light show in the summer months. First Friday in the Old Northside neighborhood removes entrance fees to art galleries. Explore the sprawling gardens and eclectic art at Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple. Indy has over 200 city parks, so you’ll never run out of cheap things to do.
Join a free public tour of Indiana Landmarks. Walk or bike the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Check out the large murals on Massachusetts Avenue. Don’t miss the beauty of Crown Hill Cemetery.
Pay your respects at the city’s vast number of war memorials, and enjoy a free concert or a long walk on the Central Canal. Indiana offers tons of history and culture and is one of the coolest cheap travel destinations in the US.
Indianapolis Travel budget – Approx total $350:
- Flights: As low as $54 from New York on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is $11. Don’t miss Steer-In for cheap, local dining in Indy.
- Hotel stay: As low as $60 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Rent a car for $173 for three days. The city also offers Uber, Lyft, and taxi services. IndyGo is the public transportation system; a one-day pass costs $4.
See Related: Cheap Places to Travel
16. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls in South Dakota draws millions of tourists each year, but it’s still one of the cheapest cities in the US for travelers. There are many fun things to do in Sioux Falls to experience.
You can’t miss the waterfalls at Falls Park, one of the most iconic views in town. Looking for some exercise? Ride through the Sioux Falls Bike trails and take in the gorgeous scenery. Wander around downtown, keeping your eyes peeled for metal, glass, and wood creations that make up the ScultpureWalk.
Visit the Butterfly House & Aquarium for just $14. Visit the shops, cafes, theaters, and museums in downtown Sioux Falls for tasty treats, casual dining, and great people-watching.
You can’t miss the Big Sioux Recreation Area fun on the Big Sioux River. Offering many outdoor adventures like snowmobiling, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and camping.
Sioux Falls Travel budget – Approx total $375:
- Flights: As low as $54 from New York on Skyscanner
- Food: An average meal dining out is $13. For cheap dining, try Phillips Avenue Diner.
- Hotel stay: As low as $93 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Ride the city bus for $1.50 per ride, or get a 7-day pass for $12.50. Uber and Lyft are also available. Rent a car for $362 for three days.
See Related: Historic Landmarks in the USA
17. Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is a great place to travel — it’s a cheaper alternative than staying in New York City, but still just 20 minutes away. You can save a few dollars on hotel rates by staying in Jersey City but still have access to all the exciting attractions.
See some amazing views from Liberty State Park with the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline in the distance. While you’re there, pay your respects to the victims of 9/11 at The Empty Sky.
Visit historic Hamilton Park or Lincoln Park for great walking areas, playgrounds, and picnic facilities. In the winter, go ice skating at Pershing Field Park. If you plan to visit New York City, book a tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It’s a must-see, and you won’t regret it.
Jersey City Travel budget – Approx total $400:
- Flights: As low as $42 from Florida on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal cost when dining out is $12. Get cheap food at Rumba’s Cafe in Jersey City.
- Hotel stay: As low as $98 on Booking.com
- Getting around: If you plan to drive to NYC, rent a car for $191 for three days or ride the train for $3. In Jersey City, Uber and Lyft operate along with many taxi services.
See Related: Best East Coast Vacation Spots in the US
18. Portland, Maine
Portland is Maine’s biggest city by population and is a great spot for budget travelers. Portland offers many cheap things to occupy your time and will be a very memorable vacation spot.
Discover the foodie scene in Old Port, taste the local craft beer on a brewery tour, or visit the Portland Museum of Art on Fridays from 4 to 8 pm, when entrance fees are waived.
Where you save money on hotels and attractions, make sure you splurge on a one-of-a-kind lobster meal. The best lobster joints in Portland are DiMillo’s on the Water, Luke’s at Portland Pier, and Lobster Shack at Two Lights.
Plan a trip to Casco Bay Islands by riding the ferry from Portland. For cheap things to do in Portland, head 9 miles south to Cape Elizabeth for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and local lighthouses.
Portland Travel budget – Approx total $450:
- Flights: As low as $108 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal cost when dining out is $15. Becky’s Diner is a local favorite for affordable meals.
- Hotel stay: As low as $199 on Booking.com, or a bed at a local hostel for $65 per night
- Getting around: Rent a car for $91 a day. Ride the Portland Metro bus for $1 daily if you pay with cash ($2 otherwise). Uber and Lyft both operate out of Portland.
See Related: Top 10 Places to Travel
19. Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital of the great state of Washington and is located about 60 miles southwest of Seattle. The easiest way to get to Olympia is by way of Seattle, whether renting a car, riding a bus, or taking an Uber.
Olympia is widely known as a nature conservation area, with an array of public parks and scenic views for travelers. It’s a wonderful destination for budget travelers who love the outdoors.
Explore the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and admire the plentiful wildlife and amazing photo ops. Visit the Washington State Capitol and learn about the history of the state.
Olympia’s free public parks, including Priest Point Park and Percival Landing, are worth visiting. Percival Landing is close to the Olympia Farmer’s Market and has a nice boardwalk to explore, so you can spend the entire day outside.
Olympia Travel budget – approx total $375:
- Flights: As low as $85 from Philadelphia on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is around $15. For cheap food in Olympia, check out Rush In Dumplings.
- Hotel stay: In nearby Tumwater, as low as $128 a night on Booking.com
- Getting around: The best way to get to Olympia is via Seattle. Rent a car for $177 for 3 days.
20. Memphis, Tennessee
A trip to the birthplace of blues, soul, and rock ‘n roll deserves a spot on your cheap travel bucket list. Explore the University of Memphis and all its grandiose buildings and culture. For cheap things to do in the city, visit the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for $10.
See where rock ‘n roll was born at Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King recorded iconic albums. Pop into the Blues Hall of Fame for a glimpse at one-of-a-kind albums and photographs from famous blues artists like Muddy Waters, Pee Wee Crayton, and more.
Witness Memphis’ most iconic sites for yourself on a guided city tour downtown, including the Pyramid and the Lorraine Motel. Tour Memphis: Stax Museum of American Soul Music for $13. If you’re in the mood to splurge, visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Memphis is one of the cheapest places to travel with the most culture and rich history in the USA.
Memphis Travel budget – approx total $300:
- Flights: As low as $52 on Skyscanner
- Food: Average meal dining out is $14. For cheap Mexican food in Memphis, try Maciel’s on Main.
- Hotel stay: As low as $36 on Booking.com
- Getting around: Locals get around Memphis on the MATA Transit, bus, or trolley system. A day pass is $2. Uber and Lyft are available in Memphis. Rent a car for $196 for 3 days.
See Related: Best Things to do in Tennessee & Places to Visit
21. Washington, DC
Visiting our nation’s capital doesn’t have to break the bank. There are ways to save money and still experience the magic and history of DC; you need to know where to look.
Enjoy the best things to do in Washinton, DC, like joining tours. Take a free tour of the US Capitol building or a free walking tour to see the best views of the White House—experience DC’s culture and art through an immersive art tour.
For cheap attractions, explore Arlington National Cemetery by tram. Visit National Mall for a free Smithsonian Museum trip. Explore the quaint streets and colorful homes of Georgetown. Make a stop at the Lincoln Memorial to see where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Washington D.C. Travel budget – approx total $450:
- Flights: As low as $80 from Dallas on Skyscanner
- Food: Cheap meal at a casual restaurant is around $18. For cheap hoagies in DC, try Bub and Pop’s.
- Hotel stay: As low as $54 per night at a hostel on Booking.com
- Getting around: Rent a bike for your stay, walk, or ride a scooter. Traveling by the MetroRail train system is easy to navigate, and each ride varies between $1 and $6.
See Related: Tips for Traveling to Washington D.C. on a Budget
How to Travel Cheap & Cut Costs – Tips to Travel on a Budget
Finding the cheapest places to travel in the US can be done if you know where to look and are willing to be flexible with dates, destinations, and forms of travel. Cheap vacations may be challenging, but here are a few ways to save money and still see your favorite cities.
1. Book domestic flights strategically
Flights typically decrease in price on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings, so set alerts and look for reduced prices for destinations on your travel bucket list. Fly with a budget airline to save major cash.
If you can, sign up for Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) to let the cheap flights come directly to you. You can sign up for a free trial or buy a premium subscription to get unlimited deals your way.
2. Find cheaper alternatives to hotels
Explore hostels, Airbnbs, and room share options to significantly save lodging costs. Do your research, read reviews, and ensure the locations you are considering are safe, clean, and what you expect.
3. Sign up for a credit card that offers travel rewards
If you love to travel and use a credit card for major purchases or daily spending, you can maximize your dollars spent with a travel credit card. Frequent travelers can earn points by spending money on basic purchases — every dollar spent is worth a number of points that you can later apply towards travel, flights, hotels, and more.
4. Be flexible and spontaneous
When you plan a trip, have a few must-see attractions on your itinerary, but leave a day or two open for spontaneity. This leaves room for random adventures and last-minute discounts or sales on attractions.
See Related: Essential Vacation Tips for Travel
5. Visit expensive destinations in the off-season
Whether it’s New Orleans in the fall or Washington D.C. in mid-winter, you’ll find that the hot spots in the US are affordable vacation spots in the off-season. They aren’t always the cheapest places to travel in the US, but if they’re on your must-see list, be flexible on the season so you can still experience the destination.
All the best cheap places to vacation in the US are on this list. With some research, effort, and budgeting, we’re confident you can plan an exciting, affordable trip for the memory books.
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