Vacation– an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or traveling.
Vacations are something that all of us enjoy. While some people prefer the staycation route, most of us want to get out of our city and travel somewhere new. Although vacations can be quite pricey (people tend to think of these trips as a time to splurge), there are destinations that can be very affordable if you do them right. Whether you are looking for a couple’s getaway, a girl’s weekend or a family trip, there are inexpensive locations and strategies for planning your trip that will keep you from breaking the bank.
Here are a few quick tips for planning your trip:
- Travel– Look for affordable airlines. Skyscanner.net as well as Google Flights are two resources that can help you find your cheapest flight option between various airlines. A general rule of thumb is to get your tickets at least two months in advance, and the best day to find these tickets is Tuesday. Some airlines that tend to be very affordable are: Wow Air, Allegiant Air, and Ryanair. Although, some of these airlines may have fees for luggage, food & drink, as well as seat selection they still may be cheaper than if you fly on an airline that includes all of these things in the ticket price. Popular airlines do have seasonal specials though, so make sure not to rule these out when looking at different destinations.
- Room and Board- When traveling, hotels are going to be your main expense besides transportation. To make your trip more affordable look into hostels as well as Airbnb. Also, check for package deals that include ticket price as well as lodging as these tend to be cheaper. Make sure to search on various websites for deals because you may find the same hotel for a cheaper price.
- Eating Out– Try to stick with reasonably priced restaurants. Do your research on the menu before you go so that you can budget accordingly. Many hotels have the option of a breakfast that is included with your stay so take advantage of that (and maybe grab a few apples to snack on later). If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, dining in occasionally on your trip can really keep your food expenses down.
Here are five affordable vacations spots to consider:
1. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina is a town nuzzled near the North Carolina border. Asheville is known for its famous landmarks, countless breweries, outdoor activities, as well as its live music venues. To time travel back to the late 1800s, make sure you check out the Biltmore. The Biltmore was the home of George Washington Vanderbilt II, and has views that are straight out of a postcard. While you are there, take advantage of the free wine tasting that comes with your admission ticket. By purchasing your ticket in advance, you will pay less than you would buying your ticket the day you are visiting. After going on a tour of the home, head over to the winery. Your admission includes a winery tour, as well as a free wine tasting. (Don’t worry your kids are able to attend the tour, they just will not be able to participate in the tasting.) During your stay in Asheville, make sure to take a walk around the downtown area. You will find many eccentric shops as well as live music. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, there are many State Parks and a National Park as well. Asheville is somewhere that the whole family can enjoy, and you can take advantage of all the free things that this city offers.
2. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital happens to be one of the most affordable travel destinations in the US. With the plethora of museums and historical landmarks, there are many things to see and a lot of them happen to be FREE. Start your trip off with a visit to the National Mall. Here, you will see many historical landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Memorial which just happen to be two of the most famous landmarks in the world. You can spend an entire day visiting the National Mall, and all of the landmarks can be viewed for free. When you have had enough of the outdoors, make sure to check out the Smithsonian Museums. The National Museum of American History and The National Museum of Natural History are two of the most popular museums in DC. Both museums are free of charge, and there are many family friendly exhibits to view. Another popular attraction is The National Zoo, it is owned by the Smithsonian so there is no charge for entry here either. Check out the Giant Panda exhibit since this is only one out of four zoos in the country to have one! D.C. has a rich culture, so you can find most anything you are looking for in this wonderful city.
3. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans (NOLA for short), is one of the most unique cities in the US. It is culturally rich and there is a lot of history around this amazing city. Besides the various affordable hotels and Airbnb’s, New Orleans is going to be somewhere you get the bang for your buck. With multiple forms of public transit in NOLA, you will be able to use your funds for fun activities such as exploring the French Quarter while also visiting restaurants with food you may not find anywhere else. One popular tourist destination that you have to visit in New Orleans is Café du Monde. It is one of the oldest restaurants in the city (be sure to get one of their famous beignets while you are there).While in New Orleans, you will likely stumble upon some free jazz concerts throughout the city so make sure to take advantage of all the wonderful music that will be around you. NOLA also offers a huge celebration in honor of Mardi Gras every year, so if you are looking for a guaranteed fun weekend in the city, make it that one!
4. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, known for its lush landscapes is great for a weekend getaway. No matter your age there is something for everyone in this town. One main attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk. The River Walk is a “verdant oasis of cypress-lined paved paths, arched stone bridges and lush landscapes.” This oasis goes right down the city center, and happens to be one of the most unique things about San Antonio. Along the River Walk there are many different places to see. You can go the historical route and see things such as the four Spanish colonial missions, while also seeing places such as the La Villira Historic Arts Village. Get your Tex-Mex on with some authentic tacos that you can find all around San Antonio for a very inexpensive meal. San Antonio also has the Alamo, which you are able to take a tour of for a small price of just $15. San Antonio has a lot to offer, including its warm weather that will make you feel like you’re getting the summer sun all year long.
5. Nashville, TN
Music City offers a lot for the whole family any time of the year! Nashville, being currently one of the fastest growing cities in the US, is a great place to visit no matter which season you decide to visit during. The people are sweet and the tea is sweeter, so this city will feel quickly feel like home. Once you arrive in Nashville, make sure to stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame. Admission is available for purchase at the museum and although it is around $25, you are able to spend hours wondering through this amazing museum. You also have the option of touring Historic RCA Studio B or Hatch Show Print with this your admission ticket. After getting your fix of country music history, swing by the Parthenon (No, not the one in Greece) to feel like you’re traveling back in time. The Parthenon is the centerpiece of Centennial Park, where you can spend the rest of your day feeding ducks, playing sports, or just lounging under one of the many trees. The Parthenon is a replica of the original, which includes a 42- foot statue of Athena inside! To end your night on the right note, stop by Nashville’s Bluebird Café. Here, you will be able to see up and coming artists, and usually you can view a show for free if you look for tickets in advance. Check out the calendar on their website in order to reserve your seat so you won’t have to stand in line all night. Nashville has many different things to offer, and lots of budget friendly things to do as well so check out Music City for a vacation you will remember!