For most of us, summer means an escape from work or school. Our tight budgets, though, mean that we need to find affordable vacation spots. There are ways to create an affordable vacation other than the location you choose, as we discussed here. But in this article, we will focus on some of the most highly rated affordable vacation spots around the world.
Affordable Vacation Spots State-Side
If you prefer to remain in the U.S. for your vacation, you might want to consider these gems.
GoBankingRates.com conducted a survey to find the most affordable US cities to visit. They looked at airfare and hotel prices, safety, and food and beverage costs. Making their list of affordable vacation spots were:
San Jose, California. Not only is it affordable to get there, but this Silicon Valley city offers lots of free attractions, such as museums, outdoor recreation areas, and hiking destinations. It is a perfect vacation spot whether traveling solo or with children.
Seattle, Washington. Airfare to this stunning city is among the most affordable according to GoBankingRates and what you spend on your hotel will stay within your budget. But, the survey did find that dining out is expensive. It is a gorgeous city though, and you can balance out what you spend for more expensive dining by taking advantage of the city’s many free activities. Venues such as Pike Place Market offer free food samples. Just visit all the vendors and fill up for breakfast and lunch.
San Diego, California. Believe it or not, this sunny city is among the safest and most affordable of US cities. With gorgeous beaches and a thriving restaurant scene, you are sure to find plenty of ways to enjoy your vacation. San Diego’s unique neighborhoods can be explored by foot, minimizing your out-of-pocket costs for touring around in the city.
San Diego is great for families too. There are many kid-friendly museums, water parks, theme parks, and of course more than 70 miles of beaches. Be sure to check out Legoland and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Many of the hotels have children’s activities to keep them busy when you’re not at the beach.
Denver, Colorado. Denver came in 6th on the GoBankingRate.com survey. Airfare to the Mile-High City is very affordable, although hotel rates fall more in the middle. If you love the outdoors, Denver is an excellent choice. The city and surrounding area are filled with free venues where you can explore the mountains and valleys of the Rockies. The Beer Trail featuring 35 of the city’s microbreweries is perfect for beer lovers.
Orlando, Florida. Number 1 on the GoBankingRate list is Orlando. Airfares are affordable, food and beverage costs are among the lowest in the US, and there are plenty of cheap things to do, going to Disney World not being among them.
Sante Fe, New Mexico makes the list of travel experts. If you love art and nature, this historic southwestern city is waiting for you. In addition to being an affordable vacation spot, Sante Fe offers some of the most spectacular scenery of any American city. A favorite with artists and healers, the city has more than 200 restaurants, 300 art galleries and hundreds of small boutiques. Special fairs and festivals are happening year-round. There are many activities for free or close to free.
Ready to go overseas? You can find affordable vacation spots outside of the US too. Consider these:
Albufeira, Portugal. Albufeira’s inexpensive apartment-style hotels make this city an affordable vacation destination. Shop at the local markets and minimize the number of restaurant meals. The beautiful beaches, vibrant night-life, cultural sites and easy access to other Portugal locations makes Albufeira a very good choice for your summer vacation. Meals and beverages are affordable, especially the wine, of which there are plenty of choices in Portugal. Summer is going to be busier as it is a popular tourist destination during this time, but you will still find it to be affordable.
Thailand. For the ultimate in an affordable vacation, you cannot do much better than Thailand. The weather is not so great in the summer, you might prefer to save this destination for a winter or fall vacation. But the costs of a vacation in Thailand are affordable no matter the time of year. Everything about your trip to Thailand will be memorable, from the beaches to the mouth-watering cuisine.
Bottom line: Make sure you included “vacation” in your annual budget, even an affordable one. Minimize credit card use, look for free stuff to do and come home debt-free.