Vacations are expensive. When your budget is limited, it can be hard to find the right vacation for your family while staying within financial limitations. Which is the best budget vacation can depend on whether or not you have children, what you want to do and, of course, where you are - getting there can be a huge part of the price and, for larger families, it is almost always cheaper to drive than fly. For couples, it is not always so clear cut. Either way, there are definitely some destinations that are cheaper than others. Here are seven good suggestions for travelers on a budget who want to get the most trip for their buck.
- New Orleans
- Myrtle Beach
America’s oldest National Park is a great place to take the entire family. Park admission is reasonable and while lodge accommodation is expensive, you can always pack a tent. There are some days when admission to the park is free. There are also a number of other great scenic attractions that are not in the park itself, such as Earthquake Lake. Lots of great places to picnic, as well, and things to do that range from horseback riding to hiking to bicycle rental. Park admission also includes Grand Teton National Park. Just don’t bother the bison.
- Great camping
- One-of-a-kind volcanic attractions
- Likely to see bison and other wildlife
Singles and couples looking for a city break should consider New Orleans. Really? While the city can be very expensive, if you do your research, you can stay there quite cheaply, in quirky budget hotels located in historic buildings, and even enjoy jazz for cheap. Avoid the heat of the summer and book a hotel outside the popular French Quarter. Also, avoid Mardi Gras, when everything there gets more expensive and rooms often come with a five-night minimum stay. Shop wisely and look for restaurants the locals eat at and New Orleans can be surprisingly budget-friendly. Recommended for: Couples, singles, and groups of friends
- Fantastic music scene
- Easier to find hotels outside the French Quarter
- Mardi Gras is a bucket-list experience
This southern gem is not as price-friendly as it once was, but you can still get some amazing deals if you go in winter - when the climate is still quite pleasant. The city celebrates its past with gas lamps, romantic horse-drawn carriages and an antebellum feel - mixed with innovative restaurants and contemporary art. Stay at one of the city’s charming bed and breakfasts to save more money and eat lunch, not dinner, at the top restaurants. Dress up a little and you will fit in with the natives.
- Historic southern city
- Great bed and breakfast establishments
- Old-time feel
The capital of country music is well known for being a cheap getaway, with low hotel prices. As a college town, it also offers cheap but good eateries aimed at the student population. Go there for the Country Music Hall of Fame and stay for the shopping and live music. Prices are, again, lower in the winter, and Nashville’s tourism bureau has coupons on their website. Be aware that the city does not have a good public transport system, so a car will be a necessity.
- Home of the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Cheaper trip during the winter
- Great live music
Everyone thinks about Yellowstone. New York’s Adirondacks region is a less known - outside New York - place for great outdoor activities, and much more affordable if you live on the east coast. Summer or winter, you can participate in anything from whitewater rafting to dogsledding. Camping is the cheapest option, but there are also fun bed and breakfasts. Don’t forget to check out the Olympic complex if you are into sports history. The Adirondacks are a great place to take the kids for some outdoor fun.
- Year-round outdoor activities
- Site of an Olympics
- Great camping spots
So, what if you are looking for the beach? Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has sixty miles of brown sand, amusement parks wet and dry and more than 100 golf courses. There are lots of options for everyone in the family, or you can just relax on the beach and in the water. Although hotels can be a little bit pricey, vacation homes are often reasonable here, and you can save money by having your own kitchen. Avoid spring break unless you are or have a student, as it is quite a popular destination.
- Tons of golfing
- Reasonably priced vacation homes
- Beach access
Austin, Texas, the “Live Music Capital of the World” is another great option for the city break - and Austinites revel in eccentricity. This is a great trip if you want world class dining, quirky nightlife and plenty of green space. Avoid festivals and game days - Texas Longhorns home football games can cause room rates to go above the bar. Public transport here is cheap and good. Oh, and do not leave without trying Austin’s famous barbecue.
- Great barbecue
- Home of the University of Texas Longhorns
- More liberal than the rest of Texas
These are seven of the best options out there for people and families who want a great trip on a budget. Choose the one which most fits your lifestyle and enjoy your trip.