This time of year, nearly everyone gets the travel bug, yet tight budgets have many thinking they have no choice but to stay home. It’s true, if you’re low on cash you’ll probably want to steer clear of more expensive destinations like New York City, San Francisco, and Honolulu; however, there are still plenty of great US cities to visit that won’t break the bank.
In Nashville, you seem to get free, live music everywhere you go. So whether dining or walking down the street, you can hear sounds of bluegrass, country, honky-tonk, and more. Besides the music, the food is entertainment in itself as there is plenty of barbeque and decadent southern fare presented in a laidback atmosphere. Also, the city is known for having some of the lowest hotel prices in the south, and there are plenty of antique shops for bargain hunters.
Since Austin is a university town, the area businesses cater to college-friendly budgets, which means even those who aren’t students are able to benefit from the cheap prices. The city has a fun atmosphere with plenty of nightlife and is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” If you’re there in the fall you can join some hardcore fans at a Longhorns’ game, and on the first Thursday of every month you can get some cheap eats at the South Congress Street block party.
Of course, Yellowstone isn’t a city, but it’s still a very affordable destination with a ton to see. And with camping and picnicking as options, you can make this trip as inexpensive as you like. Instead, of spending money on tourist traps and commercial entertainment, you can spend your time hiking, exploring the hot springs, animal watching, and more.
The great thing about New Orleans is so much of the entertainment is centered on the streets of the French Quarter, so you could theoretically spend an evening looking at sites, watching street performers, and listening to jazz without spending a dime. And even if you choose to eat out, many of the restaurants provide heaping servings of Cajun cuisine for a small price.
Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks
Truthfully, anywhere on the Outer Banks is a cheap vacation spot, because the area prides itself on being non-commercialized. So, unless, you’re chartering expensive fishing trips or renting giant beach houses, you’d be hard-pressed to find something to waste your money on. The focus of the islands is the beach and nature, and if you can handle not staying ocean front and are okay with lodging in a cottage or inn (not in a beach house), you can have a super-cheap trip.
Yes, there are numerous foreign destinations like Berlin, Bolivia, Indonesia, and China where you can really stretch your dollar. But for most people, just getting to such locations will blow the budget. Instead, look for places within driving distance that have a lot to offer for a little price.