Being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t scratch your travel itch. Student loans don’t stop me from living my best life… well actually they do but… we’re not going to focus on that right now. What we’re focusing on instead is how to scratch your traveling itch, with out over drafting your accounts, and shattering your budget.
As with all travel, it is important to plan to avoid over spending. Plan out your activities, what you plan on eating, and how you plan on getting from one place to another. The worst part (and by worst I simply mean most expensive) is of visiting most of these cities will usually be the cost of flight, and even that can be handled by using different forms of transportation and/ or credit card points.
Best Affordable Cities To Visit In The USA
1. Phoenix, Arizona: I went to Phoenix a few years ago to visit one of my close friends. Not only did I spend 450 on round ticket flight and hotel (booked through Cheaptickets.com), but I spent less than 200 dollars in my 5 days there. That included gas for my rental car (you are going to need a rental car in Phoenix), food, shopping at the outlets, a movie, entrance to the Grand Canyon, museums,and meals over the course of the 5 days. It’s cheapest (and hottest) to go to Phoenix in the summer time closer to July/ August.
2. Dallas, Texas: Dallas is one of my favorite cities in the U.S and I’ve only been once many many moons ago by accident. I was visiting Killeen, Texas (a small military town) with a former boyfriend, and our connecting flight was in Dallas, We had to stay in Dallas a little longer than expected/anticipated and I’m glad we did. There are tons of things to do in Dallas, and it is a city rich with history. Get a good pair of walking shoes, and explore everything Dallas has to offer. And plus The Flight Deal always always has flight deals to Dallas. You could honestly get a flight to Dallas from 80-120 dollars with ease on a good day.
3. Jacksonville, Florida: I’ve been to all of the “hot spots” in Florida over the last 15 years of my life. From Tampa, to Orlando, Miami and everything in between. However Jacksonville is undoubtedly one of the cheapest/ most affordable cities in Florida to visit. Because it is northern Florida, you won’t get the same Miami beach vibe as you would from the southern Florida cities, but you will still get the nice warm weather and slow vibes that Florida is known for. There are several travel options you can take to get to Jacksonville that may be easier on your pockets than a direct flight. If accessible to you (especially if you live on the east coast) you can take a train or bus down to Florida which would cost you about 50-80 dollars. You also can take a cheaper flight to Orlando or Ft. Lauderdale and take a rental car or train up to Jacksonville.
4. Raleigh, North Carolina: I visited Raleigh when I was much younger and stayed with family, but even with out the cost of housing, this trip to Raleigh was super affordable. I’m talking seeing a movie for 99 cents affordable. Granted, that was over 16 years ago and I don’t know just how much the movie prices have gone up, but I’d still bet that they are pretty much under 10 bucks, which is rare in itself. Besides cheaper movie tickets, North Carolina is also a historical city that boasts of loads of things to do that are fairly cheap or free.
5. Bloomington, Minnesota: This definitely is a strange suggestion to make, but hear me out. There isn’t much to do in Bloomington at all, in fact there is only one major thing in Bloomington really: The Mall Of America. Now I know you’re saying why the hell would I travel anywhere just to go visit a mall. And you are quite right. Traveling to go to a mall just seems dumb and like a major way to spend money for no reason. However, the Mall Of America is an experience I think everyone should have at least once. Besides if you’re looking for a quick weekend get away, heading to the Mall of America is not a bad idea. Plus that mall is definitely more than just a mall. There’s a roller coaster and freaking aquarium in the mall!! Definitely worth a visit in my book.
6. San Diego, California: I freaking loved visiting San Diego. One of my closest friends moved to San Diego for a short bit of time a few years ago (thanks to all my friends moving to beautiful places I can visit). San Diego is … yes rich with history as most affordable cities usually are, but San Diego is picture freaking perfect. The weather is amazing, and there are so many street fairs and festivals to visit. If you love Mexican culture (which uh… you should because it’s amazing) San Diego is rich in Mexican culture as well (and a quick drive to Mexico also). I suggest flying into LAX and hopping on a two hour train to keep costs down. I flew in to San Diego and ended up spending way more money on flight than my friend who flew in to LAX. San Diego is also way cheaper to visit and frolic in than LAX. So you get the California experience, without spending a ton of money.
7. Kansas City, Missouri: This may confuse you but, there are two Kansas cities in the US. The one I’m recommending is Kansas City in Missouri. The most expensive part of this trip will be flight, but once you land in Kansas City you can expect super affordable activities and a very county welcoming environment.
8. Atlanta, Georgia: Though Atlanta is definitely a metropolitan city filled with hustling and bustling like New York, Chicago and Miami, it does differ from these three cities in one major way: price! Atlanta offers the city fee with a much much lower city price point. I went to Atlanta in 2012 and spent about 300 dollars for flight and hotel for three days. I went for a family reunion and it was a great time. You can do a ton of things in and out of Atlanta’s city region that won’t break your budget. Best things to do are nature things but you can also enjoy city sights without spending a penny.
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philly is my absolute favorite city to visit. So much so that it is the only city I have visited numerous times. (five to be exact). And each time I visit I learn more and more of how hot spend less, and enjoy the city even more. Philly is a very poor city, but it is a city never the less. So you can enjoy the rich historical sights for fairly cheap and or free. The museums are especially amazing. I did a Harry Potter tour in one of the museums and it was dope. I suggest everyone take a trip to Philly. It is like visiting DC at half the cost (okay you don’t see the White House but… no one wants to go there now anyway).
10. New Orleans, Louisiana: I can’t tell you how badly I want to go New Orleans. Besides the culture obviously, the city is beautiful even after Hurricane Katrina tried to destroy it. New Orleans is a city that should be visited at least once in your life time. Air fair is usually on sale during their off seasons which is still a great time to visit. (It may be a bit humid though so dress lightly).
Where have you visited that fit right into your budget? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below!