Vacation

Tips for a Budget-Friendly Vacation

Whether it’s a tropical paradise, rustic mountain escape, or old-world charm, we are all itching to get out into the world again. Life has been stagnant for quite some time, and our travel plans have

Whether it’s a tropical paradise, rustic mountain escape, or old-world charm, we are all itching to get out into the world again. Life has been stagnant for quite some time, and our travel plans have been put on hold for far too long.

Now that life is returning to a post-pandemic “normal,” we can explore all the destinations we’ve been dreaming about lately. But let’s face it; life has likely changed its course. Many of us have lost our deep pockets during this crazy time we have encountered. 

Although we are likely facing some financial challenges, we owe ourselves to get out into the world again and explore. Let’s plan some stellar vacations with some frugal tips from where to stay, what to do, how to get there, and even some cheap roadside assistance plans for any mechanical mishaps we may face while RVing or driving. 

Best Budget-Friendly Vacation Spots in the U.S.

There are many places in the country that will undoubtedly fulfill your travel itch. Whether you like warm, cool, or dry climates, there is something for everyone. The following list will get you started on making a travel plan to get away and leave your worries behind without breaking the bank. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

If you’ve never seen this gorgeous landmark, this is your sign to book this trip with your family. The Grand Canyon will steal your breath away. From the views to the history, it’s a definite crowd-pleaser. 

Where to stay: Camping will come in under budget and still give the family a thrill. Fees might include a $10 permit fee for each campground and an additional $8 per person per night fee for Inner Canyon campgrounds. Permits can be obtained from the Backcountry Information Center.

Things to do: Grand Canyon IMAX Theater, North/South Rim, Bright Angel Trail, Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village, East Rim Drive, Yavapai Point, Point Imperial Drive

Tips for saving: Pack abundantly to save on overpriced toiletries and necessities should you forget something. Plan far in advance and on a free-entrance day, where entrance fees are waived by the park. Make sure you understand the layout of the park and what you want to accomplish. 

Colorado Springs, Colorado

A town located at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is surrounded by such picturesque views that no photo can capture the true beauty of it all. Parks and hiking trails are in abundance, as well as a town filled with lots of friendly people and things to do.

Where to stay: A rare find, Colorado Springs offers bunkrooms and houses that are enticing for those traveling alone or in small groups. Also, another way to stay in this great town is camp decks. They are small spaces in which you can camp out while still enjoying the amenities of a hotel. 

Things to do: National Museum of World War II Aviation, Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie Castle, Wild West Ghost Town Museum, Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Old Colorado City Historic District, Space Foundation Discovery Center

Tips for saving: The Visit Colorado Springs website offers deals and coupons to everyone visiting their town. Most of the things to do listed above are under $10, making them budget-friendly but still packed with fun. 

St. Augustine, Florida

Old-world charm meets modern-day arts. St. Augustine is full of historical landmarks and eclectic places of interest. The food offerings will make your taste buds sing and you’ll find some of the best wines you will ever taste. 

Where to stay: From micro and mini homes, studios, and condos, there are plenty of fun and stylish Airbnb accommodations options. If this isn’t your cup of tea, there are many options for bed and breakfasts spots with cute and modern vibes. 

Things to do: Old Jail, St. Augustine’s Oldest Store Museum, Classic Car Museum, Governor’s House Museum, San Sebastian Winery,  Potter’s Wax Museum, Spanish Military Hospital Museum, Colonial Quarter, St. Augustine Distillery

Tips for saving: The cheapest rates in St. Augustine are mid to late September. Many attractions have specials on their websites that offer buy-one-get-one-free deals and coupons. Jump on a trolley tour to enjoy more stops, many of which are free to the public. Complimentary tours and tastings are available at wineries and distilleries. 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is a quaint town with all the scenic views to last you a lifetime. It has plenty of Southern hospitality and a ton of options for food and drinks. If you’re looking to stay busy, this small but mighty town is buzzing with all sorts of activities for the entire family. 

Where to stay: RV travel is on the rise, and Gatlinburg is the perfect place to put into your navigation system. There are plenty of national and RV parks that you can stay at while enjoying what the town has to offer. Another option is a modest cabin in the woods. Cabins are plentiful and frequently have scenic views. 

Things to do: Ober Gatlinburg, Clingmans Dome, Gatlinburg Trolley, Ole Smokey Distillery, Friendly Falls, Ghost and Haunt Tours, Cades Cove, Titanic Museum, Old Smokey Moonshine Holler, Sugarlands Distillery, Rowdy Bear Mountain

Tips for saving: If you’re staying in an RV or cabin, limit your eating-out experiences to a few during your stay. With a quick search on the internet, you can find many coupons and deals for the mentioned attractions. The distilleries often offer free or minimally priced tastings. In town, take advantage of the trolley to save.

Get There on a Budget: Tips and Tricks to Save Money

No matter how you and your family decide to travel, there are ways to save some money. If you choose to travel by plane, make sure you book your tickets as far in advance as possible. Purchase your tickets on slower sales days for airlines, which is typically Tuesday in later afternoons. Also, flights arriving and departing on Tuesdays or Wednesdays are traditionally cheaper. 

RV travel is a perfect way to get to see multiple places while still staying on a budget. The cost to vacation in an RV takes many factors into play. Fuel prices, mileage costs, and any maintenance costs all need to be considered. In many cases, this still ends up costing less and can be easily shared with multiple families to split the price. 

Short-term car rental is similar to RVing in that you can see multiple stops. Again, you’ll need to take into account gas and mileage costs. Also, make sure you’re carrying some cheap roadside assistance coverage if you have any issues with the rental. However, renting a car will likely be more affordable than flying, but it’s always best to compare the two. 

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a whole other experience, venture into the world of cruising. Cruises are now starting to sail once again. There are many deals that the cruise lines are offering guests. Cruising is a great way to have an all-inclusive vacation with multiple destinations, lots of food, and beverage packages to choose from while onboard. 

Carla Hughes writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsurance.org. She enjoys seeing beautiful, budget-friendly vacation spots with her family and friends. 

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