10 Cheapest Places to Travel in the USA on a Budget

10 Cheapest Places to Travel in the USA on a Budget

Some budget travelers avoid the United States because they don’t believe there are any cheap places to visit in the USA, but that’s simply not true. Traveling to the US doesn’t mean having to shell out the big bucks. There are still some great budget-friendly cities in the United States. So we crunched the numbers to find the cheapest places to travel in the USA on a budget.

We collected travel tips for these 10 cheap vacation spots in the United States. If you’re traveling on a strict budget, keep these affordable US destinations in mind.

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10 affordable places to visit in the united states.

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#1 SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

San Antonio is a perfect blend of American history and Mexican culture that makes it one of the cheapest cities in the USA to visit. The city is renowned for its 18th century Alamo Mission which is well preserved as a living history museum with no entry fee.

Budget travelers can indulge in various free or cheap activities in San Antonio. Whether you are a history buff or love to eat foods, San Antonio won’t disappoint you. Once you reach here, use VIA Metropolitan Transit which is the cheapest option to get around San Antonio.

Cheap Things to do in San Antonio:

  • San Antonio tour is incomplete without a stroll along the river walk through the city. The whole strip is lined up with award-winning restaurants, shops and live entertainments.
  • Visit the Alamo which is not too far from the river walk. It is one of the most visited places in San Antonio and a great place to know the rich history of the state of Texas. Take some stunning pictures of this great architecture.
  • Visiting Japanese Tea Garden is another popular free things that you can enjoy in San Antonio. It is an ideal place for a romantic walk. There is a beautiful waterfall also in this garden.
  • San Pedro Creek Culture Park is definitely one tourist spot in San Antonio that you won’t want to miss. Admire the beauty of this park that offers a combination of art, nature and culture. A perfect place for a photo shoot or a romantic stroll.
Cheap places to visit in the USA - Riverwalk, San Antonio
Riverwalk, San Antonio

San Antonio Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $40/night (book Cheap Hostel)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $40-$120/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $22

#2 DAYTONA, FLORIDA

If you are a beach lover Daytona can be a great place to stop at and enjoy on a budget. Daytona is cheaper when compared to other expensive paces of the US. Daytona has over 23 miles of sandy beaches where you can spend a family vacation. With unlimited options for free things to do and reasonable hotels and restaurants, Daytona is one of the cheapest places to travel in the USA.

Cheap Things to do in Daytona:

  • Take a free guided tour around Angell & Phelps Chocolate factory.
  • If you visit Daytona beach in summer, don’t miss the free bandshell concert. From jazz to Latin music you can enjoy any type of musical style from May to September each Friday and Saturday evening.
  • Honeymooners can go for a long stroll along the miles of sandy beach or lookout for sea turtles.
  • Photography enthusiasts must visit the Southeast Museum of Photography which is Florida’s official museum of photography.
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Cheap Places to visit in the united states  | Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Travel Budget:

  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $55-$120/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $15

#3 PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

You know what they say, nothing good comes for free of cost. However, in Philadelphia, that’s not entirely true. In fact, there are loads of fun, exciting, entertaining and even adventurous things that one can enjoy. Philadelphia is located on the Northeast side of the United States.

The City of Brotherly Love is packed with historical sites, brewery tours, delicious cuisines and many more. Philadelphia is also considered as one of the best solo travel destinations in the USA for its friendly locals, good public transport, cheap and safe accommodation options and unlimited free things to enjoy.

If you are not a liquor person, dining out will be pocket friendly in Philadelphia. While traveling in Philadelphia, collect one-day Independence Pass which is only $11 per person or $28 per family, and allows you to ride on any bus, trolley, subway, or train.

Cheap Things to do in Philadelphia:

  • Independence Hall is the first thing that you should visit in Philadelphia. Yes, it’s totally Free. A guided tour is part of your admission. This signature building has huge importance in history where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776.
  • The Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps are other popular sites where you can run up 72 steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and give a ceremonious fist pump at the top. Both are Free.
  • Visit the United States Mint where you can learn the mystery behind the fascinating coin-making process via a self-guided free tour. It is really an interesting and worth visit place in Philadelphia.
  • Couples can have a romantic stroll through Elfreth’s Alley which was once the residence of 18th-century tradespeople who worked out of their homes. The cobblestone street with lots of cute houses made it an ideal place for photographers.
 Independence Hall, Philadelphia - Affordable places to visit in the US
Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Tips: Check out Independence Visitor Center, where you can receive an overview of the city and its attractions. Pick up free tickets to Independence Hall. City Pass can be a good choice to see multiple attractions for an incredibly low price.

Philadelphia Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $15-$20/night (Find Cheap hostels)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $30-$70/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $20-25
  • Local transport: $25

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#4 ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

Traveling to American cities often comes with a hefty price tag. But if you’re heading to Albuquerque on your next vacation, you are in luck. Many travelers consider it one of the cheapest places to visit in the USA. From various museums to gallery tours, from Native American culture to historic old town- Albuquerque offers plenty of fun and free things to do during your visit.

Cheap Things to do in Albuquerque:

  • Exploring the amazing museums can be the best free thing to do in Albuquerque. The Harvey House Museum is popular to learn about the history of the old railroad. Whereas The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology will help you to know how the desert landscape has changed the way people do things in the area.
  • Visit the historic Old Town of Albuquerque, founded in 1706. It is a perfect place to know this affordable city in the USA more closely. You will find lots of shops, restaurants and museums lined up here.
  • Open Space is another popular place for adventure enthusiasts where you can do biking or hiking and enjoy Albuquerque’s fantastic trails.
  • Travelers can visit the Petroglyph National Monument that offers a great view of some of the most beautiful scenery in all of New Mexico.
Open Space of Albuquerque, Cheap vacation spots in the USA
Open Space of Albuquerque

Albuquerque Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $30/night (book Cheap Hostel)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $40-$120/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $30

#5 CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Charleston is not only a cheap city but also one of the best places for a romantic getaway in the USA. Charleston offers its visitors beautiful waterfront parks, piers and its surrounding barrier islands and many museums with free admission.

You can score a hotel room at a very low cost with complimentary breakfast even in the busy summertime if you’re willing to stay outside the city proper. Transportation cost in Charleston is very cheap and available through the city’s CARTA bus system.

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Cheap Things to do in Charleston :

  • If you are looking for free things to do in Charleston, hit the beach. Enjoy a relaxing vacation in Folly beach with a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit Charleston Tea Plantation, country’s only tea plantation which is just 20-mile drive down to Wadmalaw Island.
  • Stroll through Charleston City Market, one of the country’s oldest public market. Explore the market and take some souvenirs for your loved one.
  • Battery park and Point Gardens are free admission public garden area that offers fantastic views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor.
Piers in Charleston | Best Places to visit in US on a budget
Piers in Charleston

Charleston Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $35/night
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $55-$120/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $22

#6 RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Planning affordable family vacations in the USA can be tricky, but Raleigh offers local events, activities and entertainment options within a wide range of budgets. Everyone can afford an inexpensive vacation to Raleigh. Raleigh’s affordable hotels, restaurants and low taxes make it one of the cheapest travel destinations in the US.

Cheap Things to do in Raleigh:

  • Enjoy a day in Triangle Lakes which is home to some small lakes and two large lakes: Jordan Lake west of Apex and Falls Lake. This place is equally popular among locals and international travelers.
  • The admission-free North Carolina Museum of History features military history, decorative arts, sports heroes of North Carolina. The museum has a wide collection of artifacts that consists of over 150000 items.
  • Don’t miss Pullen Park, the first public park in North Carolina. This amusement park is the hub of the playground, green fields and lots of rides. It is an ideal place for families. Enjoy a pedal boat ride and historic carousel that was built in 1911.
  • Pay a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science which is the Southeast’s largest natural history museum. The museum features all sorts of bugs, spiders, and snakes. There is also a live animal’s presentations that take place daily.
Raleigh Cityscape - Cheap Holiday destination in USA
Raleigh Cityscape

Raleigh Travel Budget:

  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $55-$1130/night (book Cheap Hotels on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $22

#7 PHOENIX, ARIZONA

People who are looking for some of the cheapest places to travel in the USA can visit Phoenix, the state capital of Arizona. This cultural powerhouse of Arizona is known for its warm, humid and harsh climate of the desert. What also makes Phoenix a great travel destination are the many free attractions. Just make sure not to travel in the mid-summer when this city is at its hottest.

Cheap Things to do in Phoenix:

  • The Desert Botanical Garden offers one of the world’s largest collections of desert flora. There are several garden trails that visitors can take to explore the unique gardens. The Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail offers a stunning view from the top of the surrounding mountains.
  • Adventure seekers can hike Camelback Mountain, the most popular hiking trails in the Phoenix region. The hike is challenging with excessive heat but worth the effort for some breathtaking views from the top.
  • If you are an art lover, a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum is highly recommended. The museum exhibits some of the most unique pieces of art and fashion. With more than 18,000 works of American, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, expect to spend some time exploring this popular museum.
  • South Mountain Park is totally free to visit that offers magnificent views of the city and surrounding landscapes. You can hike or bike early in the morning to beat the heat.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Hikes in Southern California

 The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix | Pocket friendly places to visit in the USA
The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Phoenix Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $35-50/night (book Cheap Hostel)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $40-$120/night (Book on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $24

#8 NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA  

If you’re looking to have a fun time in New Orleans but don’t want to open up your wallet, no worries. There are plenty of ways to explore the city at cheap.

Cheap Things to do in New Orleans:

  • Strolling along the Mississippi Riverside can be one of the best things romantic couples can do here. This impressive landmark of the city is great for a family picnic.
  • You cannot skip the French Quarter and Garden District while traveling in New Orleans. The aroma of local cuisine and an array of local antique shops, restaurants, museums made it one of the most photographed places. Garden District is home to some famous persons like Anne Rice and rock star Trent Reznor. Take the popular streetcar ride from French Quarter to Garden District and they are very affordable.
  • To get an up-close view of the Mississippi River, ride the Algiers Ferry. It’s not completely free, just $2 per person that offers great views of the oldest parts of the city and a view of the downtown skyline from the ferry.
  • Visit 100-year-old the New Orleans Museum of Art which has a collection of fine paintings, sculptures, photography, glass and historical objects ranging from the pre-Christian era to modern.
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 French Quarter, New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans

New Orleans Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $10-$15/night (book Cheap Hostel)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $25-$80/night (Book on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $10-15
  • Local transport: $20

#9 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

Salt Lake City is one of the best fall destinations in the USA and also known as the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It offers a wide variety of free historic visitor attractions at its Historic Temple Square.

Utah Transit Authority operated a low-cost transport system that will help you to save some buck while traveling the city. However, the best thing about it as a tourist destination is that many of its museums, gardens, and major attractions are completely free.

Cheap Things to do in Salt Lake City:

  • Visit historic Temple Square, the signature tourist attraction of Salt Lake City. The square features the Mormon Temple, the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, beautiful gardens, the Seagull Monument and other significant structures and artworks.
  • Adventure enthusiasts can walk the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The trail is 160 kilometers long and offers incredible views of the Salt Lake Valley and City skyline. The trail is more scenic with colorful wildflowers in spring.
  • Joseph Smith Memorial Building is a must-visit place in Salt Lake City. You will be amazed by its gorgeous architecture and opulent decor. The building was at first a hotel which was transformed into a social center venue in 1993.
  • Utah State Capitol Building is an iconic tourist attraction that proudly sits high on Capitol Hill overlooking the city. Visitors can explore this Corinthian-style building and can take a guided tour to learn the significance of seagulls painted on the ceiling and magnificent murals.
Utah State Capitol Building | Cheap USA destinations
Utah State Capitol Building

Salt Lake City Travel Budget:

  • Hostel Prices: $25-$30/night (book Cheap Hostel)
  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $60-$120/night (find on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $15-20
  • Local transport: $25

#10 TUCSON, ARIZONA

Tucson is located in the north of the US-Mexico border and is heavily influenced by the desert region in which it stands. It is a great place to visit when traveling on a budget in the USA. The local people are very friendly, the food is amazing and there are lots of cool attractions just waiting to be explored. From hiking a scenic trail to ogling stunning architecture, there is definitely no shortage of amazing things to do in Tucson.

Cheap Things to do in Tucson:

  • Hike the Turquoise Trail, the historic walking tour of downtown Tucson. The hike is near about 2.5 miles long that includes 23 historical landmarks of the city such as the 1850s Sosa-Carillo-Frémont House, the Pima County Courthouse, and the old Railroad Depot.
  • Visit Tucson Museum of Art which features over 8,000 works of Western, Latin American and contemporary art. On the first Thursday of each month, admission is free from 5-8 p.m. 
  • Explore the Saguaro National Park trail. Try to avoid hiking here in the summer months. Visitors can see the different types of cactus on the trail.
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Travel Budget:

  • Cheap Hotel and Rental Apartment: $50-$110/night (see on Booking.com)
  • Meals at an inexpensive restaurant per day: $20-25
  • Local transport: $20

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10 Cheapest Places to Travel in the USA on a Budget

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. mariah green

    I love San Antonio, lived there for 7 years! A must-visit for sure

  2. Cyndi Buchanan

    This is a fantastic list. It’s amazing the things you can find to do with a little creativity.

  3. Jeferson

    I never thought it this affordable but the itineraries aren’t cheap at all……..best catalog I’ve seen so far………

    1. Trijit Mallick

      You are right Jefferson. If one wants to visit all, it might be expensive, but certainly there are some free things and comparatively cheaper places where budget travelers can travel.

      1. Chirpybrains

        Wow…. Thanks for listing these down. Great suggestions!!

  4. Christina

    Thank you for this detailed list of inexpensive places to travel and things to do. It’s nice to know that AZ has a number of free parks.😊 This is a great guide for people to use to plan a trip when things calm down.

  5. Danielle

    Love this list! I love traveling and even better if it can be done cheaply.

  6. Gervin Khan

    Utah is definitely a place for me, great scenery and is one of the best fall destinations in the USA.

  7. Raksha N

    This is a great list of places. I will bookmark this post so I can reference it when I plan to visit US.

  8. aisasami

    Philly is my recommendation because I love Philly food. I love Philly cheesesteaks, pretzels, and Italian water ice. (Sorry, my dad is from there so I often traveled there).

  9. Megan

    I’ve been to Raleigh, Daytona, and New Orleans. I think next would be San Antonio Texas, judging from this post!

  10. Thank you for this super comprehensive post! I love how it includes budget suggestions. I’m definitely bookmarking this for the future!

  11. Jessica L

    Great post! We’ve been to about 2/3 of these I think, and Charleston was my favorite place by far! Going to add a few of these other cities to our travel list, thank you! 🙂

  12. Capri

    Great suggestions! I am adding Arizona and Lousiana to my list!

  13. Taylor Justin

    I have visited half of the cities on this list and completely agree—they are cheap and fun to visit! I will have to make it my mission to add the additional cities to my list. Especially Salt Lake City, I have always wanted to go.

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