The holiday destinations that won’t break the bank this year
More people than ever before are choosing to take a vacation here in the US rather than traveling internationally due to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
But with so many amazing destinations right here on our doorstep, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the many wonders that the US has to offer.
Not only that, but a US vacation can be much easier on the finances, and if you are wanting to vacation on a budget this year, there are still lots of great options available.
We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest cities in the country to see which are the most affordable, based on the cost of things such as a nightly hotel stay, food and drink, and transport costs. You can also save on travel costs by booking your airport hotel, parking, and shuttle together.
The most affordable destinations in the US
1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – 8.58 / 10
The capital city of the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City was also the cheapest for half of the factors that we analyzed, costing just $3 for a beer, $11.50 for a meal in a restaurant, and $106 for a night in a hotel!
If you’re fascinated by the Old West, then Oklahoma City is a must-visit, where you can visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, try your hand at roping and herding cattle and riding horses at a ranch, or take in a rodeo, all without breaking the bank!
2. Indianapolis, Indiana – 8 / 10
Indianapolis is another extremely affordable city to visit, where the cost of getting around was particularly cheap, with a one-way ticket on local transport costing just $1.75, and a 1km taxi fare averaging at $1.24.
Hopefully, your cab doesn’t travel at the same speeds as those reached by the participants of the Indianapolis 500, the world’s biggest single-day sporting event and perhaps the city’s biggest attraction.
3. Tucson, Arizona – 7.96 / 10
If you’re looking to visit one of the country’s many spectacular national parks, then a budget-friendly option could be to stay in Tucson, Arizona, which is home to the Saguaro National Park and was also one of the cheapest cities to visit on our list.
A nightly hotel stay in “The Old Pueblo” is just $134, while a draught beer will set you back just $4.
The least affordable destinations in the US
1. New York City, New York – 2.56 / 10
As one of the most popular tourist destinations not just in the US but in the world, it’s little surprise to see that New York is also the priciest destination.
NYC was the most expensive city for four of the six metrics that we looked at: a beer ($7.81), bottle of wine ($15), restaurant meal ($20), and hotel stay ($309 per night).
2. San Francisco, California – 3.07 / 10
Another hugely popular city takes second place, with San Francisco matching New York when it comes to some prices and not far behind on most others.
As well as being a very popular destination due to its landmarks and architecture, the city is also one of the highest-earning in the US, which also drives prices up for visitors.
3. Boston, Massachusetts – 3.16 / 10
The country’s third-most expensive city to visit is Boston, Massachusetts, proving costlier than the likes of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
Like San Francisco, Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the US and is also a popular tourist destination, having been a significant and influential city throughout the country’s history.
Vacation hotspots in the US ranked on affordability
We ranked each city on the following factors, giving each city a normalized score out of 10 for each factor, before taking an average across all factors to give us our final affordability score out of 10.
- Cost of a domestic 0.5-liter draught beer
- Cost of a mid-range bottle of wine
- Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant
- Average 1km tariff for a taxi
- Cost of a one-way ticket on local transport
- Cost of a nightly weekend stay at a hotel
All prices sourced from Numbeo’s Cost of Living index, with the exception of nightly hotel prices, which were sourced from Kayak, calculated based on the average price on a Friday and Saturday night over the last two weeks (as of August 12th 2021).