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Biggest Bang For Your Buck: Summer Vacations

6 minute read

By Katie Ormsby

  • Flexibility is the key to getting the biggest bang for your buck when planning a summer vacation.
  • While places like Paris and Cabo carry eye-popping prices, similar destinations can save you big bucks.
  • We’ve found cheaper alternatives to 12 sought-after vacation spots to help you plan your next vacation.

If rising prices are getting in the way of your dream vacation, then you might want to rethink your destination. A little flexibility can save you big. For example, a tight travel budget can get you further in Greece than Turks and Caicos without sacrificing breathtaking views.

With this in mind, here are 12 alternatives to a variety of popular summer vacation destinations. Whether you want a city getaway or a beach vacay, find ideas to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Puerto Rico Instead of Hawaii

Want a tropical vacation that doesn’t require a passport? Then visit Puerto Rico instead of Hawaii. The choice can save you significant money. For example, KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in Puerto Rico is $140 in July.

On the other hand, the average price is $388 in Hawaii, according to KAYAK. In addition to being affordable, Puerto Rico is also convenient. You can fly directly to Puerto Rico from several cities across the United States. That means sun, sand, and surf are just a low-cost flight away.


Montreal Instead of Paris

If you want to soak up some old-world charm this summer, then head to Montreal instead of Paris. Your wallet will thank you. For instance, Hopper says airfare to Paris will cost travelers 20% more in 2022 than 2019. So, a round-trip ticket to Paris will run more than $920.

The source says a round-trip ticket to Monreal will only cost $397 by comparison. So, you can save more than $500 on your plane ticket alone. Once you arrive, dine at delicious restaurants, explore an array of museums, and visit Montreal’s Notre-Dame.


Aruba Instead of Cayman Islands

If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean vacation, then you might have the Cayman Islands on your shortlist. But you can save a pretty penny by choosing Aruba instead. For instance, KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in the Cayman Islands is $595 in August.

The average price is only $388 in Aruba, according to KAYAK. That’s more than $200 a day in hotel savings alone. And you won’t be sacrificing beautiful beaches, magical sunsets, or memorable activities. Go scuba diving, boating, hiking, and so much more.


Philadelphia Instead of New York City

The Big Apple isn’t the only choice for big-city excitement. Philadelphia is a budget-friendly alternative. Sure, it doesn’t have the Statue of Liberty. But it does have the Liberty Bell. The City of Brotherly Love is a great option for sightseeing, museums, theater, and dining.

According to Budget Your Trip, the average price of a hotel room is $190 in Philadelphia compared to $274 in New York City. And the savings don’t stop there. For example, the source estimates that sightseeing and entertainment cost $22 per day in Philly instead of $77 in NYC.


La Paz Instead of Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas may be one of the most famous vacation destinations, but it’s far from the only option on the Baja Peninsula. For instance, La Paz is an equally photogenic alternative that won’t break the bank. While KAYAK says that the average price of a hotel room in Cabo is $519 in August, La Paz is much cheaper.

According to KAYAK, the average price of a hotel room in La Paz is only $103 in August. Either sock away the savings or splurge on other aspects of your trip. No matter what you choose, La Paz is a gorgeous spot to lounge on the beach, go kayaking, or take a hike.


Victoria Instead of London

While Victoria doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of London, it does have the classic British charm. And unlike London, Victoria’s a road trip destination. The city’s inner harbor is like a step back in time, chock-full of English flair right across the border.

Explore Bastion Square and Fisherman’s Wharf during the day. Then venture outside the city’s core to see the Butchart Gardens and Hatley Castle. Follow that up with an evening ghost tour to see the city in a new light and learn about its unconventional history.


Greece Instead of Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is a popular vacation destination, but it’s also pricey. As a matter of fact, says it tops the list for overall most expensive summer getaways. Fortunately, you can soak up some sun in Greece for far less.

For example, KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in Turks and Caicos is $616 in June. By comparison, the average price is only $155 in Greece, according to KAYAK. That’s $461 in daily hotel savings for trading the turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos for the turquoise waters of Greece.


Spokane Instead of Portland

Spokane should be on your radar if you’re considering a Portland vacation. It’s another Pacific Northwest city with cozy coffee shops, independent bookstores, and quirky boutiques. Plus, Spokane stands out for its waterfall right in the heart of downtown.

Downtown also has historic hotels and tasty restaurants that cost less than in bigger cities. Take a gondola ride over the falls in Riverfront Park, then head up the South Hill to explore the gardens at Manito Park. And entertainment options range from Broadway national tours to rock concerts.


Myrtle Beach Instead of Miami Beach

Whether you’re drawn to Miami Beach for its sandy shores or vibrant nightlife, find what you’re looking for in Myrtle Beach. The South Carolina gem has gorgeous white-sand beaches and warm water for swimming. And its clubs and music venues come to life at night.

Plus, Myrtle Beach is bursting with amusement parks, water parks, and mini-golf courses. So, it’s family-friendly. It’s also a good value. In fact, Vacation Myrtle Beach says, “It’s not uncommon to find Myrtle Beach resorts with nightly rates under $100.”


Williamsburg Instead of Boston

Want a vacation spot rich in American history? Then cut your hotel costs in half by visiting Williamsburg instead of Boston. KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in Boston is $305 in July. But the average price drops to $150 in Williamsburg, according to KAYAK.

So, history buffs can get their fill of the American Revolution for significantly less. Visit Colonial Williamsburg to immerse yourself in a living-history museum of sorts. Take in the architecture of the historic buildings and interact with employees who dress in Colonial garb.


Glacier National Park Instead of Yellowstone

National parks tend to be cost-effective vacations, but some are especially good deals. Take Glacier National Park, for example. While it often plays second fiddle to another national treasure that’s partly in Montana — ahem, Yellowstone — Glacier National Park is a stunning getaway.

And it’s a budget-friendly choice. The National Park Service (NPS) says a campsite runs between $20 and $83 per night at Yellowstone. However, the NPS says the nightly price of a campsite at Glacier National Park only costs between $10 and $23. Plus, it can be a great choice for those who want to avoid crowds.


Peru Instead of Costa Rica

It makes sense that Costa Rica is a vacation hot spot. After all, the Central American country has beautiful beaches, rainforests, and other natural wonders. But you can get all of that in Peru — and for substantially less. For instance, KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in Peru is only $85 in August.

By comparison, KAYAK says the average price of a hotel room in Costa Rica is $254 in August. As a result, the South American country is a cheap alternative that still delivers breathtaking sites and plenty of adventure. Explore the Amazon, visit Machu Picchu, and lounge around sandy beaches.


Katie Ormsby



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