The Cheapest — and Costliest — Summer Vacation Destinations

A new study ranks the 50 most popular U.S. cities for vacationing based on how they affect your wallet.

The Cheapest — and Costliest — Summer Vacation Destinations Photo (cc) by Danny Baza Blas

It’s cliche — but it’s cheap: the Las Vegas vacation.

Sin City is the cheapest popular summer vacation destination this year, according to a study by GOBankingRates.

The website ranked 50 of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. based on hotel, air and ground travel, and food and drink costs for a five-day vacation. The rankings use data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Numbeo.

GOBankingRates editor-in-chief Casey Bond states in a press release:

You don’t have to drive to the middle of nowhere to find a cheap summer vacation. In fact, some of the least expensive destinations on our list are also the most popular.

The best cities for cheap vacations are:

  1. Las Vegas (lowest average round-trip flight prices of the 50 cities)
  2. Jacksonville, Florida (lowest overall hotels prices)
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. Kansas City, Missouri
  5. Detroit
  6. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  7. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  8. Salt Lake City
  9. Memphis, Tennessee
  10. Denver

The worst cities for cheap vacations are:

  1. New York
  2. Santa Barbara, California
  3. San Francisco
  4. Jersey City, New Jersey
  5. Honolulu
  6. Charleston, S.C.
  7. Boston
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Miami
  10. Houston

While GOBankingRates’ analysis is based primary on big-ticket costs, they aren’t the only type of vacation expense that can put a dent in your budget, Bond states:

It’s important to remember that saving money on vacation doesn’t end with finding a cheap flight or inexpensive hotel room; don’t blow your budget on squeezing in visits to crowded tourist traps. You can have more fun, spend less money and get a more authentic experience at some of the cheapest cities in the country.

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Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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