One way to economize on a vacation is by visiting national parks and historic sites. Many offer complimentary guided tours that are both memorable and enlightening.
National parks are also great options for camping, bicycling, fishing and picnicking.
Nearly every state has at least one national park, from historic trails like the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route in Rhode Island to Glacier National Park in Montana. Vacationers on a budget can find a variety of lodging options at them, from campgrounds and rustic cabins inside park grounds to budget motels and more upscale lodges outside the parks.
If you’ll be visiting several parks during a single year, you can save money by buying a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Rates vary based on age and other factors.
Big cities are notoriously expensive in terms of accommodations and food, but the attractions and experiences can be memorable enough to justify the expense.
For families and individuals who have New York or Washington, D.C., on their bucket list, there are ways to make visiting more financially feasible. If a city serves as a hub for an airline, for example, airfare to that destination might be a little more affordable. Be sure to check fares a few weeks or months ahead of time to get a feel for what’s a good fare.
Staying just outside the city can sometimes be more affordable, and if you can stay someplace with a kitchen, you can cook your own food (and hit local markets for another experience) to save money.
Try putting the free or low-cost tours and attractions at the top of your list to help you save money, and look into museum passes or public transportation passes ahead of time. Sometimes you can buy them early and save on both costs.
Most cities pack a lot of must-see entertainment into a relatively condensed area, which can cut down on transportation costs.
Here are some examples: