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Bang For Your Buck: 10 Inexpensive Places to Travel in The U.S. in 2021

From Denver to Seattle, there are great deals right in 2021, making it easier than ever to travel cheaply

Travel in 2021 looks very different from just a year ago. Many international destinations are off limits to Americans, and even if another country’s borders are open you may not feel comfortable flying or have the budget to do so. As such, many people are looking to travel on the cheap to regional destinations. The good news is that many hotels in usually expensive cities like Las Vegas, Denver and Seattle, are offering screaming deals to lure travelers back.

At trivago, we decided to find out where exactly the best cheap hotel travel deals are for 2021. So in September, 2020, we dove into our data to check the average price for a double hotel room in major US markets in 2021. We initially looked at 70 top U.S. destinations bookable on trivago and then refined our list to only include one destination per state, accompanied by an accommodation that offers bang for your buck there.

Please note that flexibility is key in times like this. If you do decide to travel to one of these cheap destinations for a weekend getaway or a long holiday, make sure to browse deals with free cancellation policies on trivago before booking. Ready?

10. Find Good Deals in 2021 in Seattle, Washington

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Seattle makes for a fun and affordable weekend getaway with plenty of free activities. The city is perhaps most famous for its coffee culture with shops on nearly every corner. Downtown, you’ll find lots of cheap things do. Take a wander through the famous Pike Place Market where fish fly and restaurants and quirky boutique shops abound.

Sitting right on the Puget Sound, the “Emerald City” is surrounded by mountains and forests. And there are plenty of outdoor adventures to experience here — from sea kayaking and paddleboarding on the water to hiking in one of two national parks outside the city: Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park. If you’re traveling with the kids, Seattle is also filled with family-friendly attractions like the Seattle Aquarium and the Museum of Flight.

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9. Have Family Fun With Lower Hotel Rates in Anaheim, California

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If you’ve been dreaming about taking the kids to Disneyland, then 2021 might be a great time to see the park and stay for cheap. Anaheim in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles in California, is home to the “happiest place on earth.” The famous theme park is made up of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park with attractions like Tomorrowland and Main Street U.S.A.

While most people visit Anaheim for Disneyland, the city also is home to free attractions like the Anaheim GardenWalk, which is filled with shops and restaurants and often live music. The Centre Street Promenade and Anaheim Packing District are other top dining and local boutique shopping destinations that don’t cost anything to wander around.

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8. Wander Around Historic Streets in Savannah, Georgia

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With moss covered trees, cobblestone streets, fountain filled parks and squares and stately old mansions, Savannah is a charming (and cheap) weekend getaway in Georgia. You can spend ages just wandering its historic streets and along its waterfront without spending a penny.

First head to Bull Street, which is at the heart of Savannah’s historic district. The surrounding side streets and squares are filled with restaurants with outdoor seating and boutique shops. Also pay a visit to Forsyth Park. It dates to the mid-19th century and is the city’s largest park. The centerpiece is a circa 1858 cast-iron fountain surrounded by smaller cherub sculptures spouting water from trumpets. Bring a blanket, and a pack a picnic lunch for a romantic but cheap date in a beautiful setting. Also check out the waterfront area around the Savannah River.

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7. Find Arts, Culture and Cheap Room Rates in Chicago, Illinois

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On the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a vibrant city with lots of cheap things to see and do. The “Windy City” is famous for its wealth of 20th-century art and architecture by masters like Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso. Wandering around the city looking at impressive buildings is one completely free activity.

If you want to explore Chicago’s many museums, pick up the Chicago CityPass, which saves 50% off admission to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, and Skydeck Chicago among other attractions. The pass is valid for nine days, and prices start at $89. Price-wise it is good value if you plan to visit multiple museums and attractions.

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6. Relax in The White Sand Paying Less in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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Whether you are looking to book a family vacation or a romantic getaway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is another one of our top cheap destinations for 2021. Split into a few different sections, Myrtle Beach stretches for some 60 miles, offering plenty of sand and sea for socially distanced downtime.

The Myrtle Beach boardwalk is the area’s hub, where you’ll find most of the restaurants, attractions and hotels and resorts. At night, the SkyWheel is worth a ride. It is lit by the power of 1 million lights!

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5. Sunbathe and Swim in 2021 on South Padre Island, Texas

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Just south of Corpus Christi, South Padre Island is perfect for a cheap beach vacation in Texas. The barrier island has plenty of affordable hotel rooms as well as loads of free activities. Spend the day sunbathing in the sand, swimming in the ocean or walking along the grassy dunes that make up Padre Island National Seashore.

If birding is your thing, the island is in the path of a migratory route, and some 350 different species of birds pause here on their way north or south—birdwatching can be a relaxing way to enjoy the days off there.

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4. Discover Cheap Hotels and Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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Straddling the Tennessee and Virginia state’s line, Gatlinburg is the gateway town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a top nature destination. With more than 900 miles of hiking trails and some of the top fly fishing in the country, there are plenty of free outdoor activities to experience once you pay the admission fee to the national park.

Back in Gatlinburg, take a stroll down Parkway, which is the town’s main street. Here you’ll find a mix of restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, and hotels. The 400-plus-foot-tall Gatlinburg Space Needle is also here. There is an admission fee, but the 360 degree view from the observation deck is beautiful. There are also two floors of arcade-style video games at the base of this attraction that kids and adults will enjoy.

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3. Pay Less in 2021 For Vacations in Denver, Colorado

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Looking for a cannabis-friendly weekend getaway that is currently priced way less than usual? Check out Denver, Colorado. There is so much to do in the Mile High City—the nickname comes from Denver’s location at 5,280 feet or one mile high. Pay a visit to the State Capitol’s 13th step to stand exactly one mile above sea level.

Other cheap activities include walking around the RiNo Arts District checking out its many street art walls after scooping up some edibles (try the quick-acting sour gummies from Wana Brands) at one of the numerous legal recreational marijuana dispensaries.

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2. Deal of a Lifetime: Stay In a Luxe Suite in Las Vegas, Nevada

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If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Sin City, 2021 is the time to travel to Las Vegas. Countless conventions and conferences have been cancelled, which means you can get the swankiest of suite deals for cheap right now. Las Vegas can be as expensive or as affordable as you’d like, depending on what you do, but there are lots of free activities.

Just take a stroll down the Las Vegas Strip, checking out copies of the world’s top sites remade as parts of casinos — Venice, the Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian pyramids in the space of a few blocks. Make sure to pay a visit to the Bellagio hotel & casino to see the impressive, free outdoor fountain show choreographed with lights and music.

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1. Bring The Kids For a Family Trip in Kissimmee, Florida

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Just south of Orlando, Kissimmee has the cheapest hotel rooms in America in 2021, averaging just $85 per night according to trivago’s data. This is great news if you want to take the kids to any of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks or to Universal Orlando Resort, which are less than 30 minutes away.

Besides being a great base to explore the theme parks, Kissimmee is also a gateway to the Florida Everglades. Head to Shingle Creek Regional Park to see the northernmost edge of this massive wetlands preserve. The park is free.

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* These destinations and hotels were checked in September, 2020. The nightly rates are just for reference and can vary depending on your search and travel dates.