Nine Cheap Vacation Alternatives to Popular Places

Kiplinger selected nine of the most popular — and priciest — travel destinations in the country and found similar but more affordable alternatives.

Grandparents and grandchildren wait for their plane at the airport.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's no place in the world like New York. Or Chicago. Or Miami. Or Hawaii. But if you're on a tight travel budget, you can find equally great destinations that offer similar experiences. Often, the trick is to "go smaller," says Tim Leffel, author of The World's Cheapest Destinations. "Big cities just naturally cost more, but you're usually visiting a small part of it anyway. So zero in on what really interests you, and you can almost always find a good alternative with lower costs."

We took care of that hard work for you. We selected nine of the most popular — and priciest — travel destinations in the country. And, focusing on their most tourist-attractive characteristics, we found similar but more affordable alternatives based on cost data from travel sites Kayak and TripAdvisor, as well as the opinions of travel pros.

Also, check out our list of 5 Bargain Vacation Destinations Off the Beaten Path.

Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor,

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.

With contributions from