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The golden rule of affordable travel is visiting places where or when it isn’t busy. If you’re planning travel during the peak summer season, you might not have a lot of flexibility on the timing of your vacation, but you do have the opportunity to choose a destination that won’t break the bank.
» Learn more: 5 ways to maximize “shoulder season” travel
TripAdvisor recently crunched the numbers on the most popular summer 2019 vacation spots in the U.S. and found major savings on hotels at affordable alternative destinations. Sometimes it’s a nearby town or a comparable city, but either way, these alternatives offer similar vacation experiences at a lower cost.
Kissimmee instead of Orlando
It’s not a huge surprise that Orlando, Florida, was the most popular summer destination in the U.S. this year. After all, Orlando is home to some of the country’s most popular theme parks, which are unveiling new elements this year that are sure to make the lines even longer than usual.
Disney World will open a highly anticipated new Star Wars-themed land in August, and Universal Studios recently added a new roller coaster called “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure” to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in June. If you don’t want to miss all the fun in Orlando, consider staying in nearby Kissimmee, Florida, instead. According to TripAdvisor, the average summer nightly hotel rate in Kissimmee is $137, which is 37% less than the $216 average nightly rate in Orlando.
» Learn more: How to save on beach vacations
Reno instead of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada, may have all the flashing lights of the Strip, but the northern alternative of Reno still has plenty of gambling and hotel pool parties to satisfy many travelers’ idea of letting loose for vacation. Reno is also close to Lake Tahoe, which offers incredible views, hiking and water activities during the summer. Save yourself an average of 14% per night by going to Reno instead of Las Vegas, with an average nightly rate of $144 in Reno.
Kill Devil Hills instead of Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular family-friendly beach vacation town, but if all you and the kids need for a quiet getaway is waves, sand and a cute little beach house, you might want to look into a vacation in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Kill Devil Hills offers several miles of sandy coastline that’s great for lounging on the sand, kayaking, fishing, crabbing or just going for a bike ride. There’s also a memorial to the Wright Brothers’ first flight. A hotel room in Kill Devil Hills costs an average of $200 per night, compared to the $250 you would pay in Myrtle Beach.
» Learn more: Fly to these beach destinations using travel rewards
Oahu instead of Maui
There are more airplane seats to Hawaii now that Southwest has started flying to the Aloha State. To make your vacation to this tropical paradise a little more affordable, stay on the island of Oahu, which has the most visitors and caters to tourists of all budgets. Maui, on the other hand, is sometimes called the “playground of the wealthy” because of its upscale and expensive resorts. TripAdvisor found a whopping average saving of 38% just by choosing Oahu over Maui. Hotels in Maui average $533 per night, while hotels in Oahu only average $328 per night.
» Learn more: How to save on an Oahu vacation
Philadelphia instead of New York City
There's no city like the Big Apple. Let’s get that out of the way first. But if you’re looking for a big city with historic sightseeing, iconic food, world class museums and lively nightlife, you can find that and more in Philly. Visit Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin museum by day and explore the hip Center City District by night. Best of all, the hotels in Philadelphia are an average of 22% cheaper than accommodations in New York. Instead of spending $329 per night at a New York hotel, you could book a room in Philly for only $258 on average.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you 6 ways to use travel rewards to elevate your staycation Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies