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If you're dreaming of an international bucket-list trip but you can't travel far from home, we have some ideas for you. We came up with a list of domestic alternatives for American travelers, and some of these cities might surprise you. The following U.S. destinations have similarities to some international destinations, but don't require a passport to visit.
Instead of Venice, Italy, consider San Antonio
You might be surprised to learn that a great alternative to the world-famous canals of Venice, Italy, can be found in Texas. San Antonio’s River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, is a 15-mile urban waterway lined with shops, restaurants and bars, many of which you can access by foot while the local water shuttles are shut down temporarily. If you visit San Antonio, set aside some time to explore the Alamo, Texas’ beloved historic landmark.
If you can’t find a cheap flight to San Antonio, check out flights to Austin, which is only about an hour-and-a-half drive away.
» Learn more: Sunniest cities in the U.S.
Instead of Melbourne, Australia, consider Seattle
Although a world apart, Seattle and Melbourne actually have a lot in common. They're both picturesque cities on the water with beautiful skylines and feature world-class restaurants. Plus, you can easily get around either city using public transportation. The weather can be fickle in Seattle, so try to plan your trip over the summer to lower your chances of seeing rain. That way, you’ll have the best opportunity to enjoy all the city has to offer.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is both a Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines hub, so you have a good chance of finding a flight that works for you.
Instead of Ibiza, Spain, consider South Beach, Florida
When you think of Ibiza, you probably picture turquoise water, poolside DJs and parties that go until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re looking for an experience like this in the U.S., your best bet is South Beach on the southern tip of Miami Beach, Florida. Like Ibiza, South Beach is known for its vibrant nightlife, gorgeous beaches and attracting tourists who like to have fun outdoors in the open air, enjoying the sunshine by day and balmy ocean breezes by night.
Located less than 15 miles away, Miami International Airport is the closest airport to South Beach.
» Learn more: Fly to these beach destinations using travel rewards
Instead of the Swiss Alps, consider Glacier National Park, Montana
If your dream was to spend the summer on a Swiss mountaintop, but now you need to stay stateside, consider heading to Glacier National Park in Montana. Known for its breathtaking scenery, hiking and tranquility, Glacier National Park covers over 1 million acres of land and has over 25 active glaciers because of melting ice that causes them to move. If you visit, be sure to check out Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park.
The best way to visit is to fly into Glacier Park International Airport, which is serviced by Alaska, United, Delta, American and Allegiant.
» Learn more: Make your national park trip an adventure in savings
Instead of Tokyo, consider New York City
Tokyo is a buzzing metropolis that never sleeps, with some of the best food and entertainment in the world. If your plans to visit are delayed due to COVID-19, consider traveling to New York City, where you can experience a dynamic nightlife, world-class restaurants and skyscrapers in every direction.
Fly into New York-John F. Kennedy, New York-LaGuardia or Newark to jump-start your urban adventures.
» Learn more: The best airlines to fly during COVID-19
The bottom line
These U.S. cities can feel like other countries, making them wonderful domestic alternatives for travelers delaying international trips.
Be aware that attractions, transportation and other services can close or open on short notice due to the pandemic. Check websites ahead of travel to avoid unnecessary disappointment, observe social distancing practices and commit to following state and federal recommendations to keep yourself, your family and the community you’re visiting safe.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card