The Top 5 Budget-Friendly U.S. Cities for Solo Travel

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Written by Rachel Smith
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Edited by Mary M. Flory
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Have you been thinking about traveling solo but aren’t sure how to pull it off?

And what about budget? Can you afford a trip when you don’t have someone to share the expenses?

Retail Me Not surveyed 2,000 Americans to uncover the top budget-friendly U.S. cities for solo travel, so grab your calendar and start planning some 2019 solo trips.

The top 5 budget-friendly cities to explore solo

  • Asheville, North Carolina

  • San Antonio

  • Washington, D.C.

  • New Orleans

  • Jacksonville, Florida

Were you surprised to see some of the cities on this list?

It’s true that the cost of living in some of these areas isn’t cheap, but each has plenty of free activities available. Keep your accommodation costs down in the larger cities on this list by looking into a single-room vacation rentals through Airbnb or VRBO.

»Learn More: Beat your travel budget: Find cheap activities in any city

If you like nature

You could hike some of the hundreds of trails the Blue Ridge Mountains offer in Asheville, or spend some time on the beachfront in Jacksonville. If you want a big-city feel mixed in with your dose of nature, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington is a great mix of both.

If you like great food

The French Market in New Orleans is a huge open-air market that sells produce, along with arts and crafts. And no trip to New Orleans is complete without gumbo and beignets. San Antonio is home to delicious cuisine — think beyond just Tex-Mex.

If you like museums

Washington is full of free museums and monuments to enjoy. From the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to the National Zoo, solo travelers can enjoy a lot for free. Get some fresh air and exercise by walking around the monuments.

Whatever it is you enjoy, you’re bound to find your own adventure in one of these cities. Still not totally sure about traveling solo? Here are four reasons why you should try it.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy $250 to use on Capital One Travel in your first cardholder year, plus earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening - that’s equal to $1,000 in travel.

See more travel cards
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