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    10 Travel Destinations for College Students on a Budget

    February 12, 2020 Guest Blogger 5 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    If you ask anyone what’s something they enjoy or wish they could do more often, “travel” will often come up as one of the answers. While I cannot speak for everyone, I think we can all agree that traveling is both an opportunity to see the world, but also a chance to enjoy new things.

    However, traveling can be expensive. Depending on where you’re headed, if you factor in things such as transportation, lodging, and food, a trip that you initially thought would cost $500 can become over a grand real quick. That does not mean that you can’t travel, however!

    In today’s post, we’re going to be sharing with you some of the best destinations for traveling on a budget.

    READ NEXT:  8 Steps To Amazing Travel On A College Budget

    1. New York City, NY

    I know what you’re thinking – New York City? As in one of the most expensive cities on the East Coast?

    Although expensive to live in and sometimes dine in, there are quite a few budget-friendly options in New York City. There are museums such as the Transit Museum in Brooklyn where you can learn about the history of the transit museum for under $15 (which is a steal for museums in NYC). There are places in New York where you can have incredible pizza for $1. If you’re looking to save on lodging, you can stay in Staten Island and take the free commuter ferry over. I could go on and on.

    Whether you’re there for the day of the week, there’s always something to do and quite a few things you can do for a reasonable price.

    Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels

    2. Ithaca, NY

    Are you someone who enjoys hiking? You’ll love the gorges and beautiful sights in Ithaca, NY! I visited with family a few years back for an overnight hiking trip, and we enjoyed it! There’s plenty of hotels nearby where you can spend the night!

    3. East Coast Beaches

    As much as you may want to visit a luxurious beach, it can be pretty expensive when you factor in transportation and food. There are some beaches along the east coast such as Myrtle Beach, SC; Virginia Beach, VA; Ocean City, NJ; and many more than can give you the beach views you seek, but on a budget. We love visiting the beaches during the summer when we’re looking for a quick getaway on a budget.

    Photo by Visit Myrtle Beach, SC

    4. Philadelphia, PA

    Perhaps I am biased, but Philadelphia is one of the best destinations for college students when it comes to budget trips. It’s similar to New York in terms of the number of things you can do here, but it’s a lot cheaper. There’s so much history in this city where the Declaration of Independence was written. You will always have something to do here!

    Philadelphia was also voted in National Geographic as one of the places you should visit, which I would have to agree.

    5. Boston, MA

    There’s no place like Boston, and if you’re a history buff who loves seafood, you’ll love Boston. It’s close enough to many of the shores that there’s quite a community of fishermen there. There’s also a ton of history within Boston’s city borders. It’s also close to Cape Cod, which would make a fun day trip if you’re ever in the area!

    Photo by Jayden Burdick from Pexels

    6. Key West, FL

    If you cannot afford to go to Mexico or you’re not located close to any of the Maryland or North Carolina beaches, Key West is another great beach destination. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a beautiful destination that gives you a taste of island life without having to pay big bucks to visit it. There’s a large population of people who have moved from the Caribbean to these locations. As you can imagine, the food is incredible!

    7. Newport, RI

    Newport is such a dreamy location in itself, but it’s also a great resort town. Rent an Airbnb and head towards the gilded coastlines of one of the prettiest resorts on the East Coast! While lodging can be pricey, you can curb quite a bit of that by going through a home-sharing application or booking offseason.

    Photo by Rahul Anand on Unsplash

    8. Chicago, IL

    Chicago is the perfect place to go when you’re looking for an inexpensive place to travel that has a ton of things to enjoy while there. Plane tickets usually do not cost you more than $140 round trip, depending on where you are coming from. Once you’re there (I’d recommend reserving an Airbnb), there are a lot of free or inexpensive activities for you to enjoy while there.

    9. New Haven, CT

    New Haven is not just the city where Yale is located. It’s also a city with delicious food, incredible museums, and a cliffside park with a fantastic view. Whether you love to hike, try new types of food, or visit historical sites, New Haven is a place you can do pretty much all three without breaking the bank.

    Photo by Zean Wu on Unsplash

    10. Annapolis, MD

    From the surface, Annapolis seems like a pretty quaint city with not much to do. However, this coastal town is one of my favorite because it’s of the amount of history, the views, the on-the-water activities, and the budget-friendly food. For instance, at Chick and Ruth’s, you can get a generously-sized crab cake cheaper than you can just about anywhere else in the area, and it was voted one of the best. We’ve had it during one of our visits to the city, and we can assure you that it’s one of the best crabcakes in the area and a bang for your buck.


    Ultimately anywhere that you visit, it’s important to choose activities and places to eat within what you can afford. You could visit a small town and end up overspending if you are not budgeting. However, the cities included in this post are some of the best places to visit if you’re looking for places to visit that are enjoyable and easy to travel to but provide countless budget-friendly options.

    What are your favorite budget-friendly travel destinations?

    About Ro Kim

    Ro is a believer, wife, full-time educator, and is one of the writers over at A Cup Of Kims.

    A Cup Of Kims a travel and lifestyle blog devoted to helping you travel and experience life on a budget. If it saves you money but allows you to experience new things, Ro’s probably writing about it.

    She loves traveling, Jesus, true crime documentaries, Taco Tuesdays, and dad jokes. You can read more of her posts with her husband at A Cup Of Kims or follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

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    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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