What was your resolution for 2013? In 2012 the 3rd most common New Year’s Resolution was to spend less and save more money . With the holidays in the not-so-distant past we’re all pinching pennies to get our piggy banks back to their pre-holiday shopping shape. Embrace 2013 and save money by exploring your own backyard and checking out what the U.S. has to offer. Traveling in the U.S. can be relatively inexpensive if you know where and when to go. Indulge your travel bug and keep your piggy bank happy by checking out these travel destinations.Houston, Texas
Let your inner cowboy or cowgirl loose in Houston. Starting in February you’ll find the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the largest of its kind in the world . The event, which lasts several weeks, boasts a number of parades, live music by country mega-stars, livestock and horse shows, trail rides, a rodeo and much more. Temperatures in Houston at this time of year range from the high 60’s to the low 80’s. You’ll be able to enjoy some sunshine and avoid the muggy climate that is common in the summer.Salt Lake City, Utah
Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City has developed into a contemporary hub for skiing and winter sports. Save money by staying in the city and driving to the slopes, which are only a half an hour away. Another perk of the city is the Robert Redford Sundance Film Festival held in January. While the main events are typically in Park City, Utah (a short 40 minutes away) the top movie picks are often played in more than one venue throughout downtown Salt Lake City. Popular screening locations include Tower Theatre, Broadway Center Theater and Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.San Diego, California
Let’s face it, it’s winter and you want to head for warmer climates. San Diego regularly has temperatures in the 70’s throughout the winter months. Even with the nice weather, winter is still a fairly quiet time to visit. While you might not be diving into the ocean in mid-January, it is a perfect time for a tranquil jog on the beach or for checking out local attractions like the San Diego Zoo’s annual Jungle Bells. From December through January the San Diego Zoo transforms into a wintery wonderland with music, lights, treats, and of course animals!Memphis, TN
Winter time in this Tennessee city is low season, which means you can enjoy less expensive hotel rates and light crowds. Memphis is known for live music, barbecue and Elvis Presley’s famous fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. In January people gather for a very Memphis-specific holiday – Elvis’s birthday. Graceland Mansion hosts a three day celebration in honor of Mr. Presley with music, tours, movies, and bingo!
While you might prefer to travel to this Alaskan city during the summer, winter offers some nice perks you won’t want to miss. The snowy winter is peak season for seeing the majestic and colorful northern lights. Get a little outside the city and the view is even more spectacular. Due to the cold weather hotel rates are at their lowest in a city that usually has some of the highest rates around.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hotel prices might be a bit more expensive in New Orleans but the abundance of free entertainment makes up for it. New Orleans features street performers year round that are as entertaining as acts you might pay for elsewhere. The annual Mardi Gras celebration that is so famous in New Orleans starts in February. The magnificent parades and elaborate costumes are a sight to see. People are encouraged to dress in costume for the parade and often the crowd-watching is as much fun as the parades! If you plan to go during Mardi Gras make sure you book early and look into staying outside of the city to save on money.
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to save money without sacrificing your vacation.
Airline Tickets - Plan in advance. You might get a cheap last minute ticket just days before your trip, but then again you might not. Stick with the old adage the early bird gets the worm - booking in advance means you have more control because you’re not in a time crunch.
Travel Light - Almost every airline is starting to charge for checked bags. Look into airlines that offer the first checked bag free or bypass checked luggage all together and opt for just your carry on. You’ll be more conscious of what you pack and you’ll get through the airport quicker.
Public Transportation - It may seem easiest to take a taxi from point A to point B, especially in a city you aren’t as familiar with but public transportation is a much cheaper option. Before you travel look into the public transit options available, often you’ll find that taking the bus or subway is easier and much cheaper.
Be Flexible - Sometimes leaving for your trip one day earlier or later could mean huge savings. Airline prices, like so much else, are based on supply and demand so high traffic travel days like Friday and Sunday have much higher prices then low traffic days like Wednesday and Saturday.
Home Exchanges - If you are feeling adventurous and don’t mind someone staying in your home, home exchanges can be a cost effective way to see the world. You’ll get the experience of living like a local and won’t have the hotel costs.
Stay Next Door - Often smaller cities that are right next door to larger tourist destinations have hotel rates that are less expensive. If you don’t mind the 15 minute drive to your destination, you could end up saving a bundle.
Eat Like a Local - It might be tempting to try that famous restaurant you’ve heard about, but chances are the price tag will be hefty. Head to the less touristy part of town or even ask someone local what their favorite place to eat is. You’ll enjoy a meal that’s just as good for a lot less.
Research - The best thing you can do to save money on your vacation is research before you go. Research restaurants, travel deals, hotel costs, admission prices – anything you can think of. You might be able to find deals or discounts online that you wouldn’t have found last minute.
Where in the world can you find these remarkable stalactite and stalagmite formations?Answer:You can find these formations at Carlsbad Cavern National Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Planning a vacation? Don't forget to pack a travel insurance plan!
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