19 Cheap Vacations And Road Trips For Those On A Budget


What are your best trips for saving money while traveling? Share in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This article was written to provide travel recommendations or suggestions; however, it’s important to keep in mind your own health, community health, and COVID-19 exposure risk.



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Summer travel expected to surge as Americans take 1st trips since pandemic’s start


As vaccination numbers continue to rise, Americans are expected to travel this summer — taking their first big trip since the start of the pandemic.

“I think folks are really eager to make their first trip back, they’ve been vaccinated and feel safe and comfortable traveling, they want to make their first trip a big one,” Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights and author of “Take More Vacations,” told ABC News.

More and more travelers are taking to the skies

Despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance against non-essential travel, more than a million people have passed through U.S. airports each day since early March, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration.

American Airlines said it expects to fly approximately 90% of its 2019 system seat capacity this summer. United Airlines said bookings for summer 2021 are “far outpacing bookings for summer 2020.”

“They really want to take advantage of that spike in interest to visit those places after they announced that they’re open for tourism again,” Keyes said.

Delta announced Friday that it will debut new service to Croatia this summer. United said its flying more than 100% of its pre-pandemic schedule to Latin America compared to 2019. American also said its Latin American network is expected to be the same size as it was in 2019.

Travelers are booking hotels last minute

According to Hopper, a travel-booking app, 51% of all hotel bookings made on their platform are last-minute, meaning they were booked within 48 hours of check-in. The most popular cities among those bookings are Las Vegas, Chicago and Los Angeles, the company said.

Hopper also said “staycations” are popular among their users, with more than half of all hotel bookings made through their site being less than 200 miles from a customer’s origin. The company launched its “Stay the Night” feature Tuesday in an attempt to help consumers find the best fares at the last minute.

“I think initially there was a little bit of an apprehension about traveling,” Adit Damodarn, economist at Hopper, said in an interview with ABC News. “But I think there is a little bit more comfort as you kind of get into this new travel period with like dipping your toes in the water exploring some local markets, and getting a feel for what it’s like to be traveling again. I think that’s kind of why vacations are so popular now.”

Road trips are on the rise, but car rentals are hard to come by

Once travelers arrive to their destination, car rentals are becoming harder to find. In the past week, car rental searches on KAYAK were up 115%, with prices up 92% compared to the same dates in 2019, the company said.

“We’ve seen a huge surge in rental car searches compared to 2019, particularly in outdoorsy spots like Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Florida,” Matt Clarke, vice president of NA Marketing at KAYAK said. “Supply-and-demand logistics are playing a big role and likely leading to the volatile prices we’re seeing across the U.S.”

Hertz said it’s seeing a spike in demand for leisure travel in cities and regions across the country.

“We anticipate strong demand for car rental to last several months and throughout the summer and encourage customers to book as early as possible and at the same time they’re making other travel arrangements,” the company said in a statement to ABC News. “Another tip is to consider booking at a neighborhood car rental location which may have more availability when airport volumes are high.”

Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and others, said it is also seeing the same increased demand for vehicles and similarly recommended people make their reservations early.

“Providing flexible travel dates and branch pick up locations in your search may also help increase your options,” the company said in a statement to ABC News.

ABC News’ Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.



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Readers share tips from their trips


The pandemic has taken a toll on travel during the past 19 months, but many people are starting to venture to destinations that they only dreamed of visiting last year.

Or if you are staying a bit closer to home for your adventures, that’s great, too! Hello, Columbus would love to have a photo of you and your family or friends at your travel destinations.

Regardless of whether you are sending us a photo from near or far, choose a vacation photo showing you, your companions and the Travel page, and send it to The Dispatch. Make sure to include the names and hometowns of the people pictured, from left to right; where the photo was taken; a tip to help other travelers; and contact information for you in case we have questions. But please, no submissions from previous years.

Submissions can be emailed to Becky Kover, [email protected]



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7 Items Our Expert Flight Attendant Packs In His Carry On For International Trips


Our carry-on bag for domestic travel is packed and ready for take off. Now it’s time to take on international trips. As a retired flight attendant with over 20 years of experience, I suggest you have these seven items in your carry-on bag for traveling internationally. (This is in addition to the electronics, entertainment, and more that go in our carry-on for domestic travel.)

Why do I pack more in my carry-on for international travel? The U.S. has rules that flights can be delayed on the tarmac for no more than a few hours before taking off or after landing. These rules do not apply internationally. If the aircraft has to make an impromptu stop — like for a medical emergency — passengers are not always allowed to get off the plane or may be restricted to certain areas of the airport.

All this is to say that domestically, you have the opportunity to deplane and hopefully purchase any items you may need. Internationally, you may not get that chance. Therefore, my bags are packed a little differently for international flights. Here’s what’s in my carry-on bag when traveling abroad, followed by a few pro tips that make the trip easier.

1. Pencil Pouch

I used to carry a bag of pens and pencils to complete customs forms. Although these forms are now electronic, I still have a pencil case just in case. I suggest you have a black ink pen and a pencil with an eraser. Lots of people take notes on their phones nowadays, but you never know when you’ll need a pencil or pen!

Pro Tip: Write down the address of your hotel. Sometimes customs forms ask for this information.

2. Change Of Clothes

I always have a change of clothes on hand. I love my KÜHL travel pants and shirts. They are lightweight, easy to wear, stretchable, and affordable. These come in handy if your checked baggage doesn’t arrive when you do. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to pack a change of undergarments, too.

3. Soap Sheets And Other Tolietries

Bringing along some toiletries in your carry-on bag will help keep you feeling fresh even if your flight is delayed or your bags get lost. I pack soap sheets, which dissolve in water and lather like regular soap and a washcloth, but wet wipes will do the trick. And please, don’t forget your deodorant!

I always put my toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste in my carry-on. They also come in handy if you eat something particularly offensive in the airport. Your seatmates will thank you.

4. Jacket 

Lightweight, durable, and multi-functional, Patagonia is my jacket of choice. It keeps me warm, covers me in the rain, and has detachable sleeves. It’s not the cheapest, but I believe it gives me what I need when I travel.

5. Medication

When traveling internationally, I keep two to three days’ worth of medication in my carry-on bag. This way, should my luggage be delayed, I still have my meds on hand.

6. RFID-blocking Passport Holder

Keep your passport and all documents you’ll need together. You’ll also need to have your proof of vaccination records. I have an inexpensive RFID-blocking passport holder for safety and peace of mind. The holder isn’t just for your passport. Use it to store credit cards, boarding passes, and other important documents. This keeps your personal information safe from being stolen.

7. Snacks

I included snacks on my carry-on list for domestic travel, but so many of us have food allergies or restrictive diets that I’m including it here, too. Remember to pack any food you may need on your travels.

Pro Tips For Travelling Internationally

Check The State Department Website

If you have questions about international travel, Travel.State.Gov is a good resource. It suggests registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and help locate you in an emergency. The State Department website also has helpful tips for everything from preparing for your trip to returning to the U.S. on an expired passport.

Sign Up For Global Entry

If you hate long lines and are somewhat tech-savvy, check out Global Entry. It’s a trusted traveler program that will help to speed up your entry back into the U.S. Some major credit card companies will reimburse your application fee.

Sign Up For Clear

CLEAR is an easy way to bypass those long security lines at TSA and, right now, you can get a 2-month free trial with code: 2FREE. Again, some major credit card companies will reimburse your application fee.

Happy travels!

Related Reading:

  1. The Best Passport Covers (Review 2021)
  2. TSA PreCheck Vs. Clear Vs. Global Entry: What’s The Difference?
  3. 21 Expert Tips For Traveling Internationally Right Now



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Holiday travel trips with AAA


Posted:
Updated:

The travel industry is bouncing back which means if you’re planning to travel this holiday season, now is the time to book those trips.

According to AAA‘s regional director of public affairs, Skyler McKinley, around 52% of Coloradans plan to take a vacation of three or more days during the 2021 holiday season, this is up from 26% at this time last year.

Travel demand is surging, in large part because of the vaccine. Of the Coloradans who report to be fully or partially vaccinated, 76 percent are confident the vaccine will protect them from contracting COVID-19 while traveling. And, even amid the rise of the Delta variant, only 30 percent of Coloradans who made travel plans before it emerged canceled or changed those plans as a result.

Coloradans are ready to travel again – but travel is more complex than it’s ever been. It’s going to require more homework than you’re used to, and the more flexible you can be and the earlier you book, the better. Travelers should also expect to jump through more hoops than they would otherwise to get to where they want to go – something they’re willing to do.



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6 Best Fall Trips To Take In The U.S.


Autumn is such a beautiful time to travel, peep foliage, and do all the fall things. Looking for a great trip to go on this season? TravelAwaits writers are here to inspire your autumnal travels as they share their favorite fall vacation destinations below.

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse in Alpena, Michigan
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Huron in Presque Isle, Michigan (Photo Credit: Melody Pittman)

1. Alpena, Michigan

Alpena, Michigan, and the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes region is one of travel blogger Melody Pittman’s favorite fall destinations. This adorable beach town is located in the northeast of the mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula. Pittman says its “unique attractions are exceptional in the fall.”

“The historic 1840 Old Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Huron is gorgeous. The food and drinks from Austin Brothers Beer Company are outstanding. You can also learn about nautical life on the Great Lakes and shipwrecks at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.”

Head to Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman to take a horse-drawn carriage ride to view Rocky Mountain elk. Afterward, enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner and wine tasting event. Sip cider, go apple picking, and munch on cider donuts at Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm.

“My favorite thing is to visit Ocqueoc Falls, an easy walking trail with the first universally accessible waterfall in the country,” describes Pittman. “The landscape is really stunning with the leaves changing colors overhead.”

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC (Photo Credit: Christine Chagaris)

2. Asheville, North Carolina

North Carolina is known for its fall foliage. Expert contributor Chris Chagaris just returned from her first visit to Asheville, which has become her new favorite fall vacation destination. “I was awestruck by the vibrant, changing fall colors and the beautiful weather,” describes Chagaris. She says there was “still a touch of warmth, with a fall breeze in the air that was punctuated by a glorious blue sky with puffy clouds.” Breathtaking scenery off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the many things to do downtown and in the surrounding area sealed the deal for Chagaris.

“Asheville more than delivered for a great week away, successfully mixing fall’s beauty and a variety of things to do,” says Chagaris. She visited the famed Biltmore Estate, checked out the cool shops downtown, and tasted some great Southern barbecue while she was in town. If you go, be sure to try a few of the best restaurants in Asheville.

Pro Tip: Swing by the Smokies. “Asheville is not that far from Tennessee, so a visit to Dollywood was also on the agenda and added a dose of extra fun,” says Chagaris.

Lake Washington in autumn (Photo Credit: cdrin / Shutterstock.com)

3. Lake Washington, Washington

Offering breathtaking views with the Seattle skyline in the distance, Lake Washington is Pacific Northwest-based freelance writer Jo-Anne Bowen’s favorite fall vacation destination. The Hyatt Regency Lake Washington serves as her headquarters. Situated on the southeastern shore of the lake, the four-star hotel is located in Renton, Washington. “I have just returned from two nights’ stay compliments of Hyatt Hotels and Greenrubino,” says Bowen, who assures us that, “all thoughts and opinions are [her] own.”

Incredible fall foliage surrounds the lakeshore. Relax while watching the water traffic and enjoy waterfront dining. “Pamper yourself at the hotel resort Spa at the Lake, enjoy an invigorating workout at the gym and the pool, then relax in the soothing waters of the hot tub,” Bowen suggests. You don’t have to twist your arms!

Adjacent to the hotel, you’ll find the beautiful 57-acre Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, which offers 1.5 miles of paved, ADA-accessible trails. Pay tribute to Jimi Hendricks at the Historical Memorial in Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery. Downtown Seattle attractions, including Chihuly Garden And Glass, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market, are just 20 minutes away.

Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills in Upstate New York's Hudson Valley
Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills in Upstate New York’s Hudson Valley (Photo Credit: Sage Scott)

4. Hudson Valley In Upstate New York

“When it comes to crisp mornings and rich colors, it’s hard to beat the Hudson Valley in Upstate New York as a fall destination,” says travel writer Sage Scott. “Whether you head north from New York City or south from Albany, the best stops along the Hudson River stretch from Tarrytown to Catskill.”

“Gallop with the Headless Horseman by visiting the real places that inspired Washington Irving’s short story in Sleepy Hollow,” suggests Scott. “Admire the views once available to only the mega-rich by touring the grounds of Gilded Age mansions framed by yellow, orange, and red leaves. Or, get a bird’s eye view by walking over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. Feel the crunch of leaves under your boots when you hike with an alpaca in Hyde Park. Drink in the beauty of Kaaterskill Falls. Let the sounds of nature serenade you to sleep when you spend the night glamping at Treetopia in Catskill.”

Fall Foliage looking down from the skywalk (Photo Credit: Robin O’Neal Smith)

5. Route 6 In Northern Pennsylvania

Writer Robin O’Neal Smith contends that “the perfect fall vacation for people who enjoy the changing colors of the leaves is a road trip across Route 6 in northern Pennsylvania.” She just visited a couple of weeks ago. “This area is absolutely gorgeous in autumn with no crowds and lots to see and do along the way,” she says of the experience.

Can’t-miss locations for gorgeous leaf peeping include the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk in Mount Jewett and Pine Creek Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” near Wellsboro. “Both provide a spectacular view year-round, but in autumn, Mother Nature really shows off,” says Smith.

“As you travel east along Route 6 through Potter and Tioga counties, you will see an abundance of fall foliage. Due to the natural environment and its remoteness, Potter County has been nicknamed ‘Gods Country,’” remarks Smith. “One visit in the fall and you will agree.”

“As you continue on Route 6 with stops at the various overlooks in Towanda, and then on to the Tunkhannock Viaduct, the scarlet, gold, crimson, rust, and orange colors of leaves will amaze you,” she says. Spectacular fall foliage is showcased the entire drive along PA Route 6. “Stops in the little towns along the way will provide you with fun things to do and some unique shopping opportunities,” says Smith.

Green, yellow, orange and red aspens on a hillside above Taos New Mexico
Aspens on a hillside above Taos, New Mexico (Photo Credit: Terry W Ryder / Shutterstock.com)

6. Taos, New Mexico

Taos in the fall is one of the most beautiful sights to see in New Mexico,” Liz Carey tells us in her article, The Most Beautiful U.S. Cities In The Fall. “Known as ‘The Land of Enchantment,’ New Mexico’s painted desert offers stunning vistas year-round, but fall’s colors add to the spectacle.” It also happens to be a great place to spend Thanksgiving.

This scenic mountain town offers plenty of outdoor activities, but it may already be too chilly to enjoy in the fall. Instead, Carey suggests taking in the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway by car to view some of the changing colors. Or, drive down the High Road to Taos, the scenic byway between Taos and Sante Fe.

If trains are more your thing, Carey suggests hopping on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad located a couple of hours away in Chama, New Mexico. Take in the gorgeous fall foliage as you ride on a coal-fired steam engine through steep mountain canyons, high deserts, and lush meadows along the Colorado and New Mexico border.

Related Reading:



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Readers share tips from their trips


The pandemic has taken a toll on travel during the past 19 months, but many people are starting to venture to destinations that they only dreamed of visiting last year.

Or if you are staying a bit closer to home for your adventures, that’s great, too! Hello, Columbus would love to have a photo of you and your family or friends at your travel destinations.

Regardless of whether you are sending us a photo from near or far, choose a vacation photo showing you, your companions and the Travel page, and send it to The Dispatch. Make sure to include the names and hometowns of the people pictured, from left to right; where the photo was taken; a tip to help other travelers; and contact information for you in case we have questions. But please, no submissions from previous years.

Submissions can be emailed to Becky Kover, [email protected]



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9 Tips to Save Money on Travel So You Can Afford More Trips




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Readers share travel tips from their trips


The pandemic has taken a toll on travel during the past 19 months, but many people are starting to venture to destinations that they only dreamed of visiting last year.

Or if you are staying a bit closer to home for your adventures, that’s great, too! Hello, Columbus would love to have a photo of you and your family or friends at your travel destinations.

Regardless of whether you are sending us a photo from near or far, choose a vacation photo showing you, your companions and the Travel page, and send it to The Dispatch. Make sure to include the names and hometowns of the people pictured, from left to right; where the photo was taken; a tip to help other travelers; and contact information for you in case we have questions. But please, no submissions from previous years.

Submissions can be emailed to Becky Kover, [email protected]



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