Last week, you guys seemed to love our feature on the five most affordable U.S. travel destinations for 2015. So this week, we're expanding it to a full 10! If you're planning on vacationing in the U.S. this year, you're spoiled for choice, with options that range from stunning natural beauty to vibrant cities — and a full spectrum of colorful culture in between.
But too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing. How do you know you'll get your money's worth? Read on to see our new list of travel destinations that will definitely be affordable this year.
Top 10 U.S. Cities for Traveling on the Cheap in 2015
Hippie Haven: Austin, TX
Considered by many to be the most "liveable" city in the country, Austin offers something for everyone. From its proud music tradition to its college-town feel, this city is a great place to just hang out and enjoy. Budget travelers will enjoy the bargain paradise Renaissance Market, plus save on transport by renting a bike. Revel in the city's motto "Keep Austin Weird" and you'll find yourself wondering why you don't live here. We've seen one-way airfare on Frontier from as low as $49 depending on the route. (Just make sure you don't go during SXSW, when prices skyrocket.)
Southern Hospitality: Charleston, SC
Step back in time with a trip to Charleston, SC, and experience the genteel South. But that doesn't mean it's stuck in the past. These days, Charleston has a bustling restaurant scene and plenty of art galleries. To get the best bang for your buck, we recommend trying out one of the city's many B&Bs to experience the full-extent of Southern hospitality. Currently we have a deal for stays at the Beaufort Inn in Beaufort, SC, from $109 per night. It's about an hour and a half south of Charleston.
Valley of the Sun: Phoenix, AZ
This one-time ranch town has long-since ditched the 10-gallon hats and boot spurs. These days Phoenix is carved with newly-created golf courses, luxury spas, world-class shopping, and palatial resorts. With the stunning surroundings of the Sonoran Desert and year-round sunshine, Phoenix is the perfect destination for families and 20-somethings alike. We're currently seeing airfare to Phoenix on American Airlines starting from $141 roundtrip. We also regularly see the AAA 4-Diamond Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa with prices ranging from $89 per night to $171 per night.
Microbrewery Capital of the World: Portland, OR
For too long, Portland, OR, was overlooked as a destination of interest, but this unassuming city is ready to explode onto the travel radar. Portland is a city to be experienced as a whole, rather than a place with a check-list of attractions. It's a cyclist's paradise, so rent a bike to explore the city at a fraction of the cost of car rental. Cafe-hop from coffee house to coffee house and make time to sample Portland's craft beer scene, with more microbreweries to choose from than any other city on earth! Check out Virgin America's 1-way fares to and from Portland for $58.10.
Rust Belt Revival: Pittsburgh, PA
Conde Nast placed Pittsburgh at number three on its list of the Top 15 places to go in 2015, and with good reason. Pittsburgh is coming into its own as a city of discerning tastes with an affordable price-tag. Visit world-class art galleries like the Warhol, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Mattress Factory, then head to the Primanti Brothers Restaurant for what Conde Nast calls "the best sandwich of your life."
The Big Easy: New Orleans, LA
A melting pot of French, Caribbean, and African cultures, New Orleans is a unique and exciting travel destination. Despite its popularity, we regularly see 1-way airfare for around $34 on Spirit Airlines and return for around $120 on American Airlines. Keep a particular eye out for deals at the Rathbone Mansions. This hotel is situated in the city's historic French Quarter and deals usually include a jazz brunch at the Court of Two Sisters and a bonus $100 Restaurant.com credit. But be warned, if you're pinching your pennies we recommend avoiding travel during mid-February, when prices soar for the city's annual Mardi Gras festival.
Golf Lover's Dream: Myrtle Beach, SC
Voted TripAdvisor's number one destination for 2014, Myrtle Beach is still a great vacation choice to score deals in 2015. Expect to find Myrtle Beach hotel deals from $28 to $40 per night and 1-way airfare on Spirit for around $30 to $60. Hotels and beaches get pretty crowded in early March when the Spring Break crowd takes over, but if you're willing to stay further out you can still find reasonable rates.
Sin City: Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas has long been known as America's playground, but the quality of your experience can vary wildly. We recommend keeping an eye out for deals to the Venetian, Signature at MGM Grand, and the newest hotel on the Strip, SLS Las Vegas. We regularly see deals for these luxury hotels on BookIt and Groupon that include upgrades to suites, up to $100 in Restaurant.com credit, and bonus extras like transfers and bus tours. If you're looking for airfare, wait for one of Virgin America's regular sales. They usually include flights to Las Vegas from $48 to $68 1-way.
Mile-High City: Denver, CO
With the stunning Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, Denver has made a name for itself as the Amsterdam of America with its booming microbreweries, cafe culture, and cosmopolitan art scene (among other similarities). Frontier Airlines is based in Denver and often discounts flights in and out of the city, with rates as low as $15!
Music City, USA: Nashville, TN
Nashville is featured in the top three of Lonely Planet's top 10 list of the best value destinations in the US and on Conde Nast's 30 places to see before you're 30, and for good reason. With famously low hotel rates, uncountable free events, and mouth-watering barbecue, Nashville is a bargain-hunter's dream. Currently Groupon is running an offer for stays at the Baymont Inn & Suites Nashville Airport from $55 per night.
Readers, what are your favorite budget getaways in the U.S.? Let us know in the comments below, and vote in our poll while you're at it!
Paula Bradley has taught English in Japan and Italy, and she has written for several e-zines aimed at Westerners living abroad. She uses her experience across the six continents to inform her travel features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire
unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were
available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of
publication (unless otherwise specified).