Cheap Vacation Ideas and Tips

It’s that time of year where we all feel like we need a vacation. But sometimes, it can be hard to take the vacation you want on the budget you have. Luckily, the smart and savvy traveler has Smart Destinations to make that trip happen, no matter how much or how little you have to work with. Check out a few of our favorite tips for budget-friendly vacations!

Cheap Vacation Tips

Don’t let guidebooks overwhelm you! Check out our popular itineraries and trip planning tools to get the most important information on your destination, fast.

Let’s start with travel and transit costs. If you need to fly to your destination, use a site like Kayak to keep an eye on the best airline deals. Airlines usually update their pricing throughout the week, although Wednesday is the best day for sales. If you have a favorite airline, be sure to get on their e-mail list to hear about great deals first! Once you’re at your destination, explore your transit options carefully. Some places, like Los Angeles or Oahu, are often easier to navigate with a rental car. (Tip – the Go Oahu Card includes a Jeep Wrangler rental as one of its bonus attraction options!) A lot of cities, however, have excellent and cost-effective public transit systems – like Chicago and New York City – or are eminently suited for some casual walking – like Boston or San Francisco. All Go City Cards and Explorer passes including maps and pricing information for local public transit systems in the free, full-color guidebook that comes with your pass, so no worrying about extra research!

Cheap Vacation Tips - Shedd Aquarium

A dolphin show at the Shedd Aquarium – you won’t want to miss this!

Now on to the fun part. Say you’re looking to be an urban explorer – go to a new city, check out the major sites, and get a real feel for the local experience. But everyone knows that city tours are pricey, and long lines can eat up too much of your time. Fortunately, Go City Cards include some of the best city-wide tours, attractions, and museums for free! Plus, skip the line at top attractions – you’ll feel like a VIP as you stroll past the unfortunate souls stuck standing out in the hot sun for hours. Pick up a Go Chicago Card, and skip right to the top at 360 CHICAGO for some stunning views of Michigan Avenue, or take the kids to Shedd Aquarium for the day.

Cheap Vacation Tips - San Francisco

A view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge

Or maybe you’re looking for a fun-in-the-sun, outdoorsy type of vacation. Go City Cards include free admission to practically every kind of outdoor activity you can think of – from kayaking La Jolla Bay to biking around Central Park. Want to try snorkeling in Hawaii? Take a quick lesson and then head out to the South Shore to try some Hanauma Bay snorkeling for yourself. Always wanted to tour the great Redwoods of California? Take a self-guided bike tour to Old Mill Redwood Park, just outside of San Francisco, or one of many other exciting San Francisco bike tours. Interested in a refreshing and charming Caribbean cruise? Take a Key West day trip from Miami! You’ll be able to enjoy all of these attractions and more with a budget-friendly Go City Card!

Looking for places to dine, shop, or pick up souvenirs? Go City Cards include valuable insider benefits like extra discounts on restaurants, shops, and more. You can even check out our website for trip planning advice, popular itineraries for your destination, and insider tips on everything from the best time to visit an attraction to must-see special exhibits and local festivals. Happy exploring!

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