5 Affordable Trips for Your Family This Holiday Season

Copacabana Beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain,Rio de Janeiro.
marchello74 / iStock.com

After a busy season of work and life responsibilities, the idea of hopping on a plane and relaxing on a sandy beach or in front of a crackling fireplace may be more appealing than ever. However, the crutch holding many families back this year from enjoying a well-deserved vacation is rising costs that have led to expensive travel.

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If you were planning to travel this winter and had to skip the trip this year due to expenses, you aren’t the only one. According to a recent survey conducted by GOBankingRates, 16% of Americans are in the same boat as you and opted out of travel this year for financial reasons. Although travel costs may be on the rise this winter, you don’t need to sacrifice rest and relaxation.

Here’s a deeper dive into our survey results and a look at some affordable trips for your family this holiday season.

51% of Americans Noticed Rising Prices for Travel This Year

If you had to cancel your family trip this year, you might find it somewhat comforting to know that you aren’t the only one. According to the GOBankingRates survey, 51% of Americans noticed prices rising for travel this year and 16% of Americans skipped traveling for the holidays in light of rising costs.

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Additionally, many Americans are opting out of travel altogether this winter. The survey revealed that 42% of Americans do not plan to travel at all during the holidays. Of those not traveling this year, the majority are Americans over 65, as 65% of respondents in this age bracket said they won’t be traveling. On the other hand, Gen Zers are less inclined to skip travel this winter as only 30% of those ages 18 to 24 said they are not traveling during the holidays.

29% of Americans Plan To Spend Less Than $500 on Travel During the Holidays

While many Americans are opting out of travel this winter, some are still planning to satisfy their craving for travel but keeping their costs low. The survey revealed that 29% of Americans are planning to spend less than $500 on travel during the holidays. While the majority of respondents are sticking to a lower budget, some Americans are willing to spend a little more on a holiday vacation as 11% of respondents plan to spend between $501 and $1,000. Additionally, 5% plan to spend between $1,001 and $1,500.

Due to so many Americans looking for affordable travel opportunities this winter, let’s take a look at some great options that won’t leave you in debt going into the new year.

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Affordable Trips To Book for Your Family This Holiday Season

If you want to get away without blowing your budget, consider one of these affordable destinations.

Weekend Staycation in Kansas City, Missouri

A great option for travelers looking for a more affordable holiday trip is visiting Kansas City, Missouri, for a weekend staycation. Opt for a shorter trip to save on expenses while enjoying all the sightseeing opportunities and activities this bustling city features. Travelers can explore the city’s several museums, art galleries and live music venues. There are also a plethora of great restaurant options, many of which feature weekend discounts.

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Two-Day Trip to St. Louis

Often overlooked, St. Louis has much to offer travelers who can only stay for a short while. The city has many affordable — and free — attractions, leaving more room in your budget for other holiday expenses. Some popular St. Louis attractions include the Missouri Botanical Garden, the St. Louis Zoo and the City Museum. If you’re looking for an affordable night out, there are several restaurants and bars in town with happy hour specials.

Check Out a State or National Park Near You

Be sure to check out the affordable travel options in your area before splurging on a luxurious travel excursion overseas. Depending on your state and the park, state parks might cost between $0 to $10 per vehicle to enter and offer activities such as hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. They can also be very family-friendly, as they tend to be well-marked and easy to navigate, and offer plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning for younger travelers. If a day or two of active outdoor adventures is not up your alley, consider bringing a picnic into the park and enjoy a relaxing day in nature with family and friends.

Venture To Rio de Janeiro

Consider traveling to Brazil if you are looking to vacation abroad on a budget. While flight prices might fluctuate depending on where you’re traveling from and when you’re traveling, this city is ideal for travelers looking to save while experiencing some of the most one-of-a-kind opportunities South America has to offer, complete with stunning beaches, exciting nightlife and views from every angle. If you are looking to travel somewhere that doesn’t feel like you are in a big city, Rio is the way to go. You can escape from the buzz of life at home by experiencing the hiking trails, botanical gardens, lagoons, waterfalls and rainforests the city has to offer.

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Explore Budapest, Hungary

Another fantastic option for travelers looking to stay under budget this holiday season while still getting to explore new locations is checking out the vibrant city of Budapest. If you can afford to fly, costs will drop once you get to Budapest. This city is full of museums and historical landmarks and is ideal for travelers on a budget due to its many affordable hotels and restaurants. This city is perfect for travelers looking for lively nightlife as the city offers incredible bars and restaurants ideal for party lovers. Additionally, the city is rich in history and features fascinating architecture and majestic natural beauty, making it a must-see spot for travelers looking for a beautiful holiday getaway.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,025 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21, 2022, asking 18 questions: (1) Do you plan on spending more or less on holiday shopping this year?; (2) With the current state of inflation, how much more do you expect to spend on holiday shopping this year?; (3) What is your favorite place to shop for the holidays?; (4) Do you have to change any of the following holiday traditions this year due to rising costs?; (5) Where do you do the majority of your holiday shopping?; (6) How much do sales factor into your holiday shopping?; (7) How much time do you take off from work during the holidays?; (8) How much would you typically spend on a gift for a family member?; (9) How much would you typically spend on a gift for a friend?; (10) Where have you noticed rising prices for holiday shopping/expenses this year? (Select all that apply); (11) When did you start or plan to start your holiday shopping this year?; (12) As the holiday season approaches, which of the following applies to you?; (13) How much do you plan to spend exclusively on gifts this holiday season?; (14) How much do you plan to spend on travel during the holidays?; (15) Who do you tip for the holiday season?; (16) Do you tip extra to service workers (food delivery, Uber, hairdresser, etc.) during the holidays?; (17) What is the primary way you plan on paying for your holiday spending?; and (18) What holiday purchases do you make at the dollar store? (Select all that apply). GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
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