The Most Affordable Cities in the World for a Weekend Trip

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By Melanie Lieberman Posted August 01, 2016

These fun destinations might surprise you.

This piece originally appeared on

It's possible to take an affordable summer vacation—if you know where to go.

TripAdvisor has announced the results of their annual TripIndex Cities cost-comparison study, showing that travelers can save $600 by opting for a trip to a more affordable city.

Of the 39 key tourist cities included in the survey, more than half of the cities on the U.S. list were in the South, including Washington D.C. and Atlanta.

New Orleans ranked No. 1 as the most budget friendly destination in the country. Some of the most fun things to do in New Orleans are super cheap: like eating po’boys with fried oysters and beignets covered in powdered sugar.

“Southern cities offer the least expensive prices for a summer getaway,” said Brooke Ferencsik, TripAdvisor’s senior director of communications. She noted that compared to cities on the West Coast, travelers could save as much as 30 percent by heading to the region.

For the cheapest hotel rates, however, you’ll want to take a trip to Las Vegas. Though tours and activities are significantly more expensive than those in New Orleans, you’ll spend an average of $190 per night on a hotel there (try the shockingly affordable Red Rock Hotel & Casino, where rooms offer sweeping canyon views and can be booked for as little as $80 per night), whereas an evening in New Orleans will run you approximately $217.

The outlier on the list is Orlando, which ranked as the No. 1 most expensive domestic city, where three days can cost you upwards of $2,217. You have outrageous theme park prices to thank for that price tag. Of course, you can always save money at Disney with coupon codes and expert hacks.

But according to the TripIndex, a flight across the world to Vietnam could actually be the most cost-effective way to travel this summer.

A three-day trip in the frenetic city of Hanoi, in northern Vietnam, costs approximately $500, including taxi rides, meals, tours, and hotel accommodations. A vacation of the same length in New Orleans, on the other hand, could run you upwards of $1,100. All you need to do is score a good flight deal (and ultra-low fares to Southeast Asia do appear regularly).

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If you choose to splurge on your accommodations while in Vietnam, consider bedding down at the grand dame Sofitel Legend Metropole—one of the most historic and luxurious hotels in the country. Even still, Asia is known for offering some of the cheapest luxury hotel rates on the planet.

For more cheap places to travel and economical getaways, check out our budget travel page for wallet-friendly ideas that mean zero compromise.

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.

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