SmartAsset: Most Affordable Destinations This Holiday Season – 2022 Survey

As Americans ring in the New Year, travel is a top priority. About a third of Americans make vacationing one of their top priorities, according to the American Travel Association. And so far, travel spending in September 2022 has reached its highest level since the pandemic. With prices rising across the board as inflation rises, it’s important to get the most out of your vacation budget, and some cities offer better opportunities to do just that.

To determine the most affordable destinations, we looked at 35 of the country’s largest cities and calculated the cost of a three-day trip, taking into account hotels, car rentals, air travel, and meals. Cities were ranked based on total cost for a family of four. We also calculated individual traveler costs to provide more context. For more information on how we found and analyzed the data, please read the Data and Methodology section below.

Main findings

  • Southern cities make up half of the top 10 cities. Travelers this holiday season can save even more by traveling south to warmer climates. Two of the three most affordable travel destinations are in the South (El Paso, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee), and overall, the region has higher hotel room rates and Food prices tend to be low.

  • Traveling together saves a lot of time. On average, a family of four spends about 2.78 times as much as an individual. This means that a family of four traveling together is more affordable than traveling with three. The difference in spending is most pronounced in Phoenix, Arizona, where the ratio is lowest (2.53x).

1. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, the capital of Ohio, tops the list for the most affordable destinations to travel this holiday season. Here’s why: A three-night trip for his family of four would cost him about $2,867. This is the only city where he is considered to be below $3,000. Specifically, Columbus airfare is about $275 per person for her, the cheapest of all the cities reviewed in this study. The hotel also ranks in the top 10 for average room rates, averaging $157 per room.

2. El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas excels in daily food costs ($15 per person) and hotel costs ($146 per room), ranking among the top three cities on both metrics. Combined with airfare and rental car costs, her three-night trip to Texas’ sixth-largest city is expected to cost a family of four about $3,014.

3. Memphis, Tennessee

Like Memphis, the second-largest city, Memphis, Tennessee ranks fourth and fourth with low daily food costs ($24 per person) and low hotel rates (just over $149 per room). Ranked 5th. Car rental costs around $51 per day, and airfare is just over $400. In total, that’s about $3,200 for a three-night trip.

4. Oklahoma City, OK

For a family of four, we find Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to be the most affordable hotel room rate for a day (about $137 per room) among the cities examined in this study. Additionally, Oklahoma City has his second lowest average daily food cost (about $23 per person). For a three-night stay, a family of four would pay her just over $3,300 in the Oklahoma capital.

5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

A three-night stay in Albuquerque, New Mexico will cost a family of four about $3,361, or just under $1,200 for a solo traveller. Airfare and rental cars in the area are more expensive than other cities in the top 10, but hotel room and meals more than make up for it.

6. Kansas City, Missouri

A three-night stay for a family of four in Kansas City, Missouri costs approximately $3,405. A solo traveler he spends nearly $1,200. Airfare to the area isn’t the most affordable, but daily car rental, hotel room rates, and meals rank among the top 11 most affordable cities across the study.

7. Fresno, California

Fresno, CA ranks among the top five cities on all three metrics for low hotel, car rental, and dining costs. A family of four spends about $282 a day in hotel rooms, less than $45 in car rentals, and just under $100 a day in food.

8. Jacksonville, Florida

A family of 4 can move around Jacksonville, FL and enjoy a meal at an affordable price. Jacksonville has the eighth lowest car rental ($44) and her sixth lowest dining ($25 per person). Hotel rates are around $180 per room, and airfare is just over $410 per person.

9. Baltimore, Maryland

Charm City ranks highest on transportation-related metrics in the study, ranking first for cheapest daily rental car ($40) and eighth for airfare ($376 per person). Both the cost of a typical hotel room in Baltimore and the cost of an average meal are included in the top 25 cities.

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

The entertainment capital of the world has a lot to offer families and individual travelers, including affordable travel costs needed. A flight to Las Vegas, Nevada costs about $290 per person (second cheapest). Hotel rates for a family of four average less than $240 per night. Also, car rental and meals for a family of four generally don’t exceed $170 total per day.

Data and methodology

SmartAsset analyzed data from 35 of America’s largest cities to find the most affordable destinations to travel to this holiday season. Next he considered four factors.

  • average airfare. This is for Q2 2022 and includes one-way and round-trip domestic flights. The data for this indicator is provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

  • Average hotel room rate per night. Data is taken from

  • Average daily rate for a rental car. Data is taken from

  • Average cost of a meal at a restaurant. Travelers are expected to have two meals per day at mid-range restaurants. Data comes from

Using the formula below, we ranked the most affordable to most affordable cities according to the total cost of a 3 days, 3 nights trip for a family of 4.

(Average hotel room rate x 2 rooms x 3 nights) + (Average car rental rate x 3 days) + (Average flight cost x 4 tickets) + (Average meal cost x 4 people x 2 meals x 3 days)

For additional context, we also calculated the cost of a personal 3-day, 3-night trip.

(Average hotel room rate x 1 room x 3 nights) + (Average car rental rate x 3 days) + (Average flight cost x 1 ticket) + (Average meal cost x 1 person x 2 meals x 3 days)

Tips for vacation travelers

  • Save now so you can go on vacation later. You can use your budget to meet your daily needs and future spending, and squeeze out a fun and relaxing getaway whenever you need it. SmartAsset Budget Calculator You’ll have a clearer picture of your spending habits, making it easier to save and save money each month.

  • let your money work for you. If you’re considering a new credit card, consider the benefits of a travel-specific credit card. Earn rewards and save money on your travel expenses.Here is our summary best travel credit card.

  • Get financial advice. Managing the moving parts of investing and retirement can be overwhelming.a financial adviser It helps guide key decisions and grow your portfolio. SmartAsset free tools will match you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area. You can interview Advisor Matching for free to determine which advisor is right for you. If you are ready to find an advisor who can help you reach your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our research? Please contact

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