Budget-Friendly Vacation Ideas For Students and Young Adults

Need an exciting vacation this summer on a budget? Consider these budget-friendly travel ideas tailored for students and young adults.

Lyon may get all of the travel adoration, but Paris’ younger sibling offers an equally charming yet more affordable getaway. Travel here on a tight budget and you will leave feeling victorious!

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is an attractive small town filled with plenty of charm. Enjoy local brews and chowders while touring historic landmarks; for something a bit more adventurous try hiking along rocky coastal trails and carriage roads.

Join a guided whale- and lighthouse-spotting tour during high season, and discover Native American artifacts at Abbe Museum (an affiliate of Smithsonian).

Explore Acadia National Park by driving or using the free Island Explorer Shuttle, while children will love visiting George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History where they can touch tide pool tanks containing marine life.


Flights between New York and Flagstaff offer an affordable and hassle-free means of reaching this mountain town, and KAYAK’s airline reviews make finding the ideal flight much simpler.

Experience Flagstaff’s most elegant restaurant for an exquisite meal without breaking the bank. James Beard nominated chef Rochelle Daniel offers beautifully presented contemporary American cuisine like ginger-scented oysters drizzled with hibiscus granita or beef tartare topped with rye brown butter crumble.

San Francisco Street wine bar Hooked Sauvignon Blanc from Loire is a favorite spot of locals looking for a place to relax over a glass of wine and board game. Pair your butter bean hummus or black garlic baba ganoush with this bottle for the best possible experience!

Black Hills

South Dakota offers visitors an idyllic blend of rolling prairies, winding mountain roads, and iconic American monuments that is sure to amaze. Families can explore history at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial; witness Deadwood come alive; or explore glass art workshops.

Sturdy hikers can conquer Black Elk Peak on its challenging trail leading up to one of America’s highest mountains, while kids will love exploring Panama Rocks Scenic Park’s 60-foot crevices and hidden passageways.

Family-friendly dining options in Custer State Park include The Purple Pie Place, Black Hills Burger & Bun (Tripadvisor’s #1 burger of 2014) and Cedar Pass Lodge. Four resorts also serve meals to non-guests at reasonable rates.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg stands as a beacon of American history, its founding history being brought alive with reenactments, interactive tours and live performances that help students gain a deeper insight into a changing American identity and its influence in their own lives.

At its height during colonial times, the Capitol was the place where laws were made law, debates on revolutionary ideas and court cases for emancipation were held; today it serves as a site for daily tours.

Los Angeles

People often associate LA with Hollywood, handprints on the Walk of Fame and shopping at Rodeo Drive; but this world-famous city offers much more than this image implies.

Families looking for something out-of-the-ordinary should visit Olvera Street, an authentic Mexican marketplace offering authentic cuisine and souvenirs, or Avila Adobe, an historic home and museum with free admission. For something out of the ordinary, stop by Travel Town Museum with its miniature train ride and other kid-friendly attractions.


Minneapolis offers more than its iconic shopping mall and sculpture park; it is also an amazing city for live music and foodie events.

Finding affordable meals in NYC is easier than ever with food trucks and restaurants like Sebastian Joe’s offering dishes such as pork carnitas or chocolate raspberry chip ice cream. Or take the local route by exploring Midtown Global Market where farmers sell their produce while taking in a free outdoor concert by an established touring musician!

New York City

New York City is notoriously pricey, featuring Michelin three-star restaurants and luxurious hotels that cost an arm and a leg. But with proper research and restraint when making purchases, New York City can still be affordable.

Make time to stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for pay-what-you-will day and rent kayaks free on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Additionally, discover historic neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and SoHo for affordable dining and local culture before ending a busy sightseeing day by watching the Rockettes perform live!

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