Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance you or someone you know has been to San Francisco – the City By the Bay is among the most visited cities in the United States. For international tourists, whose entry and travel patterns are easier to track, it’s the country’s fifth-most popular urban destination, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office‘s 2013 report – behind only New York City, Miami, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Orlando.
Travel rewards credit cards fall into several broad categories. First, airline rewards credit cards are designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships. When purchasing airfare, in-flight incidentals, and possibly other travel-related items, cardholders earn points at accelerated rates. Once enough points are racked up, they can be redeemed for free or discounted flights, free or reduced baggage fees, and other goodies. Some airline rewards cards offer additional perks and benefits, such as airport lounge access, discounts with hotel partners, and bonus miles for reaching certain travel milestones.
Grand Lake is a vacation town in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado, northwest of Denver and Boulder. Its year-round population is tiny – less than 500, as of the 2010 Census – so it’s better to call it a village. However, Grand Lake is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and recreational resources, from the expansive mountain terrain of nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, to the stunning shores of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest, deepest natural body of water. Two other lakes – Granby Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir – sit within the same watershed.
Whether you’re an opportunistic beachgoer or simply can’t live without sun, surf, and sand, these affordable beach destinations are all great candidates for your next getaway. Unlike many seaside locales, they boast ample amounts of cheap lodging, convenient transportation connections to the outside world, family-friendly amenities, and secluded spots that provide respite from potentially overwhelming crowds.
And if you love your chosen destination so much you never want to leave, you might not have to – most have ample waterfront (or near-waterfront) real estate, much of it affordable, and relatively low costs of living.
Affordable Beach Destinations for Your Next Getaway
Not to be confused with its older, much smaller Maine namesake, Portland, Oregon is the Pacific Northwest’s second-largest city – the anchor of a metropolitan area some two million people strong. Thanks to its prime location in the crook of the Willamette-Columbia River junction, its proximity to the open Pacific Ocean, and its resource-rich hinterland, Portland has long been a hub of transport and industry. Back in the 19th century, the city sprang up and grew along a gentle bend in the Willamette, where its downtown core and densest neighborhoods still lie, and later spread out along the hills above its fair valley.
Have you ever dreamed of owning a vacation home in Pebble Beach, California or a mountain château in Aspen, Colorado? Rather than fighting security lines at the airport, perhaps your dream is to drive up to your plane and go wherever you want, whenever you want.
Pleasures once thought to be enjoyed only by the very rich – vacation homes, aircraft, and yachts – are possible for more people today. While the expense of ownership always exceeds the cost of renting a luxury residence for a limited period, the benefits of having one’s place – familiarity and convenience – can outweigh financial considerations. The best thing about owning an asset is that it is always there when you want to use it.
Planning a wedding is seriously stressful. The process is particularly tough when you’re trying to save money on your wedding – cutting corners here, making compromises there, haggling and bargain-hunting everywhere.
Besides raw fear that the wedding would be a disaster, our single biggest motivation during the sprint to the ceremony was the romantic honeymoon we’d planned for the week immediately following. The thought of getting away to Hawaii or Costa Rica was truly the light at the end of our nuptial tunnel. While the honeymoon wasn’t a life-changing experience by any means, it largely lived up to our lofty expectations. More importantly, it gave us a much-needed opportunity to rest and recharge after a chaotic few months.
Laid out on a series of hills on Puget Sound’s eastern shore, Seattle is the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest. It anchors a metro region of 3.5 to 5 million people, depending on how you define it. Even if you’ve never been there, you’ve probably seen pictures of its iconic natural and man-made landmarks: Mount Rainier, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market.
Seattle also has a bevy of lesser-known activities and attractions – more than enough to keep a frugal traveler occupied for a quick weekend, a leisurely week, or even longer. That’s in spite of Seattle’s reputation for high (and rapidly rising) home values and rents, a controversial issue attributable to a long-running tech boom that’s attracting highly educated newcomers, driving up already high-earning techies’ wages, and supporting a frenzied building boom in the city’s core neighborhoods.
Miami is the continental United States’ southernmost major city and the principal city in South Florida, a culturally distinct region with close ties to Latin America and the Caribbean. Miami itself is one of the country’s most diverse and dynamic cities, shaped by multiple waves of newcomers and a seemingly unstoppable flow of foreign investment in the local property market. Moreover, according to The Atlantic, Miami is one of the United States’ most thoroughly bilingual major cities. Here, Spanish is spoken fluently across geographical and socioeconomic lines – in many ways it’s Miami’s first language.
In the 2008 book, “The Big Sort,” journalist Bill Bishop and sociologist Robert Cushing explore the reasons behind the United States’ deepening political, economic, and cultural divisions along racial, class, and geographic lines. Despite vast improvements in communication technology and the explosive growth of available content and information, like-minded people continue to self-segregate into discrete, often insular communities. There’s a good chance your neighbors look, think, and vote like you – and, perhaps more importantly, that you’re rarely forced to confront facts or opinions that challenge your worldview.
Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel threatened by political movements and leaders that threaten their deeply held beliefs.