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Taking a dream vacation can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!
Limiting a trip to just two people cuts back on costs and gives you more options (no more worrying about finding activities for the kids). By finding alternative lodging options, free activities, and cheap plane tickets, you and your partner can go on an amazing vacation for under $2,000.
This list includes the lowest prices available for flights out of New York and the West Coast, plus free activities and lodging secrets.
Iceland is a beautiful country that’s abundant with natural wonders. Although you’ll need to rent a car while you’re there, many attractions are cheap or free. Flying out of New Jersey can cost as little as $400 round trip, and flights out of Portland, Oregon go for as little as $600 round trip. While you’re there, you can go on a free walking tour of Reykjavik, visit a free hot spring, and go hiking. Icelanders are very active on Couchsurfing, an app that lets travelers crash at a local’s house free of charge. Some hosts even offer private rooms for free, which is perfect for couples.
Austin is sometimes called the capital of tacos and traffic. You’ll experience plenty of both during your stay, but don’t let the traffic stop you from experiencing all that Texas has to offer! Fly out of JFK in New York for as little as $200 round trip, or board a plane at LAX for as little as $120 round trip. Spend a Friday or Saturday night partying on 6th Street, and spend your days sampling the local tacos. Don’t forget to try Whataburger, too! Free attractions in Austin include Mayfield Park (with peacocks!), hiking on the Butler Trail, and 27 pools. Find cheap lodging on AirBnB or free lodging on Couchsurfing.
Cruise to the Bahamas
Cruises are a great way to vacation in style. Royal Caribbean sails out of Florida for as little as $250 per person. If you don’t live near Florida, you’re still in luck – New Yorkers can fly to Fort Lauderdale for as little as $157 round trip, and Californians can fly out of LAX for as little as $230 round trip. Your lodging, food, and activities are (usually) all covered!
If you live in the United States, the cheapest way to get to Niagara Falls is to fly into an American airport. To save even more, fly into Buffalo, New York, which is just a half hour away. Flights to Buffalo out of LAX start at $260 round trip, and flights out of Miami start at around $270 round trip. Those in the Northeast are better off taking a road trip or riding an Amtrak train. Once you’re there, you’ll want to ride the Maid of the Mist (it isn’t free, but it’s so worth it!). Of course, you can check out the main attraction for free, 24/7, 365 days a year. This enormous waterfall even lights up at night! If you like hiking, check out the Niagara Glen. Since Niagara Falls is a tourist town, you’ll want to check into an AirBnB to save money. Don’t forget your passport, since some attractions are over the Canadian border!
Puta Cana, Dominican Republic
The best part of visiting Puta Cana is the fact that one US dollar converts to 50 pesos, which means your money will stretch farther. Fly out of JFK for as little as $370 round trip, or out of LAX for as little as $450 round trip. Puta Cana is filled with nightlife and natural parks for the perfect balance of activities.
New York City
You’re probably shocked to see New York City on this list, but a couple’s vacation for under $2,000 is absolutely possible in the city that never sleeps! Lodging isn’t cheap here, so make sure to browse Couchsurfing several weeks ahead of time for free accommodations. Free attractions in New York City include the Staten Island Ferry (which gives you an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty), Central Park, and the Museum of Natural History. At some New York City museums, admission is on a donation basis – that is, pay what you want, even if it’s just pocket change! Fly out of LAX for as little as $250 round trip. When in New York, eat like the locals. Any pizzeria will be phenomenal, and Chinatown has inexpensive options. Don’t forget to see a Broadway show, since they’re not as expensive as you may think!
Belgium is home to chocolate and beer, which makes for a perfect vacation destination for a couple. Fly out of LAX for as little as $740 round trip or out of JFK starting at $540 round trip. To cut back on lodging costs, consider staying in a hostel. Explore your options here, since you’ll want to find a hostel you’re comfortable with. Once you’re in Brussels, take a beer and chocolate tour, visit the gorgeous cathedrals, and check out museums like the Museum of Musical Instruments.
The Pacific Northwest has lots to offer! Travelers flying out of Los Angeles can do starting at $150 round trip, and those flying out of New York can do so for as little as $324 round trip. If you’re willing to rent a car, it’s also worth checking out Portland, just four hours away. Save money in Seattle by visiting free attractions like the Pike Place Market, the Waterfall Garden Park (with a 22 foot waterfall), and the Fyre Art Museum. Don’t forget to check out the Space Needle, too!
Take a trip to French Canada! Flights out of LAX start at $420 round trip, and flights out of New York City start at $200 round trip (though you could take Amtrak for cheaper). Utilize Couchsurfing or AirBnB for lodging – there are plenty of inexpensive AirBnB options in Quebec. Visit the various nature parks, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, or go skiing for free at the Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Since the capital of Finland has a military vibe, Tampere is more exciting. Finland is a peaceful country with a low population density, making for a true getaway. Fly out of Newark starting at $510 round trip, or out of LAX starting at $650 round trip. Once you land in Helsinki, you can take a bus up to Tampere through Onnibus, a coach bus line with fair pricing. We’re talking 5 euros or less for a 4-hour bus ride! Tampere is filled with fresh food markets (you have to try the Karjalan pies), niche boutiques, and unique museums. Stay in a hostel for affordable lodging.