Thrifty trips

Houston flies high as one of America's most affordable vacation spots

Houston flies high among America's most affordable vacation spots

Miller Outdoor Theatre summer outdoor concert
Miller Outdoor Theatre gets a nod for free family fun.  Photo courtesy of Miller Outdoor Theatre

Not long after Houston was named one of the world's best places to visit, personal finance website GOBankingRates puts our city on its list of the 20 Best Travel Destinations for Your Money in 2019

GOBankingRates determined the top affordable U.S. travel destinations by examining data provided by travel website Hipmunk for the average costs of flights, hotels, transportation, food, and drinks in 55 American cities. The Bayou City shows up at No. 14, after San Antonio at No. 5 and Austin at No. 13.

At No. 14, Houston earns praise for some of the lowest airfare ($286) and per-night hotel costs ($131) in GOBankingRates’ 55-city study. The report notes that Houston experienced more than 21 million visits in 2017 and is aiming to get 25 million annual visits by 2020.

Visitors are encouraged to check out Space City's myriad free events, including a live performance at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, a movie screening at Market Square Park, and a visit to the Art Car Museum.

Elsewhere in the state, in its ranking of San Antonio, GOBankingRates cites round-trip airfare of $338 and a per-night hotel rate of $151.

“San Antonio has some of the cheapest public transportation on this list, with the average daily cost at $16. It also has some of the cheapest beers, with the average cost of a domestic brew at $3.50. Food is also affordable, with the average meal costing $12,” GOBankingRates says.

No. 13 Austin, meanwhile, offers round-trip airfare of $322 and a per-night hotel bill of $189, GOBankingRates says.

“Once you get to Austin, it’s cheap to get around, with the average cost of public transportation per day at $8 — the lowest of any destination included on this list,” GOBankingRates notes. “While you’re there, catch a ballet, visit one of its world-class museums, go shopping, or spend the day paddling around Lady Bird Lake. And be sure to savor some of the local Tex-Mex and barbecue.”

GOBankingRates pegs the average cost of a meal in Austin at $15, and the typical cost of a domestic beer at $4.50.

“Although Hurricane Harvey hurt the local tourism industry in 2017, the city is recovering. The city experienced more than 21 million visits in 2017 and is aiming to get 25 million annual visits by 2020,” GOBankingRates says.