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Hotel Deals for Seattle
South Lake Union Chroma Condos by Domicile
WA, USA
Sep 25 - Sep 25, 2018
per night from
$ 352.68
$ 209.02

Heading to Seattle? How about venturing out and hitting the open road while you’re there? We’ve designed a Washington State road trip that loops in the Olympic Peninsula’s best restaurants, attractions and natural wonders, so grab your hiking boots and get ready for the ultimate getaway!

RELATED: The ultimate music lover’s guide to Seattle

Day 1

Seattle | Photo by Caroline Lupini

Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, rent a car and hop on the Bainbridge Island car ferry to charming and forested Bainbridge Island. Make sure to walk around on deck so that you may enjoy the view of mighty Mount Rainier towering above the Seattle skyline as you cruise across the Puget Sound.

EAT Your well-deserved reward at the end of the ferry ride is Doc’s Marina Grill, offering American classics and 10 beers on tap. Sip a cold brew and munch on a hearty burger while relaxing on the deck and taking in the harbor view.

STAY Head to the quaint little community of Poulsbo (pronounced Paulsbo) and then get settled at no-fuss Guesthouse Poulsbo. The mountain-cut skyline and glimmering Liberty Bay offer an exquisite backdrop to an easygoing evening.

Day 2

Olympic National Park | Photo by Caroline Lupini

Wake up, it’s your National Park day! Drive to Olympic National Park by way of Port Angeles, your home base and the largest city in the county. From Port Angeles, head south on Hurricane Ridge Road to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. From here, pick up a regional trail map and head out on a hike or two.

EAT After a day in the mountains, head back to Port Angeles and catch a hot meal at Downriggers on the Water and fill up on fresh seafood while enjoying the sea breeze and setting sun. Think Doc’s Marina Grill, but with even more beers on tap!

STAY To be close to all of the action without a crazy price tag, check out the Riveria Inn Motel.  Rooms are simple but clean, and the staff is super friendly! You’ll be walking the distance to restaurants downtown so you don’t have to worry about parking.

ALSO: Explore, earn, repeat—sign up for CheapCash to save big on your next Washington vacation!

Day 3

Rialto Beach | Photo by Caroline Lupini

Head to Washington’s west coast and check out the little town of La Push. This village is located on the mouth of the Quillayute River and parts of the town are technically still parts of Olympic National Park. For sunbathing and scenery, head north to Rialto Beach, or the aptly named First, Second, and Third Beaches. For an unforgettable fishing trip, book a tour with All Ways Fishing.

EAT Check out River’s Edge Restaurant located on the pier, featuring a spectacular seaside view. Alternatively, High Tide Seafood fish market across the street offers a few freshly cooked dishes for you to try. It’s mostly a direct-to-consumer market, but you can definitely find a few bites while you’re there.

STAY Sleep at Quileute Beach Resort. This property is unique in that it’s located on Quileute tribal land, and because of this, property owners ask that visitors respect the privacy of the area and to capture photos or video only for personal use. Quileute Beach Resort has a pool, three restaurants, a spa and more. Plus, it’s only 2 miles from Chance A La Mer State Park and 3 miles from Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center, making it an ideal stop for a family trip.

Day 4

Quinault Rain Forest | Photo by Caroline Lupini

Enjoy a mix of coastal and mountain drives as you take the 101 south from Forks to Aberdeen. Stop at Lake Quinault to stretch your legs on a wealth of trails such as Quinault Rain Forest and Lake Lane. When you get to Aberdeen, visit Kurt Cobain Memorial Park (also called Kurt Cobain Landing) as Aberdeen was the childhood home of the famous musician.

EAT For yet another easygoing atmosphere with great beers, check out The Tap Room. Expect typical bar eats and original craft brews, plus live music on some Saturdays. Try a variety of Washington brews and maybe even catch a few up-and-coming musical artists.

STAY Aberdeen is a larger town and has a wealth of regular chain hotels, so you have a number of options here. One of the higher rated hotels is the Best Western Plus Aberdeen, but there are a number of less expensive options, as well. 

Day 5

Olympia, Washington

On your way back to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, don’t miss a stop in Olympia. While this booming metropolis is the state capital, as well as a university town, it still features tranquil natural spaces. Stretch your legs in Interpretive Park before getting back into the car and heading to the airport.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Seasonal, seattle, Types of Travel

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Mark Twain once opined that “to obtain the air that angels breathe, you must go to Lake Tahoe.” The stunning Alpine lake and nature lover’s paradise (straddling both California and Nevada) strangely enough pairs well with a few days in neon-tinged gambler’s paradise Reno, a mere 45 minutes away (hey, if maple and bacon can go together). Here are 8 cheap and awesome things to do in the region.

ALSO: 11 hotels that will blow up your Instagram feed

Shout BINGO!

These days, bingo is mostly a game played ironically at dive bars and earnestly at churches (for fundraising purposes). That’s because bingo halls take up a lot of space that casinos would rather fill with lucrative slot machines. But a cheap way to gamble wisely in Reno is to hit up downtown Reno’s Sands Regency Casino Hotel for a rousing afternoon of bingo. To be clear, you probably won’t win, but approximately $20 gets you a couple hours of solid thrills, one free cocktail and all the adorable seniors you could ever want to meet.

Get panned and roasted

If you’re a Vegas insider, you’ve probably already waited hours for the legendary pan roasts at Oyster Bar at Palace Station. To the unfamiliar, pan roasts are a spicy seafood stew that if prepared right, will make you sweat bullets while filling your belly for days to come. Reno has them, too. Head to Pearl Oyster Bar & Grill at Silver Legacy Resort Casino and order the Ultimate Pan Roast. For $22 you get a creamy and tasty seafood stew with a slab of bread on the side. Don’t bother with booze—you can get that on the casino floor for free.

Sand Harbor Beach

Dip into the blue

Tahoe is famous for its crystal clear water and indeed it’s so blue you will constantly hear comparisons to the Caribbean. For an ideal day, make a beeline for Nevada’s bohemian east side and plunk down at beaches like Sand Harbor, Whale Beach or Secret Cove (which is clothing optional). At each location you will be rewarded with large, granite boulders, snow-capped mountains and chilly, but refreshing turquoise blue water as far as the eye can see.

Drift away

Beware that South Lake Tahoe bursts at the seams with visitors much of the year (and especially in ski season), but it’s also a solid hub for accommodations, nightlife, restaurants and stocking up on sundries. One diamond in this tourist rough is the laid-back Driftwood Cafe. Rise and shine before everybody else does and come here for outrageous omelets (their words, not ours), loaded waffles and house specialties like potato pancakes topped with ham, eggs and country gravy. You won’t need another meal all day.

ALSO: Stake your fortunes in big savings by signing up for CheapCash today!

Trover photo by Ardilla Mexicano

Lose your Virginia-tity

The aptly named Silver State is not lacking in turn-of-the-century mining towns where prospectors once staked their fortunes. Many dried up long ago, but one fascinating (if touristy) town is Virginia City, which sits on a sloping hillside about 45 minutes southeast of Reno. C Street boasts about six blocks of refurbished storefronts, which these days are mostly tacky souvenir shops where you and your crew can dress like homesteaders and get a photo printed in sepia tones. But a sense of the Wild West lingers for sure and the Suicide Table at the Delta Saloon is worth checking out.

Trover photo by Stuart Jamieson

Make the fest of it

The Reno Arch may not replicate the glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, but Sin City could stand to take a cue from the ebullient celebrations happening right under Reno’s welcoming sign. Street Vibrations (a motorcycle parade), Biggest Little City Wing Fest, Northern Nevada Pride, Eldorado Great Italian Festival, Biggest Little Street Faire and many others happen right along Virginia Street and under the Arch. The crowds are often so intense that the clanging slot machines on the casino floor provide quiet sanctuary by comparison.

Lake before you leap

You came all this way to see the Lake, you better not just snap a selfie in front of it and call it a day. There are plenty of pricey ways to get out on Lake Tahoe, including jet ski tours, private charters and even photo tours, but it’s perfectly doable on the cheap. Consider old-fashioned paddleboarding for $44/person; a hearty workout via stand-up paddleboard rentals for as little as $28/person; or even a group kayak tour for a only $19/person. The lake is stunning and you’ll want to stare at it from as many vantage points as possible.

National Bowling Stadium | Trover photo by Bill Dillard

Have a bowl

If you expect Reno to be a city of slightly offbeat treasures, you are exactly right. Enter the National Bowling Stadium, a 363,000-square-foot stadium whose domed exterior resembles a giant bowling ball. We’ll—ahem—spare you the details, but suffice it to say this 78-lane, state-of-the-art alley (and only stadium of its kind in the world) is a must for pros and novices alike. It’s completely walkable from downtown (but not in bowling shoes).

Tagged: California, Destinations

Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

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Most visitors to the Grand Canyon simply drive up to the rim, step out, snap a few pictures and leave. Hopefully, you aren’t one of those people, because that’s not really experiencing the Canyon at its best. Sure you saw it, but spending a few minutes looking over the edge doesn’t really do this natural wonder justice. Here are some of our favorite ways to experience one of the world’s seven natural wonders.

RELATED: These are the best vacation spots in the middle of the country

 GrandCayonMule.jpg

See the Grand Canyon the way the first explorers did | Flickr photo by irene.

Take a mule ride down into the canyon
Take on the Grand Canyon just like the early pioneers did, on the original 4×4, the mule. The ride down into the canyon by mule is a one-of-a- kind way to see the beauty of the Canyon up close. Enjoy the stunning scenery with only the quiet footsteps of your four-legged transport.

 GrandCanyonBicycle.jpg

Hit the Canyon trails on two wheels | Flickr photo by Guy Mullins 

Go on a South Rim cycling tour
If you’d rather ride two wheels versus four hooves, a Grand Canyon cycling tour might be for you. The trails along the South Rim are great for pedaling your way along Canyon.

Unique ways to experience the Grand    Canyon - GettingStamped.jpg

Hop on a helicopter for the best Canyon views | Photo by GettingStamped.com 

Take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour
For an unparalleled Canyon view, nothing really compares to seeing it from a helicopter. Soar through the high canyon walls while following the rushing Colorado River. For an even more unusual experience, some Grand Canyon helicopter tours even make a landing on the rim. Tours can be arranged from Las Vegas or from the Canyon’s West Rim.

GrandCanyonRailway.jpg

For a journey back in time, ride the Grand Canyon Railway | Flickr photo by Tony Hisgett 

Ride the Grand Canyon Railway into the park
Another unique way to see the Grand Canyon is aboard the Grand Canyon Railway. Take a step back in time and make the voyage to the canyon as travelers have for more than 100 years. The train ride starts in Williams, Arizona and comes to a stop at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you plan your visit just right, you can ride the once-monthly steam powered locomotive.

ALSO: CheapCash is pretty grand, too—sign up now to save on your next hotel!

GrandCanyonHermits.jpg

Come check out the views from Hermit’s Rest Route | Flickr photo by grand_canyon_nps

Board the free shuttle on Scenic Hermits Rest Route
A favorite among park enthusiasts is Hermits Rest Route on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The National Park offers a free shuttle to Hermits Rest with plenty of great lookout points along the way. The bus trip takes around 75 minutes round trip (without stops) and is a must.

GrandCanyonHike.jpg

Yup, you can hike the Canyon from rim to rim.


Hike from rim to rim
You probably didn’t know that you can actually hike across the Grand Canyon, did you? The adventurous (and fit!) can take the 3-4 day trek from the South Rim to the North Rim (or in reverse). Most people opt to start at the North Rim since it’s around 1,000 feet higher. Permits for this hike are required, but it’s a Grand Canyon experience you’ll never forget. If you aren’t up for a cross canyon hike, there are still lots of day hikes that will get you down into the canyon too.

GrandCanyonRafting.jpg

Challenge the rapids inside the Canyon | Flickr photo by Jennifer


Raft the Colorado River
Feel the power of the mighty Colorado River aboard a giant inflatable river raft and ride the rapids that have been shaping this marvelous canyon for millions of years. Rafting trips can be arranged from just about every tourist city around the Canyon.

GrandCanyonBeach.jpg

Hit the beach—INSIDE the Grand Canyon! | Flickr photo by Matt Francey


Have a day at “the beach”
Most don’t associate the Grand Canyon as a beach destination, but there are lots of beaches along the banks of the Colorado River. While the best way to visit a Grand Canyon beach is via a rafting tour, there are some you can hike to as well.

Under Canvas.jpg

Grand Canyon Under Canvas 


Stay at unique Canyon lodgings
For a place to stay as unique as your visit to the Grand Canyon, it doesn’t get too much better than the glamping tents of Under Canvas Grand Canyon. Sleep under the stars in their luxury tents along Route 66 in historic Williams—a popular gateway to the Canyon. Another option is to sleep on the canyon rim at the El Tovar Hotel, featuring turn-of-the-century charms and located about 20 feet from the South Rim.

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Tagged: Destinations, Family, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

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From snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure to enjoying the hot springs of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland serves up neverending opportunties to enjoy its coastal and inland waters. The country’s enticing aquatic adventures offer something magical for every age and season. Here’s a look at how to best explore these wonders.

RELATED: Super helpful hiking tips for the initiated

 Snorkel between two continents at the Silfra Fissure

The North American and European tectonic plates meet at Silfra in Thingvellir National Park. Gear up with a drysuit and dive under the glacial water by snorkel or scuba to see up-close where the tectonic plates meet. The amazing crystal clear water allows for visibility to incredible distances under water.

Watch for whales along Iceland’s North Coast

Ride along in a ship from Husavik, Iceland’s whale-watching capital, in the hopes of spotting humpbacks, porpoises and sea birds. Unlike in Reykjavik, where you have to sail farther to find the whales, in Husavik they sometimes hang out within minutes of the harbor.

Kayak calm fjords below steep mountains

The Westfjords in northwest Iceland were made for kayaking. Paddle clear blue waters in the fjords as you take in the towering mountains above. If you are looking for more adventure, consider paddling to another fjord or to Vigur Island, one of the top birdwatching areas in all of Iceland.

ALSO: Book a flight on CheapTickets to grab your CheapCash—you can’t a fjord not to!

Float alongside icebergs as they drift out to sea

At Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, you can watch as large icebergs float from the Vatnajokull glacier out to sea. For a better view, hop aboard an amphibious boat or take a Zodiac inflatable boat tour to get up close to the larger icebergs in the water. When you’re done, walk amidst the icebergs washed up on the shore; the giant, crystal-like sculptures on the black sand beach make for some very unique photographs. Keep an eye out for seals and porpoises in the lagoon—they often hang out nearby.

Relax in natural geothermal hot springs

No trip to Iceland would be complete without a dip in geothermal pools. While you can find many pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the country, the best and most picturesque are the Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin, along Golden Circle), Jardbodin Nature Baths in the north near Lake Myvatn, Landmannalaugar hot springs under the volcanoes, and the popular Blue Lagoon between the airport and Reykjavik. If you need your hot pool fix more frequently, many small towns have their own hot tubs and swimming pools, which they advertise on highway signs.

Witness the dramatic force of waterfalls both powerful and picturesque

You could spend an entire trip to Iceland only visiting waterfalls, and you still wouldn’t see them all. Gullfoss is the closest to Reykjavik along the Golden Circle Route, and well deserving of its fame. In the north you will find Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. You’ll find Glymur, Iceland’s tallest, dropping into a canyon an hour away from Reykjavik. At Skogafoss in the south you can walk up to the base (be sure to wear a rain jacket). Walk along a cave behind Seljalandsfoss, or take one of Iceland’s most popular photographs of Kirkjufellsfoss with Kirkjufell mountain in the background.

Chris is an avid world traveler with a soft spot for Iceland. He loves finding new adventures off the beaten path, and is an Iceland expert for Kimkim.com.

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Tagged: International, Types of Travel

Chris McCarty

Chris McCarty

Chris is an avid world traveler with a soft spot for Iceland. He loves finding new adventures off the beaten path, and is an Iceland expert for Kimkim.com.
Chris McCarty

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Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017 with a full calendar of events and travel deals, including free entry to its national parks all year.  Alphabetically by province (which is the only fair way), here are seven rewarding and unusual experiences in Parks Canada, including wildlife watching, hunting for prehistoric fossils—even ski jumping.

RELATED: Awesome trips to take this summer if you’re not keen on flying

Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada

Into the heights: Jasper National Park (Alberta)
Glacier Skywalk is a glass-walled, glass-floored architectural marvel suspended nearly 1,000 feet over the Sunwapta Valley floor, offering epic views of glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife, including eagles soaring at eye-level. Let your adrenaline supply recover at the attached museum that explains a million-plus years of eco-history, or on a ground-level tour of the nearby Columbia Glacier.

Mount Revelstoke

Fly like an eagle: Mount Revelstoke National Park Experience (British Columbia)
The rich ski jumping history of Mount Revelstoke is revealed at this interactive exhibit, which opened recently. Step into a pair of metal pants and skis, like those worn by multiple world record-holder Nels Nelsen, and experience the same exhilaration as you lean out at the top of a ski jump. While you’re up there, take a moment to savor the beautiful landscape of the Columbia River Valley and City of Revelstoke. Now, jump. Virtually, of course.

Totem poles in Vancouver

Totem poles and more: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (British Columbia)
Learn about the rich history of the Nuu-chah-nulth people on a guided tour, including the unique hand-carved totem poles found here and elsewhere on Vancouver Island. Celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21 with song and dance festivals, and salmon BBQs in the First Nations village of Maeres. There’s also world-class surfing in the chilly Pacific in a 22-mile stretch of surf between Tofino and Ucluelet.

ALSO: Save more money on your Canada vacation when you automatically earn CheapCash. How a-boot that?

Photo courtesy of Parks Canada

Swim with salmon for science: Fundy National Park (New Brunswick)
Join Parks Canada biologists to track the populations of endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon by conducting snorkel surveys. This day-long expedition begins with a training session before getting face-to-face with salmon in backcountry river pools. Outings happen in September, during the natural return of Atlantic salmon to the rivers in the park. Another wet and wild experience is the boat ride through the bay’s famous Reversing Falls. No salmon, but a lot of laughter.

Kejimkujik National Park

Commune with the stars and planets: Kejimkujik National Park (Nova Scotia)
Delve into distant celestial bodies at Nova Scotia’s only Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Dark Sky Preserve. Kejimkujik interpreters offer a blend of science and storytelling as unique as a shooting star.

Photo courtesy of CNW Group/Parks Canada

Sleep in a lighthouse station: Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve (Quebec)
This is a four-star accommodation in one of the houses of the île aux Perroquets station, where you’ll learn about maritime history and the life of the lighthouse keeper. Climb the tower to admire the 360 degree view from the top of the lighthouse, and let your alarm clock be Atlantic Puffins.

Kathleen Lake at the Kluane National Park and Reserve

Climb every mountain
Kluane National Park and Reserve (Yukon Territory)

Home to 17 of Canada’s 20 highest peaks, Kluane is famous for its wilderness recreation, especially mountaineering. Explore high mountain passes on challenging multi-day treks, or tamer hikes from trailheads around Kathleen Lake. Flightseeing allows you to survey the terrain without getting your boots muddy.

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Tagged: International, Top 10 list

Evelyn Kanter

Evelyn Kanter

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Before you trade in that student ID for a corporate badge, here are seven safe, affordable destinations where the dress code is nothing but casual. From hiking volcanoes to snorkeling with technicolor underwater life to kicking back with a cold beer, we’ll keep it easy on the wallet.

RELATED: 9 gorgeous hostels in Europe starting at $9

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland
The post-graduation month of June is a great time to visit the land of fire and ice, where the temperature is pleasant and the days are long. Reykjavik is a hotspot for thrill-seeking Millennials with a long list of never-ending adventures like snowmobiling, glacier hiking and even descending into a volcano. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate that it’s a small, walkable city, but hop-on/hop-off buses are another great way to get around. Reykjavik Excursions offers “bus passports” with routes all around and outside of the city, including the Ring Road, a scenic loop of the island.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s abundant natural landscape offers tons of free outdoor activities like hiking through the cloud forests and the coffee plantations of Monteverde—and you’ll probably even spot a few monkeys. If you want to experience the death-defying zipline through the forest, it will cost you a pretty penny, so save your money and take the local bus to Playa Tamarindo, where you can surf all day and party all night. The Tiquicia Lodge in capital city San Juan offers great budget accommodations with breakfast included. Plan to eat at sodas, local family-run restaurants that serve a hearty plate of Costa Rican cuisine for just a few bucks.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

Thailand
After you’ve sprung for the big-ticket airfare, Thailand becomes an incredible bargain. Look to Phuket, a beach lover’s dream with more than 36 sandy beaches, where all you need is a comfy towel and snorkel. Tint at Phuket Town, a great budget hotel, offers free internet for uploading all those great photos and checking in on social media. Tasty street food vendors let you fill your belly on a dime. If you’re looking for an inexpensive day trip, take the ferry to Phi Phi Island or visit the marine national park at Phang Nga.

RELATED: 14 songs you’ll only know if you’re a backpacker.

Grindelwald switzerland

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Switzerland
Spend a week in picturesque Grindelwald in the Jungfrau Region, where the only gear you need are hiking shoes. While Switzerland overall can be pretty pricey, the Mountain Hostel won’t break your budget, and it’s the perfect jumping off spot for the region’s multitude of challenging hiking trails. Make sure to visit Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge with walking paths and waterfalls. You’ll need to purchase a Swiss Pass to explore the area via trains and cable cars. If you’re able to indulge a bit, add the world-famous Top of Europe Tour to your pass, a cogwheel train that takes you to the highest station in Europe that will leave you with views that last a lifetime.

Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Australia

Great Barrier Reef
Put all those science credits to use and visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world. You might be surprised to hear that snorkeling the reef is not only cheaper, but offers the same breathtaking experience as a more expensive scuba dive. Half Day Tours and Reef Trip both offer budget tours that will transport you to the best areas. Don’t worry if you blow your budget on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can spend the rest of your trip taking advantage of the great free offerings in this part of Queensland. On the Esplanade right in the center of Cairns, there’s a picturesque lagoon that’s a great place to cool off and wile away the day listening to live music. Just a short drive away you’ll find Stoney Creek Falls, a free secret hideaway nestled within the rainforest with fresh water swimming holes, rock jumps and waterfalls. Because this is backpacker central, budget accommodations abound.

ALSO: Adulting 101: Booking your flight on CheapTickets and automatically earning CheapCash towards a hotel!

Yellowstone National Park | Flickr photo courtesy of Always Shooting

U.S. National Parks Tour
If airfare isn’t in your post-graduation budget, gas up your car, grab a backpack and head west. If you’re looking to rough it and experience the great outdoors, the Northern Rockies are the place to go. Plan to spend a couple of days in each park, starting at the local park ranger station where you can take advantage of free daily guided walks to get a lay of the land. Grand Teton National Park has more hiking trails than you can conquer and is dotted with lakes, canyons, and peaks. Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, offers a different kind of wild life than you saw in college—you’ll see everything from bears to buffalo. Stay at the historic, yet budget-friendly, Old Faithful Inn (book early), the largest log structure in the world, where you can actually watch Old Faithful erupt from the cafeteria. End this epic adventure at Glacier National Park and spend the night in an authentic tepee at the Lodgepole Gallery and Tipi Village on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Florida Keys, Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway | Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

The Florida Keys
Margaritaville awaits you along this 113-mile stretch of highway where you’ll see some of the most picturesque beaches, dotted with kitschy roadside attractions and old-school seafood shacks. Trade in your travel itinerary for flip-flops because the Keys give casual a whole new meaning. Plan to just drive and stop on a whim anywhere along the route and chances are you’ll find a roadside stand where you can snorkel, kayak or just enjoy a cold beer.

You might want to park and walk across the famous Seven Mile Bridge that connects the Middle Keys with the Lower Keys because the turquoise blue waters make the perfect backdrop for a selfie. Drop your gear at the Seashell Motel & Hostel in Key West and head for the beach to swim with sea turtles, nurse sharks, parrot fish, and spiny lobsters all along the shallow reefs. If you’re not burned out on history, visit Ernest Hemingway’s home from the 1920s and see the colony of six-toed cats.

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Tagged: Florida, Top 10 list

Beth Graham

Beth Graham

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There may be cheaper cities in Europe, but dollar for dollar it’s tough to top Budapest. This Central European gem is jam packed with great sights, vibrant nightlife, and amazing food—all at budget-friendly prices. Here are our top 7 reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe.
Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

Beautiful Budapest split in two by the Danube River | Photo by GettingStamped.com

Lots of free things to do
Like the old saying goes, some of the best things in life are free and that’s true in Budapest. Many of the top sights around the city don’t cost a single cent. Without opening your wallet you can visit Heroes Square, climb castle hill, walk the Chain Bridge, and even join a free walking tour.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

One of the best views in the city is free | Photo by GettingStamped.com

It will smash expectations
Budapest is bigger and more impressive than most first time visitors expect and it’s full of amazing architecture and history. With a history dating back more than a thousand years, there’s plenty of great sites to explore. The city is so large it’s actually two cities in one. On one side of the Danube River is a medieval city of Buda, and on the other is the more modern city of Pest. Together they form the modern day capital and make for an amazing European destination. Be prepare to be blown away by Budapest.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

Getting around Budapest is a breeze, and budget friendly | Photo by GettingStamped.com

The public transportation is excellent
A solid network of above and below ground trains and buses connect the city making an easy and affordable way to get around. A three-day metro pass will set you back less than $10. Those in a hurry can download the Uber app; you’ll be amazed how cheap you can catch a ride in Budapest.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

Central Market Hall is a must visit while in Budapest | Photo by GettingStamped.com

The culture is easy to experience
Most visitors find Budapestians very friendly and eager to have a conversation. Even though the country was under communist rule until 1989, English is surprisingly widely spoken, making communication easy. Between the many museums and fascinating historical sites, it’s easy to get a sense of the culture in Budapest. Don’t miss the Great Market Hall where you can get the true sense of the city.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

Finding a cheap hotel in Budapest isn’t too difficult a task | Photo by GettingStamped.com

The hotels are budget friendly
Compared to other European cities, Budapest has no shortage of affordable places to lay your head. Save even more money if you stay just outside the main district (District 5). Good transport options make staying just outside the action an easy way to save some cash so you can have even more fun.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

You won’t leave Budapest hungry | Photo by GettingStamped.com

Food is cheap and tasty
Delicious traditional Hungarian fare will fill you up without emptying your wallet. Hungarians love hearty meals consisting of plates piled high with meats and sausage. A hefty portion will only set you back a few dollars.

Reasons Budapest is the best value in Europe-GettingStamped

Nightlife in Budapest is hard to beat | Photo by GettingStamped.com

Booze and nightlife are dirt cheap
Budapest knows how to party, however, a big night out won’t break the bank. Swing by some of Budapest’s famous ruin bars, or taprooms that have sprung up out of defunct warehouses. Budapst is famous for these quirky bars that have kept the decaying industrial vibe and brightened things up with completely random decoration. Be sure to grab a pint of local beer or a shot of Hungary’s favorite Pálinka liquor for one of the tastiest things to do in Budapest.

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Tagged: City, International, Tips & advice

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Before you trade in that student ID for a corporate badge, here are seven affordable destinations where the dress code is nothing but casual. From hiking volcanoes to snorkeling with technicolor underwater life to kicking back with a cold beer, these destinations are safe and easy on the wallet.

RELATED: 9 gorgeous European hostels starting at $4

Reykjavik, Iceland
The post-graduation month of June is a great time to visit the Land of Fire and Ice, where the temperatures are pleasant (mid-50s) and the days are long (think midnight sunsets and 3am sunrises!). Reykjavik is a hotspot for thrill-seeking Millennials with a long list of never-ending adventures like snowmobiling, glacier hiking, descending into a volcano and, of course, Reykjavik nightlife. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate that it’s a small, walkable city with hop on/off buses as another great way to get around. Reykjavik Excursions offers “bus passports” with routes all around and outside of the city, including a loop of the island.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s abundant natural landscape offers tons of free outdoor activities like hiking through the cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, where you’ll likely spot a few monkeys. If you want to experience the death-defying forest zipline, it will cost you a pretty penny.  Save your money and take a bus to Playa Tamarindo, where you can surf all day and party all night. The Tiquicia Lodge in bustling San Jose offers great budget accommodations with breakfast included. Plan to eat at sodas, local family-run restaurants that serve a hearty plate of Costa Rican cuisine for just a few bucks.

Phuket, Thailand
With more than 36 sandy beaches, where all you need is a towel and snorkel gear, Phuket is a beachlover’s dream. After you save up for big-ticket airfare, the rest of your trip will be an incredible bargain, including Tint at Phuket Town, a great budget hotel. Here, you’ll find free Internet for uploading all those great photos and checking in on social media. Tasty street food vendors let you fill your belly on a dime. If you’re looking for an inexpensive day trip, take the ferry to Phi Phi Island or visit the marine national park at Phang Nga.

Grindelwald, Switzerland
Spend a week in the most picturesque spot in Europe, the Jungfrau Region, where the only gear you need are hiking shoes. While Switzerland is generally pretty expensive, the Mountain Hostel won’t break your budget, and is the perfect jumping off spot for the region’s multitude of challenging hiking trails. Make sure to visit Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge with walking paths and waterfalls. You’ll need to purchase a Swiss Pass to explore the area via trains and cable cars. If you’re able to indulge a bit, add the world-famous Top of Europe Tour to your pass, a cogwheel train that takes you to the highest station in Europe that will leave you with views that last a lifetime.

ALSO: Earn CheapCash and see the whole world for less.

Cairns, Australia
Put all those science credits to use and visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. You might be surprised to hear that snorkeling the reef is not only cheaper, but offers the same breathtaking experience as a more expensive scuba dive. Half Day Tours offers budget excursions that will transport you to the best areas. If you blow your budget on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, spend the rest of your trip taking advantage of the free offerings in this part of Queensland. On the Esplanade, for example, right in the city center, there’s a picturesque lagoon that’s a great place to cool off and wile away the day listening to live music. A short drive from Cairns, you’ll find Stoney Creek Falls, a free secret hideaway nestled within the rainforest featuring fresh water swimming holes, rock jumps and waterfalls.

Rocky Mountain National Parks Tour
If airfare isn’t in your post-graduation budget, gas up your car, grab a backpack and head west. If you’re looking to rough it and experience the great outdoors, the Northern Rockies are the place to go. Plan to spend a couple of days in each park, starting at the local park ranger station where you can take advantage of free daily guided walks to get a lay of the land. Grand Teton National Park has more hiking trails than you can conquer and is dotted with lakes, canyons and peaks. Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, offers a different kind of wild life than you saw in college—you’ll see everything from bears to buffalo. Stay at the historic, yet budget-friendly Old Faithful Inn (book early), the largest log structure in the world, where you can actually watch Old Faithful erupt from the cafeteria. End this epic adventure at Glacier National Park and spend the night in an authentic tepee at the Lodgepole Gallery and Tipi Village on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

The Florida Keys
Margaritaville awaits you along the 113-mile stretch of the Overseas Highway, where you’ll see some of the state’s most picturesque beaches, kitschy roadside attractions and old-school seafood shacks. Trade in your travel itinerary for flip-flops because the Keys give casual a whole new meaning. Plan to stop on a whim anywhere along the route and chances are you’ll find a roadside stand where you can snorkel, kayak or enjoy a cold beer. Walk across famous Seven Mile Bridge connecting the Middle and Lower Keys because the turquoise blue waters make the perfect selfie backdrop. Drop your gear at the Seashell Motel & Hostel or NYAH in Key West and head for the beach to swim with sea turtles, nurse sharks, parrot fish and spiny lobsters along the shallow reefs. If you’re not burned out on history, visit the Ernest Hemingway House and hang with six-toed cats, actual descendants of Hemingway’s beloved felines.

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Tagged: Beach, City, Florida, International

Beth Graham

Beth Graham

Beth Graham

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Pack your bikinis, trunks, sunscreen, flip flops, and don’t you dare forget that smartphone. It’s your selfie soulmate; the only way your can prove to your social following that you’re having the best spring break ever. Spring break trelfies (as in, travel selfies) are your time to shine. Enter our CheapTickets Spring Break Trelfie Contest with one of these five trelfie types for a chance to win a free trip.

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Beach and poolside

The better part of any proper spring break is spent on the beach or lounging by the pool. These selfies are easy to spot because the dress code is strictly swimwear, shades, and the occasional florescent inner-tube.

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Group

Candid is key. Group selfies are great because everyone’s too worried about fitting the whole crew in to think about their most flattering angle. It’s like a spring break team building exercise. The result is always awesomely unstaged, so get weird with it. That one’s a keeper!

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Clubbing

A night out–what’s not to selfie? Everyone is looking spiffy and ofcourse the mid-dance pose is an impressive feat that only the most seasoned selfie takers can accomplish.

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Roadtrip

The possibilities are endless on the road. Any thing road-side that has a sign starting with “world’s biggest…” deserves a selfie. Or keep it simple and snap one with your backseat buddy.

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Adventure

Okay, so you didn’t make it to the coast for spring break, but that’s because there are mountains to hike, trails to bike, and extreme backdrops to take selfies in front of. Remember bears are camera shy, so ask them before you selfie.

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Tagged: Beach, Events, FREE!, Seasonal

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Latest posts by Kelsie Ozamiz (see all)

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Hanakapiai Beach on the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii. Courtesy of Jeff Kubina.

Hanakapiai Beach on the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii. Courtesy of Jeff Kubina.

Visitors from around the world flock to Hawaii for its sandy beaches, tropical climate, volcanoes and waterfalls. The state is part of the Hawaiian Archipelago, which actually spans 1,500 miles in the Pacific. The mountainous and volcanic islands, which nearly straddle the equator, are tropical and warm, with temperatures rarely deviating from the 80 degree mark down at sea level. Up on the mountains, however, snow and lower temperatures are not unheard of. Because of these variations, the Hawaiian islands are home to more than 150 ecosystems — many of which are becoming more and more fragile — and at least 10 of the dozen sub-climate zones found in the world.

Hawaii has gained a bit of a reputation for being expensive for tourists. The price of food imported nearly 2,000 from the mainland, combined with expensive flights and hotels can add up fast. But once you have arrived, activities on the islands don’t have to put a hole in your pocketbook. Let’s take a look at eight affordable activities in Hawaii — each one in a different sub-climate zone.

Tundra — Hike Mauna Kea ($0)

Sunset from Mauna Kea. Courtesy of Paul Bica.

Sunset from Mauna Kea. Courtesy of Paul Bica.

Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest mountain. The peak of the dormant volcano reaches higher than 13,000 feet, although much of the hiking is actually done below sea level. Visitors to Hawaii can experience the tundra climate zone at the top of the mountain, where daytime temperatures typically hang below freezing. Hiking up Mauna Kea is free, although certain hiking equipment is recommended and precautions are necessary. At altitudes that high, the temperature drops fast and high-altitude storms can sweep in unexpectedly, bringing blizzard-like conditions, driving rain or whiteouts. The round-trip hike to the summit of the mountain, which is located in the northeastern portion of the big island, takes experienced hikers about 10 hours to complete. The National Park Service warns hikers to be finished before nightfall, when temperatures experience an even sharper drop. In ancient Hawaiian lore, Mauna Kea was home to the snow goddess Poli’ahu. She wasone of the most beautiful gods, the lores say, but she was also known to freeze people to death. Something to keep in mind during your hike. The views, however, are utterly spectacular.

Desert — Visit Ka’u Desert ($0)

Crack in the Ka’u Desert. Courtesy of Matt Midboe.

Crack in the Ka’u Desert. Courtesy of Matt Midboe.

Ka’u Desert is a little untraditional as far as deserts go. It’s not technically a desert, because rainfall exceeds 39 inches a year, but it does lack vegetation,mostly due to acid rain. The desert covers an area near the Kilauea Volcano along the Southwest Rift zone, where rain mixes with the sulfur released by the volcanic vents. The landscape is comprised mostly of volcanic ash, volcanic rock, sand and gravel. It’s a popular spot for tours and hikes when the volcanoes are inactive. To get there, follow Highway 11 south east from Kona and enter the trailhead at Crater Rim Drive. Although the desert is inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the trailhead is actually a 15 minute drive west of the park’s entrance, meaning you can avoid the national park fee. But beware, when there is high volcanic activity, the area will be off limits to visitors, as potentially poisonous gases may fill the air.

Monsoon — See the cliffs on the Hamakua coast ($0)

Cliffs on the Hamakua coast. Courtesy of rjones0856.

Cliffs on the Hamakua coast. Courtesy of rjones0856.

One of the reasons Hawaii has such a vast array of sub-climates is the trade winds that often blow in from the east. Due to these winds, only one part of the Big Island experiences the monsoon climate zone — a small section along the Hamakua coast on the north side of the island. Monsoon climates are created from seasonal winds that blow for months and usher in the rainy season. The harsh winds and relentless monsoon rains have created rugged cliffs along the cost that vary from the tropical, sandy beaches that typically come to mind when one pictures Hawaii. Infused with rock turned dark from the island’s volcanoes, the cliffs are certainly something to behold. Just deviate off your drive along Highway 19 somewhere between Honokaa and Paauilo and head for the coast.

Continuously Wet Tropical — Check out Akaka Falls ($5)

Akaka Falls. Courtesy of Jean Synodinos.

Akaka Falls. Courtesy of Jean Synodinos.

Along the southern side of the Hamakua coast and not too far from Highway 19 (a highway that goes around nearly all of the Big Island) is Akaka Falls State Park. It’s located on the windward side of the island and receives rainfall year round, giving it a tropical climate. Akaka Falls State Park displays those tropics in all their glory. There’s an entrance fee since it is a state park, but it’s only $1 per person (if you’re on foot) or $5 per car. Caveat: Vehicles with more passengers can get a little pricier. The 0.4-mile path back to the falls is paved and self-guided, and the 442-foot falls spilling into a stream-eroded gorge is surely worth more than any amount of exertion you could spend getting to it. Take your time and notice the flowers — tropical climates like that are few and far between.

Steppe — Watch a hula performance ($0)

Hawaiian hula dancers. Courtesy of Travis Jacobs.

Hawaiian hula dancers. Courtesy of Travis Jacobs.

Also known as a dry/semi-arid climate, the steppe sub-climate zone is a dry grassland where temperatures can reach 104 F in the summer and dip to -40 F in the winter. It doesn’t get that cold in any of Hawaii’s stretches of steppe, which reach around the northwestern coast of the big island and encompass the port of Kailua Kona and the Kona International Airport. Clearly, Kona is a big tourist area, and they have plenty of activities for visitors to partake in, including free hula shows. The local dancers dawn their leis and take to the stage at the shops at Mauna Lani for a free 30-minute show at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. every Monday. Schedules may vary depending on the season.

Dry Summer Tropical — Drive the Kohala Mountain Road ($0)

Kohala Mountain Road. Courtesy of Andrew K. Smith.

Kohala Mountain Road. Courtesy of Andrew K. Smith.

This is a sub-climate of humid tropical, marked by (as the name indicates) a dry summer. The northernmost and southernmost tips of the Big Island experience a dry summer tropical climate. The only other places on earth with this type of climate are parts of southern India and Sri Lanka. Driving the Kohala Mountain Road from Hawi in the northern tip of the island to Waimea, a town further inland, will give a good taste of the climate. Route 250 travels along nearly undeveloped land and its elevation varies thousands of feet. Passersby often spot wild turkeys and pigs, among other fauna. The best part? Driving the road and seeing all those sights is free, assuming you’ve already forked out the dough to rent a car.

Continuously Wet Temperate — Tour a coffee plantation ($0)

Greenwell farms. Courtesy of wfabry.

Greenwell farms. Courtesy of wfabry.

This climate zone covers most of the island inland from the beaches and below the mountain tops. The nearly year-round rainfall is conducive to coffee growth in these areas, and some of Hawaii’s coffee plantations can be found in the mountains just above Kona. Greenwell Farms, about 10 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Highway 11, offers free tours of its operation from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day. Guests can take a walking tour of the coffee fields and processing facilities, taste free samples of the coffee, and learn about almost every process in the production of Kona Coffee.

Winter Dry Humid — See the black sands at Milolii Beach Park ($0)

A black sand beach in Hawaii

A black sand beach in Hawaii

This limited sub-climate zone stretches down the southwestern beaches of the island. The climates change with the altitude, so those that experienced a dry winter at Captain Cook or Kealakekua could be disappointed at the constant rain in the towns that lie higher up the mountain. The climate zone only lies along the beaches, down near sea level, making it easy to experience. Milolii Beach State Park, just off Highway 11, is free to visitors and quite the beauty. It’s black rocks and sand that line the beach are evidence of the volcanic nature of the island, and stand out starkly against the blue Pacific waters.

Story by Ally Marotti

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, FREE!, Hawaii, Off-season