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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

There are vacation rentals, and then there are geodesic dome homes, those quirky, rounded abodes that gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s, when a growing number of young Americans sought out a tranquil existence closer to nature. Today, booking a stay in a modern geodesic dome home taps into this spirit of hippiedom, while anchoring your trip to an eco-friendly architectural marvel. To spend the night in one of these featured dome homes, no need to be a hippie or join a commune. All boast modern comforts and amenities (hooray for air-conditioning) and are available to easily book on CheapTickets.

   RELATED: 12 great American roadside attractions

Joshua Tree, CA

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

Joshua Tree is one of those quintessential settings for a dome home: The landscape is expansive, evocative and infused with hippie-inspired vibes. A stay at this Joshua Tree dome home pairs a “traditional” home with a dome home. Located in a rural setting about 10 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, this exquisitely decorated property features four bedrooms, two baths, a fireplace—and a tricked-out bedroom/living room where the landscape and nighttime sky views provide the ultimate “wow” factor.

Austin, TX

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

Everything is bigger in Texas, including its dome homes. This adults-only Austin dome home boasts a huge wrap-around patio, hot tub and skyline views. It sleeps up to seven people and offers amazing privacy while being just 10 minutes from downtown Austin.

Hatteras Island, NC

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

The Blue Pearl is a family-friendly, retro dome home within walking distance to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Onsite amenities for the beach—such as boogie boards, umbrellas and beach toys— are included in your stay. The property is also reality-TV famous: It was featured on HGTV’s “Beachfront Bargain Hunt.”

Santa Fe, NM

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

This spacious Santa Fe dome home offers stunning “Land of Enchantment” views from its private patio. Past vacationers here love that this home provides proximity to the city, but is far enough away so that you won’t feel like a tourist.

ALSO: You can now get hotel-style perks at select vacation rentals —join Orbitz Rewards today to learn more!

Yosemite, CA

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

Nestled in the mountains of Midpines, this Yosemite dome home offers quiet seclusion, while residing just 26 miles from the Yosemite Arch Rock Gate entrance. Nearby you’ll find hiking, skiing and biking trails, as well as rock-climbing opportunities.

Franklin, VT

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

This adults-only Vermont dome home in the “Islands & Farms” region of Northwestern Vermont provides a romantic setting. It rests on 33 acres of mostly forested property with stunning lake views. The home also features a cozy fireplace.

Silverthorne, CO

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

Talk about a Rocky Mountain high. This Colorado dome home perched at an altitude of 9,200 feet is ideally situated between the ski towns of Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone.

Chattanooga, TN

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

This Chattanooga dome home is the epitome of cute, cute, cute. You’ll be centrally located in Chattanooga, named the “Best Town Ever” by Outside magazine, thanks to its abundant access to hiking, biking, boating, fishing, white-water rafting and hang-gliding opportunities. Of course, the world-famous Chattanooga Choo-Choo is a can’t miss, too.

Grassy Creek, NC

Photo courtesy of CheapTickets

This handcrafted North Carolina dome home is set on 40 acres among the rolling hills of Eastern Ashe County, near southwest Virginia. The location upon which the vacation home resides, “Unforgettable,” is a Christmas Tree farm and wildlife preserve that boasts numerous wooded walking trails that you’re welcome to meander. The dome home’s 300 square feet of windows make you feel as if you are part of the surroundings. A private deck, swing and hot tub enhance the R&R.

Tagged: California, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Texas, Texas

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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What’s so wrong with strolling the streets of a city like Columbus, Ohio with a pumpkin-spiced latte in hand while listening to Coldplay on your iPhone? Nothing if you ask us! Coined as a term of derision to imply that one’s tastes are mundane, we’re proudly reclaiming the word “basic” as the ultimate status symbol for the frugal traveler. So much so that we’ve created the ultimate Be Basic Travel Package featuring infinity scarf, spiced pumpkin candle and other “basic” amenities and bookable at the Hotel on North in the leaf-peeping mecca of Western Massachusetts. Wondering where else to book a basic vacay? Try one of these cheap and cheerful getaways!

RELATED: 7 hostels with crazy cool amenities

East Coast: Burlington, VT

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, VT

Boston, you’re a delight, but dang your hotel prices are high! Looking for New England charm that won’t set you back $345/nightly? Try crushing a black diamond slope in Stowe, Vermont ($204/nightly), discovering your bohemian side in artsy P-town ($186/nightly), following in the footsteps of Stephen King in Bangor, Maine ($120/nightly) or watching the leaves change from green to gold in Manchester, New Hampshire ($148). But the best bang for your basic buck is a weekend in hip Burlington, Vermont ($204/nightly).

EAT
Don’t overthink it. American Flatbread serves up wood-fired pizzas and craft suds from beloved local brewery Zero Gravity.

PLAY
Of course you should take the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, where you can watch the iconic ice cream being made and pay respects to the dearly de-pinted in the Factory Graveyard. Afterwards, your basic boating outfit is sure to raise no eyebrows on a Lake Champlain boat cruise.

STAY
Hotel bargains abound in South Burlington. The charming Green Mountain Suites offers spacious guestrooms, free parking, WiFi and breakfast, a pool and a roaring fireplace in winter at a fraction of the cost of staying downtown.

Mid-Atlantic: Hershey, PA

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Bid adieu to high hotel prices ($327/nightly) and angry cab drivers in overpriced NYC. Princeton, New Jersey ($203/nightly) is as leafy and student-filled as you’ve imagined it and the same is true of Yale’s hometown, New Haven, Connecticut ($180/nightly). Nearby Hartford ($145/nightly) boasts the homes of both Harriet Tubman and Mark Twain and a gold-tipped state capitol. In Pennsylvania, Mount Pocono ($172/nightly) offers romantic retreats and a respite from city life. But if you’re looking for city thrills sans the high cost, head to Hershey—synonymous with the most basic of chocolates!

EAT
Steaks, burgers, flatbreads and more are made from scratch, at the Mill, a popular eatery housed inside a restored brick mill house.

PLAY
Ride the coasters at chocolate-themed Hersheypark (Chocolatetown opens summer 2020); smell the roses at bucolic Hershey Gardens; and build your own candy bar at Hershey’s Chocolate world.

STAY
If your most basic dream is to enjoy a morning cup of coffee while horses gallop through grassy pastures, then the 32-acre equestrian farm and B&B Inn at Westwynd Farm just a few miles from downtown is your dream abode.

Midwest: Traverse City, MI

Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City

Looking for Midwest thrills that won’t set you back $276/nightly? (We’re looking at you, Chicago!) There’s family fun in the Wisconsin Dells ($111/nightly), an impressive fall festival season in Cedar Falls, Iowa ($120/nightly), sporty thrills in Wisco college town and capital Madison ($239/nightly) and small town charms in hilly Galena ($205/nightly). But if it’s Great Lakes thrills on a budget you seek, check out lively Traverse City ($174/nightly).

EAT
One of Michigan’s buzziest and most Instagrammable eateries, the Cook’s House offers both farm-to-table regional Michigan dishes and on-site cooking classes.

PLAY
Grand Traverse Bay is cut in half by Old Mission Peninsula. Drive the Old Mission Wine Trail to sample—basic wine alert!—fruit wines; Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world!

STAY
Three-star Bayshore Resort has it all including a generous, lakefront beach, indoor pool and tasteful, candy-striped guestrooms. It’s basic compared to its nearby competitors, but that’s kind of the point.

Rocky Mountains: Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge, Colorado

Denver is kind of a basic city (Eddie Bauer is considered high fashion here), but hotel rooms are also pricey ($231/nightly). Even snow bunny hangout Vail is cheaper ($207/nightly). Instead, stay in suburban Golden for Denver explorations that won’t break the bank ($135/nightly), get your nature fix among the red sandstone cliffs of St. George, Utah ($115/nightly) or unleash your inner cowboy in Wyoming capital Cheyenne ($126/nightly). But if you really want Mile High thrills for less, head to fun and affordable Breckenridge ($186/nightly), the “Amsterdam of the Rockies.”

EAT
No longer the new kid on the block, popular Breckenridge Distillery is nevertheless the best place to sate your basic cravings. Think Colorado ranch beef burger chased with spiced whiskey.

PLAY
When in Rome—ski! Beyond the slopes, Breckenridge offers a plethora of activities, including a charming downtown, dog sledding tours, gorgeous Sawmill Reservoir, scenic roads that cross the Continental Divide and every adrenaline-fueled adventure you can imagine.

STAY
Looking for an affordable Breckenridge base camp? Check out LOGE Breckenridge (formerly the Wayside Inn), a budget option that’s undergoing renovations and aiming to woo frugal travelers with an onsite cafe, indoor/outdoor community spaces and gear rental.

Pacific Northwest: Coeur d’Alene, ID

Coeur d'alene, Idaho

Coeur d’alene, ID

Seattle, you’ve got stiff competition. Why should we pay $216/nightly to hang around tech moguls when we can trek Olympic National Park via Port Angeles ($122/nightly), slurp Hawaiian-style ramen from a food cart in Portland ($169/nightly), circumnavigate Crater Lake from Klamath Falls ($134/nightly) or hike a cinder cone butte in Bend ($101/nightly)? Then there’s Coeur d’Alene, a hidden gem in Northern Idaho offering dirt cheap thrills at $92/nightly.

EAT
You’ll love the views at Cedars Floating Restaurant, a surf ‘n’ turf eatery that sits in the middle of the water and is perfectly ‘grammable at sunset.

PLAY
We’d never use the phrase basic beach, but the stretches of sand surrounding Lake Coeur d’Alene are the best in the state.

STAY
A perfectly situated four-star boutique B&B that oozes charm and won’t break the bank? Yup, that’s the Blackwell Hotel for you.

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

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Whether you object to the treatment of animals or you’re just bored with the usual dog and pony show, check out one of these animal-free alternatives to the traditional three-ring circus. For more amusements, visit cheaptickets.com/events. Use promo code TICKETS10 to get 10 percent off event tickets.

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is big on artistry. Credit Walt Disney World and Cirque du Soleil.

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is big on artistry. Credit Walt Disney World and Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du SoleilThe Quebec-based company started in 1984 and now showcases its stunts in 17 countries. Stateside, there are Cirque shows from California to Rhode Island. O at the Bellagio in Las Vegas adds water to the mix for a show that’s anything but washed up. Sin City is also how to Cirque shows celebrating the music of both Michael Jackson and the Beatles. On the kid-friendly end, La Noube in Orlando’s Downtown Disney lets families experience top-notch artistry without the top-tier theme park ticket price.

Circus Smirkus:
In this Vermont-based performance troupe, kids don’t just watch the circus; they are the circus. The cast features children ages 10 to 18 who spend summers touring New England in their one-ring, big-top circus tent. If young audience members are inspired by what they see, they can enroll in Circus Smirkus Camp to learn acrobatics, juggling and other circus skills.

Circus Center: This San Francisco training center offers adult and child classes in everything from flying trapeze to aerial (remember Pink at the 2014 Grammys?) to clowning around. If you’d rather just watch, then check out the venue’s monthly cabaret series. These professional, 21-and-up shows offer an intimate, speakeasy-style setting; a drink ticket is included with each entry for a circus experience that’s truly intoxicating.

Acrobats of China: This show is a lotcloser than it sounds. The New Shanghai Circus in Branson, Missouri displays feats of strength, flexibility and balance, including diving through hoops, juggling people and an entire family riding a single bicycle. Arrive early to see the “show before the show,” a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

Circus Arts Conservatory: You could say Sarasota, Florida, is the circus capital of the world, being home to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to daredevil high wire walker Nik Wallenda. The conservatory brings performances yearround, from the kids’ Sailor Circus to Cirque des Voix, which combines circus acts with choir and full orchestra.

For more things to do, check out cheaptickets.com/events. Use promo code TICKETS10 to get 10 percent off event tickets.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: California, City, Events, Family, Florida, Las Vegas, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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In this age of online shopping, it’s easy to forget that our favorite goods come from actual, you know, places. See where everyday items are born during one of these made-in-America factory tours.

Crayola Factory in Pennsylvania

Photo courtesy of Frances MacLeod

Crayola Experience, Easton, PA

Let your imagination run wild through four floors of colorful fun at this attraction about a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia or New York City. Watch a live-action theater show that explains how crayons are brought to life, create custom crayons and run wild in the two-story color-themed playground.

Photo courtesy of Darah Thomas

Photo courtesy of Darah Thomas

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory Tour, Louisville, KY

This bat factory will score a home run with baseball fans. As you enter the building, you’ll walk past the world’s largest bat—a 120-feet-tall replica of Babe Ruth’s own Louisville Slugger. Then it’s onto the factory and museum, where you can watch bats being made, hold bats used by Major League Baseball legends and test out the batting cages. At the end of the factory tour, take home a free miniature bat or order a full-size personalized Slugger.

Photo courtesy of Jelly Belly Candy Company

Photo courtesy of Jelly Belly Candy Company

Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, CA 

You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store at this factory located between San Francisco and Sacramento. See what goes into making jelly beans that taste like buttered popcorn, toasted marshmallow and A&W Root Beer, and discover why it takes up to 20 days to create a single bean. But don’t fill up on the free samples; save room for bean-shaped burger or bean-shaped pizza in the Jelly Belly Cafe.

Stuffington Bear Factory Tour, Phoenix, AZ

Before there was Build-A-Bear, there was Stuffington Bear. Watch bears and other stuffed animals come to life as they are cut, sewn and stuffed, and learn about the history of teddy bears. After the tour, stop by the retail store to take home a cuddly companion of your own.

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour in Vermont

Photo courtesy of Nick Caruso

Ben and Jerry’s Factory TourWaterbury, VT

How could an ice cream factory tour not be fun? Learn about the history of the company, watch as sweet treats come to life on the factory floor and, yes, indulge in free samples. Find even more sweet treats in the Scoop Shop, which offers traditional ice cream treats and specialty desserts. 

Photo courtesy of: linearclassic | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of  linearclassic | Flickr Creative Commons

Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, DC, and Fort Worth, TX

Anyone can make money, but not everyone make money. In each of these tours, you can stand above the production floor as millions of dollars roll off the printing press, watch a video about the production process and, ironically, buy souvenir currency in the gift shop.

Photo courtesy of Becky Musgrove.

Photo courtesy of Becky Musgrove

Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory Tour, Avery Island, LA

The hottest tour in the South starts with a visit to this lush Louisiana island. Watch a film about the history of the spicy condiment, see where Tabasco is aged in white oak barrels and look on as the sauce is bottled and packaged to begin its journey to kitchen tables across America.

Photo courtesy of Harinder Singh

Photo courtesyof Harinder Singh

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing TourEverett, WA

Take your knowledge of air travel to new heights during this rare public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant just north of Seattle. Interact with exhibits, walk through tunnels and ride a freight elevator to a balcony high above the factory floor as you watch 747s and other aircraft being assembled.

Photo courtesy of Tillamook.

Photo courtesy of Tillamook

Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook, OR

Tillamook ages its cheeses for up to three year,s but you won’t need to wait that long to sample the goods during a self-guided tour of its Pacific Coast factory. Get a bird’s eye view as milk is transformed into 171,000 pounds of cheddar, pepper jack and more every day. After the tour, nosh on grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream and other dairy delights in the on-site restaurant.

Photo courtesy of: ooitschristina | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of ooitschristina | Flickr Creative Commons

Gibson Guitar Factory Tour, Memphis, TN

First come the instruments; then comes the music. Watch and listen as the legendary guitars are bound, neck-fitted, painted, buffed and tuned on at this famed Beale Street factory. After the tour, stop by the retail shop for a guitar of your own, and start singin’ the blues.

Photo courtesy of: Matt Lehrer | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Matt Lehrer | Flickr Creative Commons

Budweiser Brewery Tour, St. Louis, MO

Before the craft beer phenomenon took off, there was good ol’ Budweiser. Learn about the company’s century-old brewing process as you walk through its historic building. Save room for a cold one at the end of the tour. Additional tours are available at these Anheuser-Busch factory locations: Fort Collins, Colorado; Jacksonville, Florida; Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Fairfield, California.

Tagged: California, Family, Food & drink

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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The Big Easy might be “it” when it comes to Mardi Gras. But it definitely isn’t the only. Colorful celebrations happen across the U.S. — and they come with a lot of the same bells and whistles you get in the French Quarter. We’re talking Zydeco bands, great Cajun food and parades that seem to go on for days. Oh, yes, and beads. Lots of ’em. If you can’t hop a flight to New Orleans, save some cash and hit a party near you. Here are six of our top picks.

mobile alabama mardi gras

MOBILE, ALABAMA
NOLA’s southern neighbor hosts a dizzying 39 parades over 19 days. Standing idly byisn’t an option; onlookers clamor for beads or go for the ultimate catch: moon pies (chocolate-coated graham cracker cookies with marshmallow in the center). Apart from parade mania, touring the local Carnival Museum is a must and puts the partying in perspective by showcasing the history of Mardi Gras and how it originated in Mobile. For a real insider feel, grab a ticket to a Mardi Gras ball. It’s not uncommon for Mobillians to have a closet full of ball gowns and for men to own a set of tails. Most balls are invite-only, but some bigger groups, like Mystics of Time and Stripers, may open ticket sales to the general public. Mardi Gras celebrations are held through Feb. 17.

universal orlando mardi gras

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT – ORLANDO, FLORIDA
If you’re traveling with kids, this tamer celebration is the one to hit. After all, it takes place on Universal Studios property — home to the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The spirit of N’awlins sweeps in from February 7-April 18, when days in the theme parks are capped off with Cajun food, a parade and live concerts. Every week there’s a major headliner, and this year’s lineup includes Jessie J, Kelly Clarkson and Trey Songz. On a smaller stage, New Orleans bands bring Bayou sound to the scene.

st louis mardi gras

SOULARD – ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
On any given day, jazz and blues music steams from the many nightclubs in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood. It gets especially happening during Mardi Gras, which the historic French district actually turns into a month-long affair (January 6-February 17). Parades wend past the Anhauser Busch Brewery, Cajun cook-offs add sizzle, and even dogs get involved; on the second Sunday before Mardi Gras there is a pet parade (yep, the pups get dressed up, sparkly boas and all). Anyone is free to have a float in the parade, as long as you register your “krewe” (organizations, clubs or groups of friends). That said, it’s just as fun standing on the sidelines, cheering on the drag racers, musicians and costumed merry-makers.

MAGIC HAT – BURLINGTON, VERMONT
For 20 years, local brewery Magic Hat has thrown a Mardi Gras shindig, which is known for its parade down Main Street. Trumpets blare, jugglers wow, floats roll by and drums keep the beat as hundreds of people look (and drink) on. The parade is followed by after-parties on Church Street and throughout downtown Burlington. For true local flavor, venture a few minutes from downtown to Magic Hat’s Brewery and Artifactory, where tours are led and revelry is at a peak. Not only is this Mardi Gras a fantastic party, but it’s one with a purpose: This year’s proceeds benefit the Vermont Foodbank. Held Feb. 27-Mar. 1.

gaslamp district mardi gras

THE GASLAMP QUARTER – SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
The second largest Fat Tuesday celebration in the U.S. is more street party than cultural immersion — but it’s alluring all the same. The GasLamp Quarter, with blocks of bars, clubs and restaurants, is San Diego’s major entertainment district. On February 17, it kicks into overdrive with five outdoor stages, DJs and a night parade with bands, floats, classic cars, belly dancers and Brazilian entertainment that could rival that of Carnival. Snoopadelic headlines the event, so crowds are expected to be thicker than a bowl of gumbo.

breckenridge mardi gras

BRECKENRIDGE MOUNTAIN  – BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO
More than 15 years ago, a group ofNew Orleanians moved to this mountain paradise and brought a little bit of NOLA with them. Their modest celebration has expanded to the whole town of Breckenridge and includes live music, fire dancers and snow play. On Fat Tuesday, several blocks of Main Street shut down for a street party featuring Chris Daniels & the Kings, a jazz and swing act that’s performed with B.B. King. Larger-than-life puppets and harlequin-masked bon vivants light up the night as the sun sets behind the peaks of Breckenridge Ski Resort. New Orleans-themed food and drink specials are available at restaurants throughout town. Held Feb. 17.

Story by Kelly Aiglon

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, City, Events, Festivals, Florida, FREE!, Holidays, Last minute travel, Music, Off-season, Seasonal

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Kelly Aiglon

Kelly Aiglon

Kelly Aiglon

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