When we travel, we want it all. The chic hotel, the fabulous meals, and the new wardrobe to match. But let’s face it, every vacation can’t be extravagant. Nor do we have the time to plan such adventures.
That’s why we searched out the very best affordable accommodations in the US of A. We're talking rooms that cost less than a bottle of Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame (about $150). So, save your hard-earned dough for the food and leave the “where to stay” to us.
Glamping is easily our favorite trends in travel, which is why we’re obsessed with the pristine safari tents and log cabins in Santa Barbara coast's El Capitan Canyon. Wake up to the sea breeze and spend your evenings roasting marshmallows on the private patio with a wood fire. You’ll be situated between the rolling hills of Santa Ynez and the seafood-loving town of Santa Barbara, so great food and wine isn’t even a question.
From $145 per night
This border town has some of the best TexMex outside of Texas that we’ve ever tasted. Hotel Congress is a hip little spot downtown with vintage features and a bar that thumps live music. Housed inside an old bank that famously provided ransom to robbers in the early 1900s, you can stay up late and wake up to their in-house Bloody Mary Bar. If you’re like us, you'll want to start the day with their huevos rancheros and a strong black coffee.
From $89 per night
Between debate-worthy deep dish pizza and art-worthy edibles at Alinea, we just adore Chicago. Even the winter has its charm, and it’s one of the best times to find a deal when it comes to hotels. Regardless of season, The James Hotel is outfitted with some of the finest details we’ve seen at a price that leaves more for the extravagant dinners we just can’t skip. Did we mention that David Burke’s Primehouse is on room service? 75-day bone-in ribeye, please!
From $119 per night
Just over 2 hours from New York City lies this 20-room boutique hotel. The Catskills and Hudson River Valley are known for their scenic nature: hikes, skiing,farms, and food.The hotel itself has fairly self-contained with an on-site pool, bicycles for the taking, and kitchenettes in some of the rooms. If it were us, we might spend the weekend relaxing and finish off with a meal at Blue Hill Stone Barns before heading back into the city.
From $124 per night
Mid-century modern accents lend a chic and relaxed vibe to this re-vamped motor inn. Portland keeps it weird with fabulous food and coffee, and Jupiter is centrally located to all of the above. There’s live music most nights, it’s pet-friendly, AND they have a fabulous $99 After Midnight promotion. So, if you need a place to crash in a pinch, you can clearly snag a very cost efficient room.
From $99 per night
Set along a scenic 3.5 miles of golden California coastline, these cheery cottages offer dorm or private cottage-style rentals. Bring your surfboard, and prepare to fall back into a vintage place and time. There is plenty of great food nearby, including SoCal’s “Little Saigon” and the LA Times’ #2 Restaurant of 2016: Taco Maria.
From $39 per night
You just can’t beat the outdoors in Colorado. Every season offers scenic beauty and high-octane activity. Not only is Denver the gateway to many great nearby places, but itself is a clean, relatively new city in terms of the development there. What better way to get to know such a city than as a local? This Airbnb home is outfitted with exposed brick and modern yet rustic features. Convenient to local breweries and restaurants alike, we highly recommend.
From $120 per night
Situated within the French Quarter is this luxurious, “gem” of a hotel. Relax indoors against the plush décor, or outdoors under the shade trees of a private garden alongside a freshwater pool. Of course, there is no shortage of unique and delicious eats in NOLA, and we don’t mind telling you that there happens to be a Café du Monde within walking distance of this particular hotel. Powdery, pillow beignets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, please.
From $145 per night
It helps that there are two April Bloomfield restaurants within the hotel. There’s also a Stumptown Coffee that you’ll find percolating in the mornings. It has everything you’d expect from New York City, including the small, if stylish accommodations. It might be a bunk bed or a mini-suite, but it’s New York! With endless dining options, you’ll hardly spend any time in the room anyway.
From $119 per night
Opening photo by Kirstin McKee