City of Philadelphia - Budget Travel for Canadians

The low loonie shouldn’t stop you from traveling this year! Wiith spring break coming, and some of us starting to plan our summer vacations, American destinations don’t have to be crossed off your travel list. We’ve chosen three destinations that can be fully enjoyed and experienced on a budget.

Here are some tips that will save you money in every destination:

  • Take public transit, rather than costly cab rides. These featured cities have excellent mass transit systems and you can get around for the day, without spending a lot. Of course walking costs nothing at all!
  • Search for hotel deals and be open to changing your travel dates to find the best rates. Staying slightly outside of the main drag or city centre will save you money.
  • Look for opportunities to eat on the cheap: Pack a picnic (rather than eat at a restaurant) or opt for quick local grab-and-go spots over fancier sit-downs. These cities feature beautiful outdoor spaces for enjoying grocery store finds.
  • Bring a water bottle with you (try a collapsable one, which is luggage friendly). This will save you from having to purchase water or other beverages when out and about.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Many of Philadelphia’s attractions are free, or low cost, making this an American city that is highly affordable for couples, solo travelers and even families. For example, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, dedicated to such an incredible figure in world history, is just $5 for adults and $2 for children (aged 4 to 16). Explore Philosophical Hall, which functioned as the nation’s first museum, national library and academy of science, for a donation of $2. It features changing exhibits that examine the intersection between history, art and science. Learn more.

Other notable things to explore, on the cheap:

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical site, once home to the legendary writer, is open to the public for free. You can learn more about his fascinating life with a self-guided tour or one led by a Park Ranger (Friday through Sunday). Learn more.

Take a self-guided tour of the United States Mint (free). You can watch coin production from 40 feet above the factory floor. Learn more about currency history, and see the nation’s first coining press. More information here.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville may be the heart of country music, but pricey digs are not part of its vibe. Many who visit this town steeped in music legends, say it has a down-to-earth feeling and some of the best hotel rates in the South.

Experience free live music, all over Nashville. Of course the “music city” would have plenty to offer for your listening pleasure! And the best part is you don’t have to pay for it. Music is all around the city and you can find a complete guide to where to listen for free right here

One of the best things to see in Nashville costs nothing at all: Music City Walk of Fame Park, part of Nashville’s Music Mile. This is a tribute to the country music greats. More info.

Take a tour of the Nashville Symphony’s home Schermerhorn Symphony Center and delight in the stunning architecture. Tours are one hour, and completely free.   Learn more.

These might be worth the splurge:

Visit the Grand Ole Opry and learn more about country music’s history. Go backstage and learn about the music legends who have performed at this historic performance hall. You may even get a chance to step on the iconic stage! Admission: Adults are $24 and children 4-11 are $19.

Learn more.

Take a tour of Belle Meade Plantation, established in 1807, and you will get the chance to walk through this southern mansion and the historic buildings that are on it’s grounds, including a dairy, carriage house and log cabin. It’s a hard look at America’s history, as you walk the same ground as the enslaved people who worked the land for farm owner John Harding, who became one of the largest slave owners in Nashville. Admission: Adults are $20 and children 6-12 are $10 (kids 5 and under are free).

Learn more.

Portland, Oregon

Portland is a very walk-able city, allowing you to avoid costly transportation fees during your trip. It also has many affordable hotel and restaurant options so you can find places to sleep and eat that are within your budget. Like Nashville, it also features a laid back culture, and one that is wonderfully unique to the city (it does have a whole comedy show exploring it’s quirkiness).

The Attractions Pass offered by Travel Portland is a great way to experience some of the city’s best attractions, while saving on admission fees. There are 4 different passes to choose from, so pick one that best suits your itinerary. Learn more.

See Portland from the air by taking the Portland Aerial Tram. A round-trip ticket will cost you just $4.50, and children 6 and under are free. Learn more.

Explore the largest city park in the United States, Forest Park, with more than 5,000 acres to keep you busy. There are 50 miles of trails so you can find the hike perfect for you and your travel companions. Plan your visit here.

It might be worth the splurge:

OMSI is a science museum offering kids and adults plenty of opportunities to interact with the magic of science, with exhibits and opportunities to get your hands dirty. Admission: $13.50 for adults, youth 3 to 13 are $9.75. Learn more.

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive; these three American destinations, feature plenty of things to do, see and eat on the cheap so even the Canadian dollar can go further.