Thanks to Jen Leo from the LA Times for turning me onto this interactive travel map tool from Money magazine. In no way is it the end-all-be-all of travel searches, but it’s a great way to explore what kind of vacation in different price tiers. Its interactive map asks you a few travel choices. For example, do you want a domestic or international trip? Are you looking to go to the beach, to a city or on an adventure? Then, there are four categories to reflect the amount of money you want to spend: one dollar sign to four. After you answer those questions, the tool will show you on a map which destinations you should be looking into.
Once you choose a destination on the map and click its flag, a window pops up to share more. For Jacksonville, they say it will cost you $148.62 a day. That includes $101.50 a night for a hotel, $14.50 for an inexpensive meal and $3.63 per mile in a taxi. Keep in mind that flights are not calculated and hotel prices are averages based on Hotels.com.
Again, it gives users a good starting place but it leaves out all kinds of great destinations. For example, if you put in one dollar sign for a domestic beach destination it only offers Jacksonville, Florida. Of course, there are hundreds of other choices besides Jacksonville.
Tip: If you want to travel for cheap, consider renting a home or apartment and cooking your own meals there. Here are 5 vacation rental tips from the founder of HomeAway.com.