It’s been an ugly year for tourism in some international destinations, with European travel down by a third in many countries because of the economy and spots like Honduras, Argentina, and Mexico suffering from political woes or H1N1 scares. Many domestic U.S. destinations are doing fine and dandy though as Americans stay closer to home this year and are taking advantage of great deals.
I met with a slew of U.S. tourism bureau people last week from different areas and am going to highlight some of the best bargains here over the next few months for those readers not ready to hop on a flight to Bangkok. I’m starting with a city I visited in April and found to be one of the best values around: Albuquerque, NM. It’s a Southwest Airlines market, which always helps the flight prices stay low. It’s a college town, which is always a good thing when it comes to cheap eats and happy hours. Plus this is one city that doesn’t shy away from being called a good value: they have a section on their official tourism website with Albuquerque activities for $10 and under.
Here are some of the especially great deals in Albuquerque if you go there on a vacation.
Cheap public transportation
The public buses are $1 adults and free for kids under 10. A trolley services the route between Downtown and Old Town during the summer months from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They hit most of the places you want to go or you can splurge for a $10 guided tour. Taxis are inexpensive for going out at night. The cool new development is that the New Mexico Rail Runner Express train now runs on weekends. For $6 you can ride a nice train from downtown Albuquerque to downtown Santa Fe. Yes a real city-to-city passenger train, in an area that is not anywhere near the east coast!
Only one museum is more than $7 for adults (the newly rebuilt National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, which is $8). For $12 adults/$5 kids you can get a combo ticket at the Biological Park that covers the zoo, the aquarium, the botanical gardens, and a train ride! One of my favorites, the Rattlesnake Museum in Old Town, is $3.
Lots of freebies
Follow this link for free stuff in Albuquerque, including the Petroglyph parks (you just pay a couple bucks for parking at one of them), free museum days, outdoor festivals, Tingley Beach lake park, and more.
This city is on the old Route 66 route, so there are plenty of inexpensive motels going for under $50 double. Just don’t try staying at the one pictured below, even if it is “the purest route 66 mhotel surviving.” If you want to step up without spending much more, go book a room at Hotwire. When I pulled up rates for this weekend there was a 4-star hotel in Old Town going for $67 a night and several 3-stars going for $63. Places with fewer amenities were under $40.
For more info:
Albuquerque on the cheap site
Related post: Native American food in Albuquerque