With spring winding down and summer quickly approaching, Americans are starting to plan their summer vacations. But many Americans are planning on saving money this summer by keeping their travel plans domestic.
A 2009 USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 74 percent of respondents were vacationing closer than they had planned in an effort to save on travel and lodging expenses, while 63 percent said they were canceling planned trips all together. In 2010, a separate USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 27 percent of Americans were traveling even less than they did the summer prior.
Despite the fact that employment numbers are on the rise and America is beginning to push its way out of the recession, long-term effects have continued to put a damper on travel plans. According to AOL's Summer Travel 2011 poll, only 16.7 percent of respondents said they would be traveling internationally this summer compared to 49.4 percent traveling domestically.
So, where are the most popular domestic spots Americans travel to and how much damage will they cost your wallet? FindTheBest matched the average daily cost per city to Forbes' list of America's 10 most visited cities; the most popular cities in America based on visitors are as follows:
10. San Diego, CA: 29,600,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $202
Tourist Attractions: Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Old Town, Legoland, Coronado Island, Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores, Del Mar Beach, Torrey Pines Golf Course
The Local Recommendation: "I recommend people-watching along the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, where you can also hit the waves for both surfing and kayaking at La Jolla Shores. A great way to end the day is to round up some friends, grab a bottle of red and enjoy the summer sunset atop Del Mar Plaza." - Ali Zamiri, business executive in the high-tech industry.
9. Philadelphia, PA: 30,320,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $202
Tourist Attractions: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Franklin Institute, Betsy Ross House, Fairmount Park, Pat's Steaks, Geno's Steaks
The Local Recommendation: "Make your way down to the waterfront at Penn's Landing and check out one of the free concerts or outdoor movies on Festival Pier. Or, if you're in the area the weekend of June 5th, you can watch the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, and watch the world's best cyclists struggle up the legendary 'Manyunk Wall.'" - Jason Ochroch, medical student at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital.
8. Houston, TX: 31,060,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $180
Tourist Attractions: Bayou Place, Galleria Mall, Johnson Space Center, Houston Zoo, Museum District, Kemah Boardwalk, The Neighborhood of Montrose, Minute Maid Park, the Kemah Boardwalk, Houston Heights
The Local Recommendation: "Every visitor to Houston MUST take advantage of all the wonderful food it has to offer. Whether it's Vietnamese (SW Bellaire Area), BBQ (Goode Company, Pappas), Tex-Mex or even a bucket of crawfish (the season starts in the spring!) you cannot let your stomach miss out on the savory bites that you can find all over the city." - Nick Lepham and David Nguyen, Houston natives.
7. Atlanta, GA: 35,400,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $188
Tourist Attractions: Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Philips Arena, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Tavern on the Park, the Chateau Elan winery, the restaurants of midtown, VaHi (Virginia Highlands) and Buckhead
The Local Recommendation: "The city's trendiest and classiest lounge is the W Hotel rooftop bar 'Whiskey Blue' in Buckhead. It's the perfect place to sip on cocktails and enjoy an amazing view of the city while the DJ plays some hot ATL beats. If you are feeling adventurous, you must venture out to Buford Highway where you will find a variety of international snack joints serving Vietnamese sandwiches, Mexican fish tacos, Chinese dim sum, etc. If you are hungry for more, be sure to stop by the international farmers' market and try their exotic fruits and vegetables that you don't find in your ordinary grocery store! " - Neha Gandhi, Senior Product Marketing Manager at AT&T.
6. Las Vegas, NV: 36,351,469 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $164
Tourist Attractions: Bellagio Foundations, the Manhattan Express Roller Coaster at New York, New York, Eiffel Tower at Paris, Graceland Wedding Chapel, Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand, Marque Club at The Cosmopolitan, City Center, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, Adventuredome at Circus Circus
The Local Recommendation: "When in Vegas, make sure to stop by The Chandelier in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It is an inhabitable, multi-story visual spectacle housing three unique bar experiences; The Chandelier provides a bit of playground, art exhibit and cocktail haven all at once." - Farid Shidfar, CEO of P2M Productions.
5. Miami, FL: 38,100,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $170
Tourist Attractions: South Beach, Zoo Miami, Seaquarium, Everglades National Park, Crandon Park Beach, Haulover Beach, SoHo House
The Local Recommendation: "I would go for walks around the gardens you find around Miami, especially Fairchild Tropical Gardens and Viscaya. And if you want exciting outdoor exercise I would not miss bike riding at Shark Valley in the Everglades. You can rent your bikes there and you will be sharing the bike path with alligators and other local species." - Cristina Rodriguez, Artist.
4. Anaheim/Orange County, CA: 42,700,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $194 (Los Angeles)
Tourist Attractions: Disneyland Park, Adventure City, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Sky Thrills, Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Angel Stadium
The Local Recommendation: "Don't miss an early morning surf lesson in Newport Beach, followed by lunch at Zinc Cafe in Corona del Mar. Follow that with a short drive to Anaheim and watch an Angel game under the stars and you'll have a full day!" - Andrew L. Kopjak, Dana Point resident.
3. Chicago, IL: 45,580,000 visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $217
Tourist Attractions: The Bean, Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, Sears Tower, The John Hancock Building, Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier
The Local Recommendation: "Chicago is home to some of the greatest street fairs and music festivals if you are in town on the right weekend. I never miss Pitchfork or Lollapollooza on the music end. The Renegade Craft Fair, which started in Chicago and has expanded to San Francisco and Brooklyn, is an awesome place to score fabulous handmade goods. There is a different street fair every weekend in the summer where you can grab a cold beer, a Chicago hot dog (that means hold the ketchup) and check out the newest bands. Taste of Chicago and Old St. Pat's -- the world's largest block party -- are can't miss events. Note to singles: it's a popular belief in Chicago that the Old St. Pat's block party is the best place to meet your future husband or wife. People who do meet at the block party often get hitched in the adjoining Old St. Pat's church." - Julie Sullivan, founder of Fashion Plates and Chicago native.
2. New York City, NY: 47 million visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $295
Tourist Attractions: The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, 5th Ave, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Ground Zero, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Greenwich Village, the MOMA, Chelsea Piers, the Brooklyn Bridge, Mamoun's Falafel
The Local Recommendation: "There is no place quite like New York City, with its energy, culture, food, and its people. If you are a dreamer, this is the city for you. If you are a doer, this is the city for you. If you are a lover of art, of music, of nightlife, of all kinds of excitement from seeing a Broadway show to skating in Central Park to eating a falafel for two dollars on Bleecker Street, there is so much to see and do. If you have a chance to catch a show in the village, it is always an experience. The variety of musicians and music is vast and the history of artists who have played on the stages ranges from Bob Dylan to Patti Smith to Lady GaGa. It always amazes me how on any given night, in any given bar, you can discover a new band or artist to love." - Emily Cavanagh, singer/songwriter and social worker based in New York.
1. Orlando, FL: 48 million visitors
Average summer per diem lodging, meals and incidental expenses rate: $146
Tourist Attractions: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Florida, Sea World Orlando, Epcot, Discovery Cove, Orlando Shakespeare Theater
The Local Recommendation: "Disney has MAGIC! Both Universal Studios and Island of Adventure are musts! The Harry Potter ride at Island of Adventure will make your hair stand on end. Since there is so much to see, it may be worthwhile buying a VIP pass which would eliminate waiting times for each ride which could be as long as 90 minutes in high season." - Beulah Peart, Orlando resident.
Compare the per diem rates of hundreds of popular cities and destinations.
Follow Grace Nasri on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@GraceNasri