You're closer to Rome than you thought.
Explore the history of the Erie Canal and enjoy the area's many crystal-clear lakes with a getaway to Rome, N.Y. In the geographic center of New York state, Rome was the starting point in the construction of the Erie Canal. Today Rome's 1840s Erie Canal Village ($10 for adult; $7 for seniors 60 and older) transports visitors back to that time and place, featuring three museums, restored buildings and period reenactments. Rome also offers many unique shops and restaurants, and area lodging options range from budget motels to charming bed-and-breakfasts.
The Bigger Apple isn't always better.
Manhattan, Kan., calls itself the "Little Apple," but Money Magazine recently called it one of the Top 10 Places to Retire in the America. It's also an enjoyable — inexpensive — place to visit. Located 120 miles west of Kansas City, Manhattan is home to Kansas State University and the 15,000-acre Turtle Creek Lake. The area is teaming with reasonably priced golf courses, and your shopping dollars will go a lot farther in the historic Aggieville shopping district than in the Big Apple. Speaking of which, a recent online search showed that almost any hotel room in Manhattan, Kan., (including those at several major national chains) could be yours for $100 or less per night. Try finding that deal in the other Manhattan.
Can't decide on an exotic sounding vacation destination?
Just head to Kentucky. The Blue Grass State is particularly beautiful in the spring; plus, it's post time! The Kentucky Derby in May is just part of the springtime horse racing action in the state. There's also Hillybilly Days (Pikeville), the Kentucky Scottish Festival (Carrollton), the International Bar-B-Q Festival (Owensboro) and lots more fun. With three major airports serving the state, reasonably priced flights to Kentucky are fairly common. Kentucky's network of more than 50 state parks and historic sites provide some terrific values for sightseeing and travel accommodations, many offering campgrounds as well as cabins and lodges.
Plus, by my count, Kentucky boasts more famous sounding destinations than any other state in the union. In what other state can you visit Beverly Hills, Rio, Paris, Cairo, London, Versailles, Melbourne, Canada, Frankfort, Columbia, Dublin, Lebanon, Verona, Anchorage, Madrid, New York, Warsaw, and both Rome and Florence? And don't forget to visit Boston while you're in Kentucky — for your convenience, the state has two of them.
Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.