Ho ho ho...the holidays are heading your way! If you want to travel at this time of year t0 make the season merry and bright, you might see the prices and start hitting the breaks on the Santa's sleigh. We understand. The cost of travel at Christmas time can sky rocket all the way up to the North Pole. If you know the right places to go though, you'll have plenty left in your wallet to put presents under the tree, wherever that may be.

Check out our favorite cheap places to travel for Christmas where you can experience the magic of the holidays without breaking the bank. Before you do though, learn more about HomeExchange and how it's a great way for budget travelers to save year round.

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1- Solvang, California

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Christmas in California could be pricey. Who doesn't want a bit of sunshine in winter? Solvang is a nice little secret though, nestled on the central coast next to the Santa Barbara Wine Country. It has everything you need for a cosy Christmas. This traditional Danish Village complete with a windmill feels like it's right out of a Christmas fairytale. Pick up delicious Danish pastries for your holiday celebrations, and some great local wines to go with your Christmas feast! The surrounding nature is green rolling hills covered with mistletoe this time of year too. Come to Solvang for a unique opportunity to have a Scandinavian style Christmas in the USA without forking over a fortune to go to Europe!

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2- Leavenworth, Washington

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Bundle up and head to this small Bavarian-inspired town in Washington that transforms into a magical winter wonderland during the holidays. Leavenworth even has an enchanting Nutcracker Museum! Take a cozy Christmas stroll through the quaint village adorned with lights, and stop to enjoy live holiday music and performances. With a bit of luck, the surrounding Cascade Mountains will be covered in snow so you can go for a sleigh ride, cross-country skiing adventures, and snow shoeing! Like any great "German" town is also has its own Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) with local craftsman selling treasures and bratwurst, beer, and ginger bread cookies. Yum!

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3- Portland, Oregon

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As you arrive to Portland at the holidays as see the large neon signs that welcomes visited with a seemingly flying reindeer, you know you've come to the right place for Christmas! Portland is popular stop for budget travellers looking for all the great stuff big city have to offer with the big budget. At the holidays it's really lovely and still won't break the bank. Start your holiday season by attending the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Oregon Zoo hosts a popular event called ZooLights, where the park is adorned with more than a million sparkling lights.

There is a Christmas Ships Parade on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Decorated boats, adorned with colorful lights, sail along the waterways, creating a stunning spectacle. Find a cozy spot along the riverbank, sip on hot cocoa, and enjoy the beautiful procession. It doesn't spot there! Ice skate at the Christmas Village, Enjoy the Lights at Peacock Lane, attend holiday concerts and so much more.

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4- Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville biggest draw year round is it's beautiful Biltmore Mansion. They never miss the opportunity to go all out for a holiday here and Christmas is no exception. It's a must-visit during the Christmas season and America's largest privately-owned home. Transformed into a winter wonderland during the holidays, its grand halls are beautifully decorated with trees, garlands, and thousands of ornaments. The Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the Biltmore Estate are the epitome of holiday enchantment, illuminating the mansion with the warm glow of candlelight for an unforgettable festive ambiance.

Strolling through the estate's gardens, you'll also find stunning light displays that add to the festive atmosphere. The rest of the town is not to be missed either, offer more holiday charm beyond the walls the the beautiful Biltmore.

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5- Fredericksburg, Texas

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Another one of our favorite cheap places to travel at Christmas in the US is also a colonial German town. It's true that the Germans really know how to get their Christmas on with those amazing markets and more this time of year. Fredericksburg in the heart of Texas has amazing reasons to visit year round, but Christmas is a really special time here. The traditional German-inspired Christmas market, Christkindlmarkt is held annually in Marktplatz. Nearby the main street is covered in decorations and twinkle lights and many of the shops stay open late during the Christmas season. The local Pioneer Museum hosts an annual Christmas Event that is really worth seeing. Meanwhile, the surrounding hill country is peacefully serene in winter at the vines sleep and the rolling hills are a rich green.

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6- Williamsburg, Virginia

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For a Colonial Christmas, come to Williamsburg for an unforgettable holiday. One of the highlights of visiting Williamsburg at Christmas is the Grand Illumination. This annual event marks the official start of the holiday season in Colonial Williamsburg. The town comes alive with fireworks, music performances, and the lighting of countless candles in the windows of historic buildings. The historic area is beautifully decorated with traditional wreaths, garlands, and lights.  You can attend concerts of traditional holiday music, participate in hands-on crafts and workshops, and shop the local annual Christmas Market. The nearby Busch Gardens hosts a popular annual event called Christmas Town. The amusement park is transformed into a winter wonderland.

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7- Branson, Missouri

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Come to the Ozarks for an original Christmas destinations. The Ozarks are truly underrated at any time of year. Christmas time can be very special here, certainly in a town called Branson.  The Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park hosts the Trail of Lights, a drive-through light display where you pass through lighted tunnels, animated scenes, and thousands of twinkling lights. Similarly, the nearby Silver Dollar City, a renowned theme park in Branson, hosts an annual event called An Old Time Christmas with over 6.5 million lights! Branson is renowned for its live entertainment, and at Christmas the curtain call features so many great holiday shows. There is a holiday parade, local festivals, and great shopping in the town as well as sweet spots for dining to do your holiday feasting. Plus, the surrounding natural beauty of the Ozarks in the midst of window really is majestic.

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8- Newport, Rhode Island

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For a coastal Christmas our favorite is Newport, Rhode Island. You might come for the annual Christmas Boat Parade, but you'll discover this town is more than just its maritime past. It's famous for gorgeous mansions that really go all out at the holidays. You can explore their extraordinary holiday decor as they deck the halls with even more gilded glamourr, lights, wreaths and more. The iconic Newport Mansions, such as The Breakers and Marble House are open to the public to enjoy their festive splendor! The Preservation Society of Newport County hosts the annual Christmas at the Newport Mansions event with period-inspired ornaments, and stunning Christmas trees.

Enjoy live holiday music, special exhibits, and seasonal tours that provide a glimpse into the extravagant lifestyle of Newport's elite during the Gilded Age. The Newport Skating Center is also a great holiday activity here.

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9- Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Santa Fe is known for its enchanting and romantic ambiance, with its adobe architecture, narrow streets, and rich artistic heritage. Surprisingly, the city's style lends itself to the spirit of Christmas, something you might not expect here in the high desert. The city's Canyon Road, lined with art galleries, becomes particularly enchanting during Christmas, with luminarias (candles in paper bags) lining the street. The historic Plaza is beautifully adorned with lights and decorations as well. Santa Fe also showcases its rich Hispanic heritage farolitos (small bonfires) and processions known as Las Posadas this time of year.

The surrounding mountains offer opportunities for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, so you can make it a white Christmas with a bit of snowy mountain magic. Who knew New Mexico could be so enchanting this time of year?

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10- Charleston, South Carolina: Christmas with Southern Charm

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While Christmas comes out of the North Pole, heading south for the holiday has its charms as well! Charleston really turns on its charm at Christmas time, making an already extraordinary (and affordable city) that much more amazing. There are tons of seasonal activities this time of year. One of our favorites also happens to be free. Take a leisurely stroll through Charleston's Historic District, where the streets are adorned with magnificent holiday decorations. If you're lucky, you can even catch carollers while you admire the festive wreaths, garlands, and twinkling lights that accentuate the city's historic charm. Charleston City Market is transformed into an enchanting Christmas market in December, and there is an annual Christmas Boat Parade, candlelight tours, and so much more. Come to Charleston for Christmas and you are sure to be charmed!

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For Cheap Places to Travel at Christmas in the USA, Try HomeExchange

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Don't let the price of holiday travels detract from the magic of the season. If you want to get away at this time of year, your budget doesn't have to stop you. All of the above are fabulous affordable destinations with so much to offer at the Christmas Season. But the best way to save on spending the holidays away from home, is with HomeExchange.

Instead of forking over a fortune for hotels and pricey vacation rentals, you can find an ideal home away from home from your Christmas vacation through our network. Exchanging with like minded travellers is easy on your wallet and rewarding too, as you find yourself with your loved in a warm environment while discovering a new place. Register for free today and you'll see the possibilities are unlimited for cheap places to travel for the holidays in the US when you save so much on accommodations through home swapping.

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