BOSTON (CBS) – Gas is around $3.69. Hard to rationalize getting in your car and driving far for a vacation.

So where can you go on the cheap? Try New England. We live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. We have the ocean, lakes, mountains, and cities.

Hotels, motels and restaurants are offering deals for business. But you will need to search for the deals. Start with contacting the individual state’s travel bureau. In Mass it’s the Massachusetts Office of Travel. All of the websites are linked from ours.

New Hampshire Travel Guide has what you need to head north. Maine’s Office of Tourism, and did you know there is a world renowned music box museum in Wiscasset, Maine.

A Vermont vacation starts with their guide book. We recently went to a wedding in Vermont and just the drive up to Killington was beautiful. We took Route 100 and fell in love with Vermont all over again. It didn’t hurt that there were lots of antique shops and quaint cafes to keep us busy up and back.

We so often forget about our southern neighbors, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Try both. They have lots of seashore, quaint villages, fun museums and good pizza and are just a couple of hours away.

And, of course, there is the Cape and the islands. The islands can be done as a day trip from Woods Hole or Falmouth.

And once you get to your destination take advantage of the great stuff there is to do that doesn’t cost a lot. Hiking, biking, walking the beaches, exploring the towns.

If you want to travel further than New England and by air I have put together a list of websites to help you get the best price. Check out the individual airlines websites as well.

Try the website for price comparison. I choose a Boston to San Francisco flight beginning of September for one week for comparison. A Wednesday to Wednesday. My criteria was simple, a nonstop midday flight which is a cheap time to fly.

Prices ranged from $349 for Air Tran to $599 for Frontier with $359 for United. So the discount airlines are not always the cheapest.

I used Kayak again to compare hotels. I found something for $70 a night which was a little scary and it went up to $220 for downtown. And lots in between.

As for dining and entertainment while you are traveling try the Entertainment book which has been around for years. It is a book of coupons. You purchase a book for the area you are planning to travel to. Massachusetts has 3 areas, Boston, Springfield and Worcester. Books are normally priced around $35, but you can get the 2011 book at a discount for $8.99.

More ways to save:  Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Last Minute, Air Fare Watchdog, Smarter Travel, Yahoo Travel, Fodors


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