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Feeling vacation deprived? A travel expert shares her top picks for a budget-friendly trip

Consider your summer getaway secured.

Who could use a vacation? Or, perhaps a better question to ask is who couldn't use a vacation? Between overwhelming days at the office and hectic schedules at home, burnout is real — and there’s no better way to reset than by taking a trip. Yet, according to Expedia’s 23rd-annual Vacation Deprivation Report exclusively shared with TODAY, global vacation deprivation levels have reached a 10-year high. So, why aren’t we booking flights and packing bags when we know it’s best for our well-being?

Expedia surveyed more than 14,500 people across 16 countries to better understand why nearly half of Americans left vacation days on the table last year. For starters, it’s become increasingly difficult to take time off. Of U.S. respondents, 58 percent say their workplace or industry is battling labor shortages, so many find it challenging to find coverage (61 percent) or worry about their workload upon return (66 percent). Additionally, it can be stressful to sit down and plan a trip when the day-to-day is so busy. Sixty-two percent of U.S. respondents say they used at least one vacation day not for rest and relaxation, but just to make time for personal appointments. And finally, the rising cost of living has taken a toll on spending — and travel is no exception. U.S. respondents feel the impacts of inflation with 72 percent worrying about getting a good deal.

Despite all of these obstacles, one in five travelers says they plan to travel this year “no matter what,” according to the survey. And we’ve got you covered with where to go. Travel Expert Dayvee Sutton stopped by TODAY to share the most common problems preventing people from taking PTO — and how to solve them.

Sutton handpicked four destinations, plus accommodations, so vacation deprivation can be a thing of the past.

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Trending summer destinations

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Sea Ranch Resort

The Outer Banks are a 200-mile string of barrier islands on the East Coast of the United States. With hundreds of miles of open, unspoiled public beach, Sutton notes that you can pull off the side of the road practically anywhere and find a new spot to enjoy every day of your visit. Other attractions include the Wright Brothers Memorial where America’s first flight was taken, and Jockey’s Ridge State Park (the tallest sand dune on the Atlantic Coast) where you can go on hikes, hang glide, sand board or fly kites.

Sea Ranch Resort

The Sea Ranch Resort is ideal if you're looking for a true oceanfront experience. You can kick off your shoes and walk directly down to the water, or stop by The Beachside Bistro on your way to grab a bite while taking in the views. The amenities are abundant and include a heated pool, fitness center and even access to the YMCA a quick drive down the street. Choose between guest rooms and condos to accommodate any size family, and get ready for an unforgettable summer on the seaside. Looking for some water-filled fun? Explore the calm bays and sheltered waters of Kitty Hawk on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak tour.

Stand Up Paddleboard Adventure on the Outer Banks

Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest Kayak Tour

San Diego, California

Copyright 2023 Bahia Resort Hotel

With 70 miles of beautiful coastline, world-class attractions, top-notch dining and vibrant neighborhoods, Sutton recommends San Diego as a great place for summer fun in the sun. For family fun check out the San Diego Zoo, Sesame Place San Diego, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld San Diego, Belmont Park (a beachfront amusement center) or The Shell (summer home for the San Diego Symphony). Head to one of San Diego’s many beaches to swim, relax or surf, or gather friends and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire. Enjoy the many free activities that happen all summer long like free summer concerts, summer movies, street fairs, festivals and more.

Bahia Resort Hotel

The Bahia Resort Hotel, a quintessential Southern California beach resort for generations of vacationers, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year as San Diego's original hotel on Mission Bay — the largest water park of its kind in the world. The Bahia was the first hotel that started it all in 1953, thanks to foresight from the local Evans family of hoteliers, helping turn Mission Bay into the aquatic wonderland it is today. Not to mention, one of San Diego's most popular vacation destinations.

Savannah, Georgia

The Alida

A charming Southern coastal city where art, period architecture and trendy boutiques reside. It’s also famous for its many ghost stories, so haunted tours are very popular to do all year round. Sutton mentions that foodies will love Savannah as well because they'll be spoiled with options of delicious cuisine straight from the coast (and likely somebody’s grandmother’s cookbook)!

The Alida

Located on historic Savannah’s River Street, The Alida is a 173-room boutique hotel where each room features a unique creative piece by Savannah College of Art & Design students and other local makers. Aside from being situated in the bustling Plant Riverside District, The Alida itself features its own fun: A heated and chilled year-round saltwater pool with private cabanas; The Lost Square outdoor rooftop bar; Southern coastal cuisine restaurant Rhett; The chic Trade Room lobby bar. With year-round entertainment, events and a place to rest your head, The Alida as the perfect getaway for Savannah locals and out-of-town travelers alike.

Scottsdale, Arizona

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort & Villas

Sutton knows Scottsdale in the summer sounds crazy when the desert when temperatures can reach triple digits. But here’s why she says it’s a brilliant idea: Scottsdale is known for its world-famous all-indoor resorts and spas — and this is the time of year when you can get a deal. You can also stay cool by visiting the 50+ art exhibitions, museums and galleries that rival some of the top cities known for art. Pro tip: do it like the locals and experience the outdoors when the sun is down (like taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride)!

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort & Villas

At The Scottsdale Plaza Resort & Villas you’ll find spacious suites, villas and casitas that guarantee nobody in the family will be sleeping on the couch. With five pools, private cabanas and a spa that will pamper guests from head to toe (pedicure bar included), visitors can spend the day lounging in luxury before exploring the city. The resort sits in the heart of Scottsdale, just a few miles from Old Town Scottsdale, and various indoor summer-worthy attractions.

Bonus Tip: Expedia has a last-minute deals section where you can get deals for this weekend. Here is one deal we love:

Boston, Massachusetts

History buffs will love Boston, especially since you can take a self-guided tour through all 16 landmarks by walking The Freedom Trail footpath. Once you're done traveling the old cobblestone streets, you can fuel up on some of the best chowders in the country — it's America’s seafood capital, after all! If you're more in the mood for Italian, visit the North End for authentic restaurants and top-notch pastry shops. Or, keep it casual and grab a hotdog at Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in the US. And now, with the weather warming up, you can't miss a ride on a Swan Boat at the Boston Public Garden or a Duck Boat to see the city from the water. The esplanade offers a lovely view of the Charles River too, if you'd prefer to stay on land.

Boston Park Plaza

The iconic Boston Park Plaza, described as a historic hotel with the comforts of a new one, truly offers the best of both worlds. You're steps away from all that downtown Boston has to offer, but you can easily spend a day enjoying all the amenities onsite. Have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the lobby restaurant, or pamper yourself by staying in bed and ordering room service. Guests also receive access to Lynx Fitness, a health club that features the first and only Topgolf Swing Suite facility in New England, the hotel says. And since pets are part of the family, you can have peace of mind knowing the place is dog-friendly — the concierge can even arrange local dog walking services for you!

To make things even easier and get you on a getaway, Expedia's app includes:

  • Price Tracking & Prediction: View price history, receive alerts when prices fluctuate, and understand when prices are likely to change.
  • Price-Drop Protection: You can lock in a flight and if the price drops, Expedia will automatically refund you the difference.
  • Conversational trip planning: iOS users can start an open-ended conversation in the Expedia app and get recommendations on places to go, where to stay, how to get around, and what to see and do.