If you know how to save money, you can visit any state in the United States.
Trying to figure out how to save money on a trip to the United States? Volunteering, taking a road trip with friends, and other ideas are presented in this article. Incorporate yourself into my plan
When I hear the phrase "cheap travel in the United States," the word "impossible" immediately comes to mind. Living in a dollar-dominated world can be challenging for many currencies. But I can tell you from experience that it is not
I've been on road trips with bare-bones budgets for gas where we still managed to see the entire state. The Golden State, Oregon, New York, Florida, and other northern destinations southward To think, we accomplished all this on a tight budget.
In fact, I have friends who spent a year or more living in Hawaii on absolutely nothing and managed to get by (for more on this, see "How much does a trip to Hawaii cost?").
Perhaps then, yes, it is possible So that we are on the same page In the grand scheme of things, it's not a cheap place to visit. but that shouldn't stop you from finding ways to see the USA on the cheap.
Saving money on domestic US travel Travel advice for any destination
The United States is a huge country, and the dollar is stronger than most other currencies, so keep that in mind as you plan your trip. Therefore, I advise you to set very realistic goals in terms of both time and money.
Every foreign visitor to the United States should read this excellent article covering some mandatory background material. Learn as much as you can about things like this before you come so you don't have to spend any extra money on research.
Here are some pointers that can be applied to any type of trip in the United States and will help you save money along the way.
Moving Around: Join a frequent flyer program and use a credit card to earn airline miles You can easily earn enough points to pay for two flights if you start saving a few months in advance. Take advantage of a fantastic introductory offer when you sign up, though!
Volunteering with Worldpackers in major cities, making friends with people who have houses, staying with friends, and trying camping if you're going on a road trip are all great ways to save money on housing.
Although sleeping on the bus or in your car overnight is a great way to save money, it's not a viable option for everyone.
You should try to cook every meal and limit your alcohol intake as much as possible. What I've learned from my three years of travel For the past five years, food and rent have been the two largest expenses, but there are great ways to save money on both.
Let's delve into each of these areas.
How to cut costs on transportation in the United States
New York City is a great place to begin, and flights there are typically less expensive than those to other major US cities. If you're coming from the opposite direction, Los Angeles might feel the same.
New York City is a great jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the world. If you're looking for the most affordable domestic travel options, check out Worldpackers' recommendations.
Since bus (and train) tickets don't need to be purchased in advance, this kind of vacation gives you more freedom to go wherever your heart desires. Flights between major airports can be found for as little as , so that option is also worth exploring. Look into Southwest, and use a service like Kayak's fare alerts to know when prices drop.
Even though Greyhound is the most popular bus company in the United States, Megabus has a fare finder that will point you in the direction of inexpensive destinations. One more helpful resource is Comparabus, which displays all available bus companies that service your desired route.
Think about how you'll get around using public transportation and on foot when picking a city to visit.
By avoiding expensive transportation options like Uber and taxis in cities like Los Angeles, you can save money on your trip. One of the best (and free!) ways to get to know a city is by walking around and seeing what you find.
Using a CityPASS is another option for saving money on domestic travel in the United States. All of a city's top attractions are included in a single price. Locations such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, and others are covered. It can reduce starting costs by 30–40%.
Additional considerations for cost-effective American travel:
- Try to avoid flying on the weekend and holidays.
- Packing light can save you $30-$40 per flight. For trips lasting between one and two months, my go-to carry-on is a Cotopaxi duffel.
- Make use of buses, trains, and planes, and plan your route around major cities.
Where to look for quality low-cost lodging
The more time and freedom you have during your trip, the less it will cost. However, because of your extended stay, you can expect to pay more. If you have a free place to stay, you won't have to worry about this issue.
Because I like to save money when I travel between cities, I try to stay with friends whenever possible. When I'm in a big city, I frequently use the website Couchsurfing. Although hostels are uncommon in the USA, there are a few choices worth investigating.
It's also possible to participate in a volunteer program. Discovering the United States in this way is a fantastic, easy, and inexpensive option. Options on Worldpackers range from permaculture projects and farms to holistic centers and hostels.
The best way to see the world on the cheap is to plan your trip around volunteer work. You get to know locals, participate in activities, and learn about the area's culture without spending a lot of money.
Hawaii and other exotic tropical destinations need not break the bank. You never know who you'll run into on the road; staying or traveling with new friends could end up saving you a bundle on your trip costs.
As an added bonus, we've compiled a list of the five cities outside of New York that offer the lowest cost of living if you're planning a trip to the Big Apple.
Budget-friendly eating while traveling
Food is another significant expense when traveling and a crucial part of enjoying new environments. When you can't afford to splurge on a memorable dining experience, it's best to prepare meals at home.
Hostels and other volunteer projects in the United States can stock their kitchens with inexpensive ingredients thanks to the abundance of discount supermarkets in the United States.
One more option is to eat at restaurants (on a budget, of course).
Cheap fast food from McDonald's, Taco Bell, etc., isn't exactly good for you, but it's also not very healthy. can be a great option for a cheap meal while traveling. To save money, plan ahead and choose wisely, as fast food can easily cost more than cooking at home and as much as a nicer meal out.
The price of alcohol is often high. I agree that it's a crucial part of having a good time in life for the vast majority of people. But if you want to travel on a tight budget, you should limit your alcohol consumption to special events and find other ways to have fun.
Besides, take a road trip, where you can both save money and create lasting memories.
Another way to travel around the United States on the cheap is to take a road trip, either by borrowing a car and splitting the gas costs with a friend or by splitting the cost of renting a car with a group of people. RoadTrippers is my go-to travel planning app because it makes it so simple to find lodging, activities, and routes for any kind of vacation.
This is a great, flexible, and inexpensive way to see the United States. Natural areas, the coast, and outdoor pursuits of your choosing are all fair game.
Volunteering is a great way to meet people and hit the road together if you don't know anyone with a car in the United States or don't have one yourself. Additional options include:
- Ride-sharing groups like Road Trip Buddies USA 2021 and Friends Across America can be found on Facebook.
- Connect with other nomads and strike up conversation by exchanging Instagram messages.
This is how I've made some of my best van-dwelling friends and met interesting people overall. When making plans, it's something to consider, but it doesn't always pan out.
There are risks involved in ridesharing, hitchhiking, and meeting strangers, so it's important to stay alert, tell others what you're up to, and trust your intuition.
Many people who choose this way of life, in my observations, are looking to connect with others who share their passions and are open to exploring the world for brief periods of time.
In addition to being a convenient mode of transportation, traveling by van is an excellent way to cut costs. You can save money by preparing your own meals at home, avoid paying for parking (if you plan ahead), and enjoy greater freedom.
Using free camp-sites, cooking your own food, and avoiding paying for parking in major cities are just a few of the many ways you can save money by driving across the United States on your next vacation.
A car relocation service is another option. These have stricter deadlines, but can be a fantastic way to make money while traveling.
I've gone on camping and national park visiting road trips around Oregon and California on multiple occasions. Camping is a great way to see the world on a budget and spend quality time with friends. Beautiful landscapes, metropolitan areas, and national parks are all visible. If you want to visit more than a couple of national parks, I recommend getting a national parks pass and using this list of the 15 best national parks in the United States as a starting point for your planning.
- SpotHero is your go-to for finding parking for free in major metropolitan areas.
- Overnight parking is free at Walmart.
- Camp for free in National Forests, State Forests, and BLM Lands. Look it up on Google to make sure you know the specific rules that apply to your case.
One can get to the United States on a tight budget in a variety of ways. The United States isn't exactly a budget-friendly vacation spot, but savvy travelers can find plenty of ways to save money while there.
Your best bet is to experiment and see what works for you, but maybe some of these suggestions will help you realize your ideal outcome.
Finally, if you're not from the United States and want the complete lowdown on everything there is to know about living in the USA, I highly recommend checking out this It's a great resource to consult before booking a trip, as it offers advice on where to go, when to go there, and what holidays to keep in mind.
Exciting opportunities abound for exploring the United States. You could take buses and Worldpackers from city to city, rent a car with friends to camp and see national parks and the best beach getaways in the United States, or plan a more focused trip and extend your stay in one place through volunteer work. I wouldn't be surprised if you tried all three. Why not
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