How to travel around the US in style when you’re on a budget

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Are you considering travelling to the United States? Have you been tempted by the epic road trips, the bright lights of Las Vegas or the hustle and bustle of New York City? The US has National Parks that are overflowing with many great attractions, beaches and hotspots, and the country is also rich in culture, authentic food and music. So how can you explore the US when you’re on a budget? Here are some travel hacks to help you cut costs…

The United States isn’t really a popular holiday destination for people wanting to travel on a budget. However, with the right research and planning, there are many ways of saving money during your holiday, while still taking in all the sights that make it a memorable trip. The following tips will help you make the most of your trip to America, especially if you are travelling on a budget.

THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION

When you’re planning your trip there are so many things to consider. You may be tempted to see major sights like NYC, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas and if you are looking for cheap accommodation affordable food and free sightseeing, all you need to do is look for it. NYC and San Francisco have shared living apartments and affordable rooms to rent in coliving spaces available for travellers. Many of these cities also offer free sightseeing on particular days of the week, or half price specials. You will also find great food outlets on almost every street, where you can get authentic cuisine for a fraction of the price you would pay at a restaurant.

TRAVEL CHEAPLY

When travelling in the US, you should opt for bus and train rides to get to various destinations. They are a good option for saving money and you may even get good rates on pre-paid travel options. Greyhound is the largest national bus transportation method and serves almost 4000 throughout North America while Amtrak offers great value for money for coast to coast rail trips. And public transport isn’t JUST for travelling from one state to another – it’s also a good way to get to know that city that you are visiting and get a truly local experience.

FREE SIGHTSEEING

This may come as a surprise to many people, but you can sightsee for free in the US – from parks, to galleries and even events. Each United States city has numerous free attractions on offer. You can experience museums across the country at discounted rates with vouchers you can find online, and some even have free entrance to the museum during the week. There are plenty of markets and beaches that offer tourists a great way of getting a taste of local culture with festivals like River to River in NYC, the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco. You just need to travel at the right time of year to take in these free festivals so do your research!

HISTORY

Places like San Antonio, Savannah and Memphis are places with rich history and colourful street performers. Although NYC is not exactly cheap, there are many free attractions and low-cost activities like enjoying Central park, sightseeing in Times Square or taking the ferry to Staten Island. You could also visit museums like Museum of Modern Art, (fondly referred to as MoMA) which has free entrance on Fridays, and the Guggenheim, which offers Pay-What-You-Wish on a Saturday.

CAMPING

Hostels are not as popular option in the US as it is in Europe but if you want cheap accommodation you can always opt to go camping. You will find free or affordable campsites all over the country in national parks and forests. Many of them have decent facilities like toilets, showers and safe drinking water. Just don’t go ‘wild camping’ as you never know what animals you might encounter in the wild!

USE GROCERY STORES

When travelling on a budget it’s important to find meals that are affordable, as your food bill could really add up over the course of your trip. Places like Kansas City and Austin have farmers markets and grocery stores that offer cheap meals. It’s relatively cheap to plan your own meals in the US (cheaper than it is in Europe anyway) and if you have the facilities to prepare meals then it would be better to buy groceries and make your own meals daily. When you are out and about exploring the city, carry fruit, snacks and water with you. This will save you money on buying expensive food along the way.

Do you think you’ll be able to stick to your budget on your US road trip? As long as you do your research, it IS possible travel the US on a budget. Just plan your trip in advance and look for as many bargains as you can find – both on- and off-line. Let me know your tips for travelling in the US in the comments below – I’d love to hear how you saved money during your American adventure πŸ™‚



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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