No matter what type of traveler you consider yourself to be and what parts of the world you’ve explored so far, the United States’ appeal as a travel destination is undeniable. From stretches of desert, sandy beaches and fairytale forests to majestic canyons and snowy mountaintops, this one-of-a-kind country boasts a tremendous diversity of natural sceneries and panoramic landscapes across its vastness.
Then there are the vibrant cities with iconic skylines that have become a staple of urban development in the U.S. And let’s not forget the melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and races that forms the fabric of U.S. society. All in all, visiting the U.S. can turn into an experience of a lifetime.
But herein lies the problem. While many dream about exploring the Land of Opportunity and uncovering all its secrets, not everyone has the budget to turn this dream into reality. Traveling to and across the U.S. is known to be quite expensive, especially if you’re visiting from a different continent.
However, just because the U.S. is not as cheap as other countries doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to visit it. As long as you know how to plan your trip the right way, you can enjoy a fun travel experience in the U.S. even if you’re on a tight budget, and we might have a few tips for you in this respect.
Do your research and choose affordable destinations
As expected, the amount of money you have to pull out of pocket to travel across the U.S. largely depends on the places you intend to visit. For instance, if you want to spend most of your time roaming around smaller towns or exploring the natural world, you’re going to spend less than you would if you traveled to large metropolitan areas.
Obviously, big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New Orleans are extremely popular among tourists and you might also be tempted to follow the crowds to get a taste of American life. But there’s more to the U.S. than big-city living. There are many other interesting destinations that aren’t swamped by tourists and are less expensive to visit, so it would make a huge difference in terms of budget if you did a bit of research and chose more affordable places to include in your itinerary. And if you’re set on visiting a big city, there are ways to do it on a budget as well.
Look for cheap domestic flights
Since the U.S. is huge and the distance between different travel destinations can be quite long, flying is usually the best and fastest way to get from one place to another. Unfortunately, traveling by plane is not exactly cheap, especially when it comes to short and direct flights.
The good news is that there are many low-cost carriers operating routes to popular destinations across the U.S. from smaller regional airports, so if you start planning your trip in advance you might be able to find cheap domestic flights. Also, if you’re flying off airports in big cities like Boston you also have to plan your trip to the airport and look into Boston Logan Airport parking to save time and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Use alternative means of transportation
As convenient as it might be, traveling exclusively by plane can really eat into your budget. Since you don’t have much money to spare, using other means of transportation to get around can help you cut down travel costs considerably.
Although public transport networks in the U.S. are not the best in the world, you can combine bus and train routes to make your way from one place to another. You’ll obviously spend more time on the road, but apart from saving money, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy some scenic routes along the way.
Renting a car can also be a great idea as it gives you more freedom, allowing you to travel at your own leisure and make changes to your itinerary as you see fit, but make sure you do some shopping around before you choose a car renting company.
Take advantage of free activities
They say that the best things in life are free. Well, we don’t know what to say about that, but there are certainly plenty of activities and experiences you can enjoy as a tourist in the U.S. that don’t cost a dime, from famous attractions and landmarks to museums and walking tours.
You just have to know where to look to find them. A quick Google search can point you in the right direction and help you discover hidden gems in each specific destination. And if you want to save time and money on attractions that are not free, a CityPASS can help you stay on budget.
Be smart about accommodation
When travelling to a different country or city, most people choose to stay at hotels, motels or B&Bs as these are the most common types of accommodation. However, there are other less expensive alternatives that you might want to take into consideration.
You can try your luck at finding budget accommodation on Airbnb, which used to be the go-to platform for cost-effective vacation rentals before prices went up. you should also check out Couchsurfing, a service that gives travelers the possibility to stay in locals’ homes around the world for free.
Plan your trip off-season
Timing is also of the essence when money is an issue. It’s best to plan your trip to the U.S. off-season, when there’s less demand for tourism-related goods and services thus prices are generally lower. For example, if you travel in May or September, you have better chances of finding cheaper fares for flights to and from major cities like LA and LAX parking services.
Visiting the U.S. on a budget is definitely doable if you plan your trip carefully and use some money-saving tips. So, your dream of exploring this amazing country can come true if you’re truly determined.