Top tips for travelling the US on a budget

By: Nofar Ronen

The US tends to feature high on the bucket list of most travellers. With each state offering its own unique culture and sightseeing opportunities, it’s no wonder that those jetting off to the states are so eager to explore every last part of it. 

The fact is, traversing such a vast country can be pricey – and when it comes to finding great accommodation, reliable transport options, and plenty of attractions, the costs can really add up. So, how can you travel the US on a budget? Here are our top tips.

Consider travel and accommodation options

While driving is generally cheaper than flying, it can be worth researching domestic US flight options prior to your trip. If you book ahead of time, you’ll often get your hands on some great flight deals that offer serious savings. 

Alternatively, public transport is a great option if you’re going to be making plenty of stops, and can afford to spend a little extra time on the bus or train. The United States’ cross-country rail service covers 3,000 miles, and is considered to be a great US travel experience in itself, with plenty of sights to see along the journey.

Don’t forget to plan your accommodation ahead of time wherever you can – you don’t want to ever find yourself needing to pay for an expensive hotel room or rental apartment at the last minute. Consider hostels and motels, or look at pricier options ahead of time for cheaper deals on luxury accommodation.

Seek out affordable attractions

Most keen travellers will have an extensive list of must-see spots on their US itinerary. Some attractions will naturally be more expensive than others, and while you don’t want to miss out on a bucket list location, it can be helpful to prioritise the experiences that are most important to you. This will help you to avoid spending too much money on lots of affordable, but low priority attractions – and ensure that you have enough cash to see those big sights that you’re so desperate to experience.

Similarly, it’s worth researching activities that may not immediately jump out at you, but will allow you to have an authentic American experience. For example, volunteering activities can be a wonderful way to get closer to local communities, whilst also allowing you to spend time in a new environment.

Plan ahead

Sometimes travelling becomes expensive because we simply haven’t planned thoroughly enough, and face unexpected costs as a result. If you calculate the amount of money you’re going to need for your US trip ahead of time, you’ll not only have a better idea of your upcoming expenses, but will also be able to budget more effectively. This way, any fees that crop up are less likely to take you by surprise.

There are other ways you can plan your trip ahead of time in order to cut costs, too. You may want to think about any foods that you want to try throughout the course of your trip, and consider how often you’d be happy to cook at home, or head to a budget-friendly restaurant. If you don’t plan some of these small details ahead of time, you’ll likely find that it becomes easier to splurge on unnecessary treats – leading much of your travel budget to be lost in circumstances that could have been avoided.

Your dream holiday for a fraction of the price

When you make the decision to take the trip of a lifetime, you want to ensure that you’ve got enough money in the bank to really make the most of your time away. While it’s important to allow yourself enough room in your budget to have fun and experience a little luxury here and there, it’s absolutely possible to explore the US on a budget, and to have an unforgettable time away. By simply looking into your options and planning ahead of time, you can experience the US holiday of your dreams for a fraction of the price.

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