Want to know how you can travel America without having to empty your bank account? Here are some budget friendly options that will allow you to explore the United States and return home with money to spare.
Research is key when it comes to planning any trip, but especially when you are working with limited funds.
Check your options for all sources of travel whether by air, train, bus, or boat. Thanks to the magic of the internet, if you’re traveling by air, you can take advantage of amazing sites like Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, or Kayak. These will help you sift through the best deals, and a little extra effort will even help you find the best times to purchase the tickets you need.
If you want to travel by train, Amtrak is the way to go and is a cheap alternative to airfare. If you want to go one step further and travel by bus, Greyhound has some terrific deals that will allow you to see the country in an entirely different way.
Ships and ferries are great local options in places like California and New York. But if you’re looking for more, cruising to coastal parts of the country is always a wonderful alternative. Cruises can also be on the less expensive side if you catch a good deal, especially considering that accommodations and meals are included in your package.
Once you establish your mode of transportation you’re going to want to take a look at places to stay. Check out accommodation deals and make sure you include a list of hostels in the area. These are great alternatives to an expensive hotel or even a motel. On the upside you will also meet some very cool people who may be on a similar adventure.
If all else fails, find out if you have a friend of a friend who lives in the area where you’ll be staying. If you’ve got some friends who are willing to put up with you for a couple days, be sure to take them up on their offer and in return, be a kind houseguest. If you choose to stay in a hotel or a motel, check out AAA for discounts.
Once you reach your destination what do you plan to do on your limited budget? Search for options that offer free or cheap attractions. Even if you just take a walk around the town, you can enjoy the scenery, scout out neighborhood shops, and converse with locals. Depending upon where you are in America, there are plenty of historical locations worth checking out. Often, museums are open to the public and only ask for a donation (if you can spare it).
Also, pay attention to where and what you eat. You can avoid eating out by bringing things on your trip like soup or noodles. Make trips to the local supermarket and make your own meals. Get creative and plan to picnic in the commons.
If you absolutely must eat out, remember you can always take your food to go, and save a few bucks on tipping.
There’s an app for that:
There are some ingenious apps to help you in the planning and shopping wherever you go. AroundMe can help you decide where to go; and SnipSnap allows you to save any printed coupon to your mobile phone. Just snap a photo of a printed coupon and SnipSnap magically recognizes all the text and images, turning it into a mobile-ready offer. BuyVia compares prices at national and local outlets, and lets you set up alerts (including location-based) for products. If you’re at a store and unsure whether the price on the shelf is the lowest to be found, use the UPC barcode scanner to get an answer on the spot. BuyVia breaks down the tech talk for gift buyers and quotes reviews (including PCMag’s) in its product descriptions. It even makes recommendations on who to gift with your souvenirs.