Traveling across the country seems like a pipe dream or a bucket list item that will only be achieved with years of planning and saving. While planning is crucial in the attempt to travel across America, this journey doesn’t have to be postponed in order to collect years’ worth of savings. There are a variety of different methods at the average Jane and Joe’s disposal that make traveling cross-country easy and wallet-friendly. The eager traveler can plan this trip right now and be on their way in a manner of months. Traveling across the U.S. is not only feasible but readily attainable if you have a budget plan.
Here are at least ten ways to travel across America if you’re on a tight budget.
10 Skip the Hotel
It goes without saying that hotels are expensive. And depending on the time of year or your destination, the prices can be astronomical. The average cross-country trip takes about a week to complete (if you’re only driving). Obviously, in that amount of time, you’ll need to settle down to get some shut eye.
Instead of going to a hotel, pick a local Air Bnb or a hostel. The further in advance you plan these stays though, the cheaper they will be. Just like hotels, if you decide to book something last minute, the rooms are bound to be full or noticeably more expensive. If you plan your trip accordingly and map out all koi your stops, you can get a decent Air Bnb for $50 a night or less.
9 Choose Your Excursions Wisely
Traveling across America is all about the experience. And part of that experience is getting a bit of feel for the local life in various states, as well as indulging in some tourist excursions. Be diligent in choosing your excursions, as these will be the priciest aspects of your journey.
A theme park can sound fun if it’s nearby, but dropping $100 or more on overpriced carnival food and roller coasters isn’t the best method of traveling if you’re on a budget. Try to stay under $100 a day between your excursions, food, and travel.
8 Find Free Stuff
Save the theme parks and casinos for separate traveling endeavors. While you are traveling across the country, try to find free activities to indulge in. Museums are typically free (or at least cheap) forms of entertainment, plus you’ll be learning about the local area.
The beach is another typical budget-friendly stop, and no two beaches will ever look the same. Have a picnic, take part in a scavenger hunt, or simply find some self-guided park tours.
7 Stay Away From The City
While the city can host easily accessible food and entertainment, on average, the city is going to be more expensive. A $5 Bud Light in a small Florida town will cost you $9 in Orlando simply due to higher taxes and the tourist district.
This is true for other areas in the U.S. such as New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. You might want to hit all the hot spots on your long-winded trip, but it won’t do your budget any favors.
6 Happy Hour
If drinking is a part of your epic traveling journey, happy hours are going to be your best friend. However, make sure to do some research beforehand. Most bars and restaurants host happy hours, but many are restricted to certain times and days of the week. It will be more difficult to find happy hour specials on the weekend, and smaller bars might not have the funds to offer happy hours at all.
Brush shoulders with some of the locals and find out which places have the best happy hours and be sure to drink responsibly if you’re driving!
5 Public Transportation
If you aren’t renting or using your own vehicle to travel, then research on public transportation is going to be vital. In fact, using this method exclusively to travel the country could save you big. With insurance and rising gas prices, taking a car across the country can easily raise your travel budget.
Public bus routes should be available in every city. You will just want to make sure they can get you from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time. Subways and trains are not available in every city, but they are amongst the cheaper ways to travel across the county. When planning your route, try to stick to states that have these travel options readily available.
4 Avoid Peak Times
Traveling costs are guaranteed to sky-rocket if you plan your U.S. travel journey during peak times. These seasonal blocks often coincide with the weather and breaks in the school season. This is the time of year when plane tickets and gas prices eagerly rise, which creates an issue with your budget-friendly trip.
The location will also be a factor in how these peak times are accommodated. For example, travels to tropical climates such as Florida and California will escalate during the winter months. This also falls during school winter break, when these locations are sure to be at the height of their busy seasons. Summer and early spring are often common times for travel for families, so you’ll want to avoid these months as well. The key time to travel is months in between these seasons such as February, May, or September.
3 The Point System
The point system can refer to a lot of things. These days you can earn rewards with just about any card, whether its for flights, food, or hotel stays. If you want to travel across America, it would help your budget to use these types of cards a year or so before your journey in order to accumulate reward points.
That way, you can cash in using your points instead of using cold, hard cash. Grocery stores offer this point system and collecting point with an airline credit card can save you hundreds on flight expenses. Some credit cards even offer points that can be redeemed for gas and entertainment.
2 Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking your own meals is the best way to save bundles of money while traveling the country.
Think about it: breakfast at the local diner can cost you anywhere between $5-20 a day! Meanwhile, you can buy $10 worth of groceries to cook at your Air Bnb for an entire weekend!
1 The Buddy System
Traveling alone can be a liberating experience, but it won’t be a cheap one. Traveling with a buddy our significant other across the country is a unique bonding experience. Plus, it will save you a ton of dollars.
The cost will be evenly split so that you can splurge on entertainment or a nice dinner here and there. It also ensures you are safe during your travels, which should be your number one priority when traveling across America.