How To Travel The USA On A Budget

Travel can be expensive, but there are ways to make it cheaper.

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Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

How often do you dream about traveling the world?

You know, visiting dozens of cities, exploring beautiful national parks, and immersing yourself in a completely different culture.

Most of us consider travel to be an unrealistic fantasy that will never come to fruition. And so we never even think about the actions necessary to make it a reality. In the words of Seneca:

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

Having grown up in the UK teetering on the edge of the poverty line, I always believed that traveling the world was an activity that only the wealthiest people amongst society could afford.

Every single day throughout my childhood, I’d dream of traveling to the United States, and being able to experience such a beautiful country with my own eyes. But as you can imagine, the high cost of travel rendered my dream impossible.

I knew that something had to change. So I began researching how to travel the world on a budget and watched countless videos of people discussing ways of getting cheap accommodation.

As a result of my extensive research, I was able to fund a trip that took me to 13 states, 20 cities, and live on a budget of less than $75 a day.

So if you’re looking to travel the United States on a budget, here’s what you need to do.

One of the biggest reasons people consider travel to be expensive is due to a desire to visit big cities such as New York or San Fransisco. However, when you choose to visit more moderately priced destinations, you’ll discover that traveling around the USA can be reasonably inexpensive.

For example, while traveling around the United States, I visited cities such as Dallas, Philadelphia, and New Orleans so I could maintain a low cost of living each day.

When planning a trip around the USA, take a moment to look at the average cost per day in each city, and use that data to create a route that fits within your budget.

I always used to believe that planes were the best method of transport to get from one city to another. However, I’ve since learned that air travel can have devastating effects on both the environment & your bank account.

So instead of making countless trips to the airport and spending hundreds of dollars per flight, a better solution is using coaches & trains for any short-distance trips.

I’ve found that if you’re flexible with dates, traveling by coach can be an extremely cheap way of visiting another city on a budget. For example, traveling from New York to Boston can cost as little as $9.99 with operators such as Megabus.

Although traveling by bus isn’t a luxurious experience (in comparison to some airlines), it’ll undoubtedly allow you to visit more destinations at a lower cost.

If you’re hoping to save money on accommodation while traveling around the United States, consider staying in alternative types of accommodation, instead of hotels.

For example, you can get a private room on Airbnb for as low as $40 a night in a lot of cities.

Alternatively, If you’re in California, I’ve found that Podshare is an excellent way of maintaining a low cost of living in places such as Venice & Hollywood.

During the planning stage of your trip, consider looking at alternative forms of accommodation such as Hostels, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and anything else that may allow you to reduce the cost of accommodation.

Because when you’re able to save significant amounts of money each day, you’ll quickly realize that travel is more affordable than you think.

A study conducted by Forbes found that it was approximately five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home. Quoting the article:

“At over $20 per serving on average, a restaurant delivered meal is almost three times as expensive as a meal kit and five times as expensive as cooking at home from scratch.”

So it’ll come as no surprise to learn that continually eating out at restaurants can significantly increase the cost of a vacation. So a better solution is shopping for food at a local grocery store and cooking from your accommodation (whenever possible).

I’ve discovered that when you’re willing to change the way you travel, visiting new destinations can transform from a dream into reality. In the words of Jeff Calloway:

“A lifestyle change begins with a vision and a simple step.”

Remember: If you want to travel around the United States, all you need to do is identify your most significant expenses and find ways to reduce the cost.

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