If you have adventure coursing through your veins, the worst thing you can do is let your budget hold you back.
You want to see it all, but you don’t want to take out a second mortgage to do so.
You’re not alone. But the good news is that you can see the country without blowing your budget.
Here are some tips for exploring the United States on a budget:
Use your vehicle
If you take a flight to every destination, you’re going to blow your budget before you get to the third destination.
Instead, consider turning your vacation into a road trip.
This is going to be the most convenient and least expensive options as long as you avoid any of the major road trip pitfalls. Before you embark on your journey, make sure to service your vehicle. This means you should get an oil change, check your tire pressure and tread, and get your fluids topped off. If you know something needs to be fixed, get to the mechanic before your trip. If you break down on the road, you’ll spend a lot more than if you took care of your car proactively.
And while you’re on the road, pay attention! Avoid distracted driving tickets and accidents by keeping your eyes on the road at all times.
If you can’t use your vehicle, look into traveling by train or bus. These options are typically cheaper than airfare.
The best way to save money is to keep your trip flexible. If you decide to travel by train or bus, you can start with those routes to decide which areas of the country you’ll see.
And you may also be able to save money by bidding on your hotel at the last minute with a service like Priceline. Just keep in mind that there are pros and cons to doing this:
- Pros – You can save money on the room and avoid late cancellation fees if you’re running late on your route and can’t make your pre-arranged hotel in time.
- Cons – Depending on the location and its popularity, you may end up spending a lot more by booking at the last minute.
- Tip – If you’re going to book your hotel at the last minute, don’t wait until the literal last minute. Instead, look for cheap places to stay a day or two before you’ll need the room. This way, you’ll be able to broaden your search because you’ll have more driving time before check-in.
Focus on free
As you plan your stops, focus on free or cheap attractions. State parks are typically a great option because they’ll allow you to see the natural beauty of a location. You can also search for free festivals or street fairs in any area. Or you may just want to do an internet search for “free things to do” in any given area. You may be surprised at how much fun you can have without spending money.
Eat supermarket food
Typically, you’ll save some money when you purchase prepared food from the supermarket versus buying food at a restaurant. Dollar menus at fast food places may be an exception, but those aren’t always the most nutritious choices.
While you’re at the grocery store, stock up on water and snacks. These things can really eat away at your budget when you buy them at tourist traps.
Are you a fan of traveling on a budget? What are some of your best tips?
Guest Author Bio: Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.