There's no denying travel can be incredibly expensive. Whether it's high gas prices while on a road trip, or expensive accommodation and airline costs to battle with, what should put a smile on your face is there are ways you can save substantial amounts of money while on the move.
Whether you're drawn to the sandy beaches in Los Angeles, the bustling city life of NYC or a trip to Disneyland Florida is at the top of your list, there are ways you can keep costs down as you travel around America. And the money you do save can be put into enjoying your trip that little bit more! Here are some of our expert tips we're sure you're going to benefit from.
1. Plan and Book Travel Well in Advance
While it may sound like an obvious one, you'd be surprised how many travelers leave booking everything till the last minute. Although there is the chance of scoring a great deal days before you set off on your travels, it's always wise to plan and book your trip well in advance. Doing so gives you plenty more options to pick from.
Make sure to give yourself adequate time to research into transportation, activities, and accommodation. Whether you're going on a solo trip around America, a family vacation, or with a friend or two, you need to come together and discuss what everyone wants to get out of the trip, and what budget you have to work with.
2. Travel During Off-Peak Season
To save a great deal of money on travel, have you thought about exploring during off-peak season? While we appreciate lots of people like to head somewhere hot and sunny during the summer months, do expect to pay for this privilege. Another peak season in America is Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you travel during these periods, you'll be amazed at the price hikes!
Being flexible with travel is key. If you're able to travel at any time, it's wise to stick with the fall and spring months to get the best deals. Also, off-peak seasons aren't as busy. This means if you want to grab some photos for your Instagram story, you won't have to worry about huge crowds around you!
3. Use Public Transport
Whether it's getting to your destination or exploring around it, rather than forking out money on plane tickets and taxis, have you thought about opting for buses or trains instead? You'll find these two options can work out significantly cheaper. What's more, you can take in brilliant scenery as you move!
Wanderu are known for their cheap bus tickets. You can use their platform to sift through cheap bus tickets that cover hundreds of routes across the country. As long as you don't mind long-distance journeys, you could save so much money going on a bus journey rather than taking to the skies.
4. Consider Alternative Accommodation
When traveling around the United States, your first thought may be to rest your head at a standard hotel. While they obviously serve their purpose, you could find you're paying a fortune! Rather than opting for the first hotel you find, why not look for something more alternative?
Those on a shoestring budget should look into hostels. Many hostels offer rooms at a fraction of the price. However, you may have to share a dorm with others. If you like your privacy and don't fancy sharing with strangers, Airbnb could be the answer. There are plenty of hosts you can get in touch with who let their rooms or entire apartments and homes out. If you don't mind a bit of rough and ready, using Couchsurfing may be ideal. The clue is in the title with this one. You can simply kip on a generous host's couch, often for free!
5. Cook Your Own Meals
When you're exploring America, it's inevitable you'll want to dine out and sample cuisine. While we highly recommend you do this, dining out every night can quickly eat into your budget. The good news is you don't have to seek out restaurants all the time. Instead, why not cook your own meals?
You can visit a grocery store and pick up the essentials to whip up your own tasty meals. If you're staying in a hostel or Airbnb for example, they normally have kitchen facilities you can use. Those who don't have this luxury can still pick up snacks and hot food from grocery stores that will certainly be cheaper than a restaurant meal.
6. Visit Free Attractions
If you're going on a long trip around America, there are going to be tons of attractions and excursions you'll want to check out. However, rather than paying admission fees for certain ones, why not look for free activities you can partake in? These can be just as fun and you don't have to worry about spending a cent!
For example, many museums across the country ask for donations rather than an entry fee. If you love the great outdoors, it's completely free to go on a long walk. Those by the beach can do the same on the sand, as well as dip their toes in the sea. With a bit of planning and research, you're bound to find free attractions in towns and villages that welcome all age groups.
7. Use Discounts
Last but not least, make use of discounts and coupons when traveling! Whether it's for accommodation, food, or travel, there are plenty of offers you can take advantage of that could see you save some serious money.
Also, check whether your credit card has any discounts for travel-related expenses. Some coupons may offer a certain amount off your trip booking, whereas others can give cash back. Just make sure to read the terms and conditions before use.
If you're savvy with your money and factor in plenty of time to plan and prepare, there is a whole load of money you could save on your upcoming adventure. Shopping smart, knowing when to travel, opting for public transport over taxis, and even cooking your own food will mean you aren't burning through your money. Instead, you can keep hold of it while still getting the most out of your travel.