The Ultimate Budget Guide to Your American Vacation

New York City

Are you thinking of traveling to America? You definitely should! With some of the most beautiful sites in the world and incredible experiences, there is so much to see, do, and explore. If you’ve looked around at booking already, you may be thrown off by the expenses, especially if you’ve already got a quote. However, it is possible to explore this great country on a budget. So, if you’re interested, keep on reading! We’re going to be discussing the ultimate budget guide to your American Vacation. 

Choose the right destinations

America is a very vast country, so there are many different towns and destinations to explore! If you’re wanting to save a bit of money, try and avoid the major cities, and opt to stay at a quieter destination. There is often so much to do and see, and they are much less busy. Also, if you do want to explore one of the bigger cities, you can just take a day trip! The accommodation will be much cheaper, and you can find hidden experiences that you would never have thought were possible. Check out these charming small towns across America, to get some inspiration before you start booking.

Boston

Save with public transportation

Hiring a car, taking taxis, and flying is always going to be more expensive than using public transportation. So, if you’re looking at heading from one place to the next, it’s definitely wise to check out some of the local bus routes. A personal favorite is the Salt Lake Express, that can take you just about anywhere! From Rexburg to Salt Lake Airport, or Blackfoot to Dillion. The options are endless. And they have a great website to help you plan your trip. It’s much cheaper than other alternate methods, and you can save your cash! You can also take a look at some of the different train routes, depending on where you are staying, but many of them are also quite expensive.

Go camping

Accommodation can add up to be one of the most expensive parts of your American holiday; however, there is a way to keep the cost at a minimum. While hostels aren’t as common in the US, there are thousands of beautiful camping destinations with your name on them. Most sites offer shared shower and kitchen services; however, you can choose to go off the grid as well. Check out these best camping sites in America to get yourself started! If you don’t want to give up regular accommodation, like hotels and resorts, make sure you utilize online deals, and check on popular websites like AirBnB or Booking.com

Search for cheap flights

If you’re coming from somewhere like Australia, for example, flights to America can easily cost a couple of thousands of dollars. While it might be tempting to book directly with big brands (especially because the flight time is so long), try and spend a couple of days doing your research first. Compare prices here, for example. Many sites offer discounted deals online, and often they fly just as well as any of the big brands. If you’re booking through an agent, as them to find you the cheapest flight possible. More times than not, they choose the most recognizable airlines to make flyers feel safer. We have an entire article about finding affordable plane tickets here.

Pittsburgh

Search for free experiences

Places like Disneyland, other theme parks, and sporting events will always cost a lot of money, so try and pick a few of your favorites to keep them at a minimum. Instead, opt for free experiences and attractions that won’t dig into your wallet. Most museums offer free entry on occasion, as well as many historic parks. Just keep your eyes peeled, and don’t forget to take advantage of any deals you find along the way. As of 2015, a survey ruled that places, including Washington, New Orleans, Houston, and Kansas City, are the best spots for free attractions. 

Make your own meals

America is known for its excellent and delicious super-sized food; however, it is expensive, and tipping is also a part of the American culture. Save some extra money, and keep going out to a minimum. By making your own meals, you’ll save hundreds of dollars. Grocery stores are wonderful in America, and if you’ve seen an episode of Extreme Couponing, you can see how great some deals can really be. Also, keep an eye out for local markets with fresh produce! It tastes fantastic, is wonderfully fresh, and is half the price.

Avoid peak travel times

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

Like almost any destination in the world, America has peak travel times, and the prices for nearly everything will skyrocket. Stay away from school holidays, as theme parks and other attractions will be packed with children. Try to stick to the in-between months, such as February, May, or September. Yes, the weather may be hot or freezing cold, but trust us when we say it will be worth it! Less time waiting and more time seeing! It’s a small sacrifice to pay. 

Travel with friends

While you might think that traveling with others will increase the price of your vacation, it’s actually far from the opposite! Not only will you get to have the time of your life, bonding, and sharing experiences with your friends or family, but it will save you thousands. This is because you can split the cost of accommodation, share meals, and take advantage of two for one deals. The money you save on the necessities can then be used to splurge on something you really want to do. If you want to calculate precisely how much you will need, check out this United States of America travel budget for more information.   

And that’s it! This was your ultimate guide to exploring America on a budget. It’s not as difficult as you may think! You just have to be vigilant, search for the best deals, and stay away from the most mainstream attractions. There is so much beauty to this country that you’ll be amazed at what you can find. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun! 

Bryan

Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won't let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.