Do you want to travel and explore the United States without spending a fortune?

I have got some awesome tips to share with you on how to travel cheaply in the USA without compromising on the fun!

You won’t believe the amazing adventures I have had while traveling the USA on a budget. I have explored so many hidden gems and picked up some fantastic insider tips along the way. I have shared all these useful traveling tips and strategies in this article.

By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have plenty of money-saving tips and practical strategies to explore the USA on a budget.

Let’s dive in!

Planning: The Key to a Budget-Friendly Trip

Proper planning is the key! So, before you head out on your trip, make sure to plan everything in advance, including comparing and selecting transportation, and accommodation options.

Don’t worry, we will discuss these options in detail later in this article.

1. Set Your Budget

a girl planning her budget for travel.

First of all, figure out how much cash you have got for the trip. Then split that budget into categories like transportation, accommodation, food, and activities.

By planning ahead, you will know exactly how much budget you have got to spend and where to spend it.

My advice?

Always aim to plan your trip within 85% of your budget. For example, if you have $1000 in your budget, plan your trip with $850. That way, you will have some extra cash in case anything unexpected arises.

Smart move, right? 😉 

2. Consider Off-Season Dates

a calendar with off-season dates highlighted

When you are planning your trip, avoid going during peak tourist times, like big holidays or popular vacation months. Prices for hotels, flights, and attractions are usually crazy high on those days.

Try to pick off-season dates for your trip.

That way, you will save money and have a less crowded travel experience.

Handy Tip: Avoid weekends and pick weekdays for your adventure. Weekdays usually have better budget-friendly travel and accommodation options.

3. Travel Overnight

a girl sleeping comfortably on a train.

Here is another tip to consider when planning your trip, go for overnight buses or trains. You can snooze 😴 while you move!

It’s awesome, because you get more time to see stuff during the day, and you save money on an extra night’s stay.

Transportation: Smart Choices for Budget Travel

It’s a good idea to check out different options when planning your transport. That way, you can make smart choices that fit within your budget.

Let me tell you about some options to consider:

4. GoEuro.com: Must-Have App for Budget Travelers

must-have app for budget travelers - goeuro

You gotta check out this awesome app – GoEuro. It’s a must-have for budget travelers, like us!

This app gives you all the options for air, rail, and road travel, along with their prices. So, you can easily compare and find the most suitable one for you.

No more expensive surprises, yay!

5. Blabla Car

an app to carpooling for budget traveler.

If you want a more personal travel vibe, check out BlaBlaCar for carpooling. It hooks up drivers with extra seats for passengers going the same way. You can split the costs and make new friends during the trip. It is one of the cheapest ways to travel by car.

Cool, right?

6. Cheap Flights & Special Deals

a person searching cheap flight online for traveling.

If you wanna save money on domestic flights, try being flexible with your travel dates and book early. Keep an eye on budget airlines and special deals that give big discounts on tickets to different places in the USA.

That way, you can score some sweet deals and have more cash left for fun stuff during your trip!

Related: 29 Best Websites to Plan a Trip

7. Traveling by Bus

image of a bus on a scenic route

Taking the bus can be a fantastic idea when you are planning a long trip! Some cool companies like Flixbus, Greyhound, and Busbud offer cheap tickets and take you to so many places across the country.

Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to travel cross country when you plan to travel with family. So, if you are on a tight budget, these buses are definitely the way to go!

8. Traveling by Train

a traveler girl waiting for train.

Taking a train can cost more than going by bus, but don’t worry! It can still be affordable if you do some smart planning and book your tickets early.

Look into regional passes or Amtrak deals because they can save you a lot.

So, keep an eye out for those great deals!

9. Travel on a Bike if Solo

solo traveling on motorbike.

Do you know what’s cool for solo travelers? Biking!

It’s a great way to save money on transportation. Lots of cities in the USA are bike-friendly, and they have special lanes just for bikers. Plus, some places even offer bike-sharing programs, which is super convenient.

10. Renting a Bike: A Budget-Savvy Option

a person renting a bike with affordable pricing

Renting a bike is another smart and money-saving idea to explore cities and their surroundings!

Lots of urban places have bike rental services, and they charge reasonable rates.

So, you can easily get around short distances without spending money on fuel or public transport fares.

Accommodation:

When it comes to finding a place to stay, consider exploring choices like house rentals and volunteering opportunities.

Let’s take a closer look at these options!

11. Find Cheap Hotels & Guesthouses 

budget traveler finding cheap hotels to stay.

When you are hunting for cheap places to stay, start by checking out websites like Hostelworld.com. You can compare prices, read reviews, and find budget hotels that are in good locations.

Also, take a look at local guesthouses and homestays too.

Sometimes, they have cozy and affordable options that big booking websites do not show you.

12. Renting a Room in a Real House

a girl getting room keys from houseowner.

Have you ever thought about staying in private rooms rented out by locals through sites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing?

It’s super cool because you get a one-of-a-kind experience, and guess what?

It’s often cheaper too!

So, why not give it a shot on your next trip? You might just love it!

13. Travel with a Group

a group of friends traveling together

Traveling with friends or other folks can save you a ton of money. All you gotta do is get a bunch of pals together and split the cost of accommodation.

It’s a fantastic and social way to explore the country and keep some cash in our pockets.

Easy peasy, right?

Let’s go on an adventure together!😄

14. Volunteer or Work Exchange

a volunteer getting a hotel room key from hotel reception.

Some cool organizations give you a place to stay if you help them out part-time or volunteer. You can find these opportunities in hostels, farms, or eco-lodges. Or you can also explore WorldPackers to find some.

It’s like, you use your skills or time to help them, and they hook you up with accommodation.

15. Camping

a traveler enjoying camping in a park.

Camping is a cool idea to save money on accommodation. Yep, just head out to national parks or campgrounds and embrace the great outdoors.

Camping not only saves you cash but also lets you get close to nature and have an awesome time!

Sightseeing & Activities: Budget-Friendly Ways to Explore

Now, let’s talk about how we can save some money while exploring the amazing wonders.

16. Take Advantage of Free Attractions

people enjoying a free attraction.

Lots of cities and towns have awesome free stuff to do, like public parks, museums that have free admission days, street festivals, and cool art exhibitions. Also, check these 23 National Parks with zero entrance fees and there are some parks where other activities along with camping are also free.

If you plan your trip around these freebies, you can soak in the country’s culture and beauty without spending much cash.

Easy on the wallet, big on the fun! 😎

17. Get Recommendations from Locals: Insider Tips

a traveler girl talking to a locals.

Do you know? Locals are the ultimate insiders when it comes to cool places and cheap spots that only a few tourists know about. When you chat with them, just ask them where they like to go, eat, and relax.

Their tips can take you to real, authentic stuff, local restaurants with yummy, but not expensive, food, and hidden gems that won’t cost you a fortune.

It’s like having a free guide to the city! 😉 

18. Get a Federal Recreation Pass

 type of federal recreation passes.
Image Source: Recreation.gov

If you love the great outdoors, you gotta check out this awesome thing called the “Federal Recreation Pass”. It’s a smart investment for people who want to explore nature.

This pass lets you get into a bunch of cool places like national parks, forests, and recreational spots all over the USA without spending too much money.

Food and Dining: Delicious Meals on a Budget

In this section, we are gonna check out some cool tips and tricks for eating yummy food. And we don’t want to sacrifice taste and experience while trying to save some bucks!

Let’s dive right in and see how we can do this!

19. On-the-Go Eats: Picnics & Food Trucks

travelers having food from a food truck.

Consider packing a picnic with fresh items from local stores. Gather some fruits, veggies, and snacks. This way, you can enjoy a delightful meal.

Additionally, keep an eye out for food trucks, street vendors, or markets that offer delicious and affordable meals.

These food spots offer a wide variety of tasty cuisines to try.

20. Happy Hour & Daily Specials

a signboard of happy hour timing at a restaurant.

Do you know about happy hour and daily special deals at restaurants and bars?

Well, they are awesome!

These cool deals happen when it’s not super busy, and they can cut down on your dining costs.

Look for places that give discounts on appetizers, drinks, or meals at specific times of the day.

It’s like having a regular dining experience but way cheaper! yay.😋

21. Cook Your Meals

a traveler cooking in a hotel's kitchen.

Lots of places to stay, like hostels and motels, have these cool communal kitchens. You can cook your food there!

It’s way cheaper to buy groceries from local supermarkets and farmers’ markets than always eating out.

So, you save money and get to cook up your favorite dishes!

Money-Saving Techniques: Sticking to Your Budget

Let’s close with some cool money-saving tricks. These tips will help you stick to your budget.

Check them out!

22. Use Travel Credit Card: Earn Rewards & Cashback

a person using a travel credit card.

Travel credit card is a game-changer. You can earn reward points or get cashback on every single thing you buy, like flights, hotels, and even your everyday expenses.

You should check out different travel credit cards to find the ones that offer the best rewards and benefits that match your travel style.

23. Signing Up for Discounts

a budget traveler signing up for travel discounts.

Here is another money-saving tip, use discounts and special offers!

Sign up for newsletters, loyalty programs, and travel websites. They will send you awesome exclusive deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and attractions. Keep an eye on your inbox!

Oh, wait, If you are a student, senior, or in the military, check out those sweet discounts too!

Pro Tip: Whenever you are booking flights or hotel rooms, make sure to search for promotional codes. They can bring your costs down and save you some serious cash!

24. Art of Bargaining 

a person negotiating prices at a hotel reception.

If you are good at negotiating, you should use your skill.

Whether you are bargaining at local markets, dealing with street vendors, or trying to get a sweet deal on long-term accommodations, It can save you a bunch of money!

Show them what you have got! 😎

Wrap-up

Alright, here is the conclusion on how to travel cheaply in the USA.

It’s doable if you do it right. Just plan your trip carefully, set a budget, and make smart choices for transportation and where to stay. You can save money and still have a blast exploring awesome places.

Now, I want to hear from you.

Which tip or strategy do you like the most?

Do you have any other great tips to share?

Please share it in the comments. Your comments will help others plan their budget-friendly adventures.

So, comment now, and let’s build a network of money-wise wanderers!

Safe travels and I can’t wait to read your comments.


FAQs – How to Travel cheaply in the USA

What is the cheapest way to travel around the USA?

The cheapest way is to use budget transportation options like buses, carpooling services, or trains. Plan your trips during off-peak seasons for even more savings.

What is the cheapest way to travel from state to state?

Traveling by bus or carpooling through services like BlaBlaCar can be the most economical option. Look for discounted fares and off-peak travel times to save even more.

What is the cheapest day of the week to fly to the USA?

Typically, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to have lower airfares due to reduced demand. Avoid weekends and peak travel times for cheaper flights.

Is it cheaper to drive or fly across the US?

It depends on factors like fuel costs, vehicle efficiency, and distance. Generally, for shorter distances or with multiple passengers, driving can be cheaper. However, for longer distances, flying might save time and potentially money.

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Timantha Voyager is a well-traveled writer with numerous stories to share. Having visited many places, she has gained insights into various cultures and skillfully brings those adventures to life in her writing. Timantha is renowned for her practical tips and relatable stories, making her a go-to guide for both travel enthusiasts and aspiring writers. Her genuine commitment to real experiences establishes her as a respected voice in the world of exploration and discovery.

3 Comments

  1. Delbert Logan on

    Hey, thank you for sharing these amazing budget-friendly tips. I like tip #17 and will try it on my next trip.

    Additionally, I have a unique tip to share: participating in a travel exchange program, where you swap homes with someone from another location. This allows you to experience a new place without paying for accommodation. You can find people ready to swap their homes for traveling on the popular platform https://www.homeexchange.com/.

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