How to Travel Cheap: 10 Tips for Traveling on a Tight Budget
Stuck in the same neighborhood or workplace with nowhere to go? Tired of the same people in the same old bar, restaurant, or mall? You won’t have to worry about your wallet if you knew where and how to travel cheap — sometimes the best travel spots are just a road trip away, you just have to be willing to get behind the wheel! Here is a guide on how to travel cheap — with the cheap places to travel to in the US that won’t break the bank.
How To Travel Cheap In the US
Now, trust us, it would be best to take the long route here. Skip the airplane and try the classic American cross-country road trip once more — it isn’t as bad as it seems, and you get to appreciate the country in a brand new light! While you might have your own car, we suggest renting one instead — renter vehicles are more fuel-efficient and will save precious money and gas, not to mention the space inside will allow you to bring the whole family to these cheap places to travel in the US.
If getting behind the wheel is not your jam, there are other modes of travel available to you. For one, you could get a train pass for just $186 — blogger Derek Low traveled around America using just the train, and said he wondered if people who fly across the country and never take the train are insane! Train rides in the US give you a “glimpse into the soul of America” that a road trip or airplane flight just can’t match.
While you’re on the road, stop by the classic American gas station — it is not as bad as it seems. This time around you will find that these stops become lifesavers, as they are stocked with plenty of american treats including home-cooked barbecue, self-serve ice cream, and a variety of classic candy bars. You’ll need to fuel up for the long trip just as much as your car does when you head out traveling the cheapest places in the US.
Bring your own groceries too — this will cut down your budget significantly. Get cheap hotels with refrigerators if you decide to rent a room, or go have a picnic out in a nice public park. The warm nights will have you looking up at the stars as you enjoy your trip around the US. You not only get to eat these affordable meals, but also enjoy the gorgeous American landscape. Having a cold beer during these times will leave you craving another trip around the United States.
If you consider eating out as getting the real taste of the city and its culture, avoid the tourist traps — go for the cheap, hole-in-the-wall eateries that offer a dining experience right alongside the locals. The cheap places to travel to in the US have plenty of affordable local cuisine, so do you research and look for these killer spots!
Now, you have the classic “sleep-in-the-vehicle” road trip option, or you can camp out to keep expenses low. These two options are ideal for the person who wants to make traveling the US as cheap as possible.
However, if you want a proper bed to sleep on, you do have options. You may have already heard of Airbnb, where you get to live like a true local in a residential abode. Chances are the house already has everything you need — the refrigerator, the kitchen, and the washing machine.
Or you could try Priceline and Hotwire — navigating through these are your best resources on how to travel cheap. Priceline has a “name your own price” system where you get to set your location, date, preferred hotel rating, and of course, price.
You’ve probably never considered CouchSurfing, but trust us again when we say that it isn’t as shady as it seems! It’s a hospitality and social networking service where you get to set homestays, offer lodging, and join events such as “Couch Crashes,” which is a fun way of meeting locals who will give you free tours of their hometown.
America The Beautiful Pass
If you really want to travel and see places across America, you could do it for less than $100 — through America the Beautiful pass. It gives you unlimited access to national parks and federal recreational parks all year long. If you’re a senior aged 62 or up, you are eligible for the version that gives you unlimited access for the rest of your life.
Cheap Places To Travel In the US
Now that you know how to travel cheap in the US, the next thing to consider is where you can travel for cheap.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Nothing is as iconically American as the Grand Canyon, which is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. If you haven’t been here yet, then what have you been doing? Not even a low budget should hold you back — this is one of the cheapest places to travel to in the US, which is ironic given that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is one of the Earth’s deepest gorges, and was carved out over the course of the last 6 million years by the Colorado River.
Not only does the Grand Canyon offer the most scenic views, but it is also budget-friendly as well. Camping at the Trailer Village RV Park costs less than $50 per night. There is also Mather Campground and Desert View Campground at the South Rim. You won’t have to worry about booking a room at one of these luxurious hotels near the Grand Canyon.
Additionally, you can have a picnic at these locations, or try eating off the beaten track at the Maswick Lodge Food Court.
While living in the capital Washington DC isn’t cheap itself, the museums are — some even offer free entry! There are 19 Smithsonian museums that charge no admission fee, so you have a lot to see in a day without having to spend money.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is the “Crown of the Continent”, with remnants of glaciers from the ice age. It is the number one place to hike in America. Hike through trails as easy as the Trail of the Cedars or take on the challenging Grinnell Glacier. Swim in some of the 700 lakes with numerous nearby waterfalls.
Located on the border of Canada and the United States, Glacier National Park lies at the headwaters flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
This is one of the cheap places to travel in the US that is fun for the family. Take your children to see birds, bears, crocodiles, fish, monkeys, and other animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo with no admission fee! There are also spots like the Lincoln Park Conservatory, National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Smart Museum to teach them culture. For your meals, the Chinatown and Greektown offer cheaper food than the restaurants located downtown. Wind down after a long day by watching the free firework show located at Navy Pier.
Here they offer a really cool deal called the “everyone eats free package” at Busch Gardens, which includes a hotel of your choice from selected partners, three free visits to the Busch Gardens Williamsburg, free entry to the Water Country USA in season, free parking, and three free meals (entrée & non-alcoholic drink). If this package isn’t enough to lure you in, know you could save $100 if you book before June 1 for visit dates between May 16 and September 9.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is one of the cheapest places to travel in the US if you want to have a memorable family trip. Walking through the streets is a beautiful experience, as the city offers unique architecture like no other.
Cruise through the Mississippi River on the Algiers ferry that has been around since 1827, and see the extravagant visuals that New Orleans has to offer. Then try cheap local delicacies for lunch, such as the crawfish that costs $10 per plate and French Quarter beignets for $5.
If you want a trip that the family will remember, the Ghosts of the French Quarter costs only $25 per person. Learn about the city’s history here — just make sure you don’t get spooked!
One thing is for certain: going to the cheap places to travel in the US doesn’t have to scare you money-wise. There are many cheap options and places in the US that will make traveling there both affordable and fun-filled.