Traveling is food for the soul and it is recommended that you travel often to relax, have fun, and experience other cultures. This way, you also get away from the stress and monotony of daily life. However, going on trips can be costly and it can easily eat up money that you have allotted for something else.
Well, traveling really does not have to cost an arm and a leg if you know how to come up with a budget and how to stick with it. Here are four tips to save money when you travel in the US:
1. Save on accommodations, but not on quality
A major part of your travel expenses will have something to do with accommodations. You really do not have to spend your nights in an expensive hotel room as there are so many other accommodation options. If you are traveling alone, you might want to try couch surfing, where you get to stay with a local resident for free.
There are web sites that can pair you up with a local who is offering his or her couch or room for single tourists to use. And in the United States, there are many families who would welcome you into their homes.
You could also check out Airbnb, where you can find homes, apartments, and rooms that are way cheaper than a hotel room, and sometimes way better in terms of quality, too. You can also check out national motel chains such as Super 8 or Motel 6, where room start at $60 a night. Don’t worry, these hotel rooms are basic, clean and quiet.
Also, if you want to rough it out, you might try camping for the night. Check out the area’s best national parks and look for an inexpensive campsite. Lastly, if you have hotel points from your credit cards, you can use that!
2. Eat on a budget
Even when you are traveling, you might want to cook your own meals. But if you do not have the facilities to do it, go check out online reviews. That is the best way to see (1) which restaurants are near you, (2) which ones serve delicious food, and (3) which ones are within your budget.
3. Get on a crowd trip
What is a crowd trip? Simply put, it is a crowdsourced trip, where you get people to share the costs of traveling, including bus rides, accommodations, tour fees, or entrance tickets. It could be anything: an event, a mountain trek, a camping trip, or a tour of a city’s haunted places. As long as there are expenses, you can share them with the entire group. And the bigger the group, the more chances for you to bring the cost-per-person down.
Another way to save while on a crowd trip is to get a special bus for you and your entire group. For instance, an entertainer bus rental or a tour bus rental can give you ample space on board. Some of these buses even have an onboard kitchen, shower, toilet, and sleeping quarters for up to 20 people.
That means you can save on hotel rooms, and if you bring your own ingredients, you can have a nice home-cooked meal on board. You get to save time too because you no longer have to stop the bus to sleep or eat.
4. Go sightseeing without taking your wallet out every time
There are several free events and free days at the country’s top museums and attractions. Check to see if you could, for example, get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for free when you visit New York City. Or see if there are events that do not charge or do not require ticket fees.
If you plan to go outdoors, you might want to buy a National Parks pass. For only $80, the pass gives you access to all the national parks and recreational areas maintained by the National Park Service. That’s huge savings considering that you spend at least $15 to get into one national park.
You also have city tourist cards that usually go for around $30 to $40. These cards give you access to a particular city’s attractions, museums, and discounts to restaurants. Or these act like a discount card for those venues that do not offer free entrance. Some city tourism cards even include free fares on public transportation.
These are the best ways to cut down on your travel costs. If you save on accommodation, food, transportation fare, and entrance tickets, you will be able to save a lot of money without really making your vacation dull and non-eventful.