Budget Travel in the United States:
While the United States isn’t particularly known for cheap travel, it is absolutely possible to navigate this country without breaking the bank. Budget travel doesn’t have to take away from the experience of a city – oftentimes, it can actually enhance it!
Travel is the best way to experience the world, learn new things, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Beginning a trip with the right mindset (and preparation prior to leaving) is key to making the most out of traveling on a budget.
Tips for When You’re Considering Budget Travel
It is true that traveling on a budget requires a bit more thought beforehand. Luckily for you, the internet is a fabulous resource to compile all of the necessary information for a safe and enjoyable trip that allows you to get the most out of any city. When considering budget travel, research the following points:
Are there any hostels in the city at a cheaper price than a hotel or Airbnb? You would most likely be sharing a room with four to six strangers, but accommodation is among the most expensive parts of any trip so save a few dollars where you can. You may even make a few friends with whom you can split the costs of other activities later on!
Learn about the different types of food that the city is known for. Perhaps there are street food options that would allow you to grab something and go very cheaply! Always look at the menu before deciding on a restaurant to ensure the prices are within your budget.
Learn the city’s public transportation situation before you even set foot there. Knowing the subway layout or bus schedule will make you confident about where you’re going and will save you time and anxiety during your trip. Sometimes, booking transportation online is even cheaper than buying it in person – definitely do your research on this one!
Free Events and Museums
Plenty of cities offer free activities or events and dates when entry to popular museums is completely free. Look up the dates that you’ll be arriving beforehand and see where you might be able to visit. Research any events that the city might have going on and take part!
Choosing a popular city means many flights and airlines will be available, providing you with plenty of options. If you are looking to spend the least amount of money on flights, you’ll probably be waking up early or staying up late at night.
Top 7 Places to Visit in the U.S. When on a Budget
Let it be known there are many cities that are friendly to budget travelers! Listed are a few great options that span the United States.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans certainly has plenty of character that you don’t have to pay a penny to enjoy. Take in the history and architecture by strolling through the French Quarter where you will find an abundance of street performances and shops. Remember to stop by Cafe du Monde for famous beignets!
City Park Conservancy offers free admission for those who want to stay outdoors and wander for hours along trails and in gardens. The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is also located in the park and is completely free to enter.
Streetcars are an excellent way to navigate the city, offering a cheap yet unique option for travelers who are looking to save money on transportation.
Philadelphia is an easily walkable city that will allow you to visit a plethora of historic sites, such as the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, and Congress Hall.
Rooftop parks, like Cira Green, offer free events, parties, and large-screen movies for anyone to attend! A restaurant is also available to purchase drinks or burgers.
Snap a picture with the Rocky statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and climb the famous steps leading to the museum’s entrance, or visit Philadelphia’s LOVE sculpture, where tourists are often lining up to get a picture in front of it.
There are a handful of hostels to choose from if you’re staying in Boston, such as HI Boston Hostel, that will allow you to stay the night for under $100.
Enjoy the cobblestone streets while you follow the famous, 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail that will guide you on foot through the historic areas of the city, including the USS Constitution warship.
Remember to visit Mike’s Pastry before you leave for a sweet treat!
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Avoid summer crowds and save some money by visiting Grand Canyon National Park between the months of November and February. For an even more opportune viewing, choose to visit during the weekdays if possible.
Watch for closures depending on the time you go and keep an eye out for dates that allow free entry to the park.
Visit Destin, Florida in its off-season during the months of November through February if you’re trying to escape the crowds and find cheap tickets.
If you plan your trip in December, make sure to include Destin Harbor in your plans for the Destin Boat Parade, an annual event where boat owners decorate their boats with Christmas lights. The night even ends with a fireworks display!
New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, West Virginia
Camping is perhaps the cheapest route you can take when it comes to budget travel, and New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in West Virginia is the perfect place to pitch a tent.
The best part – there are no fees! All sites along the river are primitive and are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re planning your trip during the summer months, make sure you scope out a few options and come early to grab the best one.
Asheville, North Carolina
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation and are eager to explore the rolling mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, pick out a campsite along the Blue Ridge Parkway or in the Pisgah National Forest where you can spend time hiking and relaxing in nature.
If staying closer to the city better suits your endeavors, make sure you check out the many breweries and even go on a free, 45-minute tour! On Friday nights, make your way to Pritchard Park for a weekly ritual of music and dancing with the Drum Circle.
In conclusion, budget travel is a great way to see the country, meet new people, and learn more about yourself in the process. You can absolutely have the trip of your life without overspending but be prepared to do some research beforehand. Any of the cities mentioned above would be a fabulous choice!
Q: What are things to consider when looking into traveling on a budget?
A: In advance, make sure to check out the availability of hostels, public transportation schedules, menus for the restaurants you’re interested in, and free events or museum days in the area you’re intending to stay. Preparation will certainly save you money.
Q: Where should I budget travel if I want to learn more history about the United States?
A: Both Boston and Philadelphia will feed any flame you may have regarding history!
Q: What if I want to spend more time outdoors?
A: Try out Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona or New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia if you want to do some camping! Outside the city of Asheville, North Carolina also has some excellent spots.