Have the bright lights of Vegas and NYC, the sheer amount of American food you want to eat (don’t lie to yourself) and the activities you want to do got your bank account telling you to calm down, and choose a wallet-friendly destination? Well, we’re here to tell you that you can have your cake (or oversized burger) and eat it too, because believe it or not, you can do the USA on a budget. Here’s how.
Get a national parks pass
National parks are an amazing way to spend the day, from hiking to swimming and wildlife spotting, right through to snapping photos that make your Instagram followers green with envy. So save some dollar and get an annual online pass for $80 that covers entrance and basic campsite fees. America is full of incredible national parks – Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Park to name a few, so go see ‘em!
Couch surf or camp
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Moving on from that first point, where the national parks pass gets you basic campsite fees, maybe downgrade on that 4* hotel you were thinking of. Channel your inner Bear Grylls and go camping, or try out couch surfing, which is incredibly popular over there.
Rent a campervan/car
This is the perfect time to go on your all American road trip, because gas is cheap as chips over there (maybe even cheaper!). According to CNN, the national average for a gallon is at a seven year low, and in some states you can get a gallon for as low as $1.39 (approx $1.75 AUD). At the moment the average in Australia is about $1.30 FOR A LITRE. Wait there Route 66… we’re coming for you!
Jump on all the free activities
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There’s so much sightseeing to do in America (so much room for activities!), and a lot of it is free. You’ve got the famous Central Park in New York where you can do your best movie star impression (or go and spot the stars), the free Staten Island Ferry, which saves you the $12 it would usually cost you to see the Statue of Liberty, or the New York Public Library, which is like cat nip to book worms! New Orleans, where live music is everywhere, and they’ve got an Arts District and a French quarter which you can enjoy for next to nothing (we say next to nothing as you might just want to pick up a bite to eat there). Washington DC has historical monuments, memorials, and the amazing National History museum too, which are all free of charge. Looking for ways to enjoy those summer nights? Try out LA’s KCRW summer concerts through June to August, or ‘Moonlight Movies on the Beach’ at Alfredo’s. Do you get what we’re saying here? SO MUCH FREE STUFF.
Eat fast food
This is kind of a no brainer, and something you’ll probably want to do here anyway. Now we’re not saying eat as much as that guy did in Supersize Me (3 Maccies meals a day for 30 days? No
thank you!) but it’s definitely cheaper than forking out for a restaurant. Have a look at the many food trucks around the cities – street food is always great for budgets, or just go to the
supermarket and buy your own stuff.
Go in Fall/Spring
Prices won’t be as hiked up as they are for tourists in the summer. You’ll tend to get better deals on all sorts, from accommodation to tours. Plus, look how pretty fall is!
Plan your trip
If you’re really wanting to stick to a strict budget then think about properly planning your trip, instead of going with the idea of spontaneously jumping from place to place. If you’re doing a road trip, plan it, if you’ve got a certain budget, allocate it. If you know when you want to book your flights, book them in advance and take advantage of lower fares or deposits. We have a
$99 deposit that you can pay to secure your flight, and then you just make sure you pay the balance ten weeks in advance of the trip. Time to get savvy people.