Some people only like to travel occasionally and prefer to stay in one place fairly consistently. However, if you’re the type of person who loves traveling and would like to see the entire country in one long journey, there are cost-effective ways for you to take such a trip. If you’re willing to remain open about your options, here’s how you can travel on a shoestring budget and still see every point of interest in the United States.
Skip the Hotels
The other major expense in traveling around the country is in paying for your lodging with hotels costing up to $100 or more per night in most major cities. There are a few things you can do to combat these costs and help extend your budget. You can rent camping space for just a few dollars a night if you feel like roughing it with a tent and some basic camping gear. Alternatively, hostels, Airbnb, and private rentals all offer weekly rates that are far below the amount you would pay to stay in a commercial hotel.
Look Into Other Travel Options
There are plenty of other travel options if you determine leasing or buying an RV is outside of your budgetary limits. Traveling by train or bus may take longer, but they provide a more immersive experience by taking you along roads you might not otherwise see. They’re also cheaper forms of travel, allowing you to put more money away for other expenses. Since these forms of travel take longer, there will be more frequent stops. While you might see this as an inconvenience, it will provide an opportunity for you to see more locations in addition to your planned destinations. For this reason, some travelers find that riding a train or bus is more enjoyable.
Save on Dining
One of the reasons to travel and see other parts of the country is to taste different types of food. However, dining out every night can eat up your savings faster than you may realize, so you should limit this type of spending. One practice many travelers follow is to prepare their own meals five or six nights a week. On one or two evenings, they splurge on restaurant dining to experience the cuisine in the city they’re visiting. If your accommodations don’t include a kitchenette, you can buy an electric or propane-powered range for preparing your meals. Alternatively, look for healthy eating choices that don’t need to be cooked. You’ll find that buying groceries is significantly cheaper than dining out in any city.
Consider Using an RV to Travel
Driving a car or truck can cause you to hemorrhage cash on your trip, forcing you to return home sooner than expected. Instead of considering this option, look for more cost-effective alternatives. One option might be to buy or lease an RV. While you will still face the costs of insuring and fueling an RV, the vehicle will also double as your lodging quarters. This eliminates the need to stay in hotels. When you buy a new RV queen mattress, you’ll even enjoy the same quality of sleep you would experience in a hotel.
Skip the Guided Tours
While a charismatic guide can enhance your experience on a guided tour, such experiences can cost $20 or more per person. While that may seem like a small expense, it adds up as you visit various cities on your journey. That cost seems especially frivolous when you realize you can visit the same sites and discover the same historical facts via the mobile apps on your phone. As long as you have cell service and GPS technology at your fingertips, there isn’t any type of tour that you can’t recreate for free. Additionally, check local sources to find out about free attractions and events in any city you’re visiting. Many cities that thrive on tourism offer free events to attract visitors who will spend money in their shops and restaurants.
Even a short trip can become more affordable when you explore alternative options. The money you save on lodging and travel can be used to extend your dining budget or it can be saved for a rainy day. Looking for additional budget-friendly options can help you maintain a more sustainable lifestyle on the road.