How to Travel to the US on a Budget (+ Tips)

by | Feb 17, 2023 | Travel Guides, USA

The United States of America is packed with awesomeness! Portrayed widely in popular culture, we all know what America is all about. Glitz and glam in Los Angeles, bustling life in New York, and dramatic landscapes in Texas are a few things that make us excited about the United States. Moreover, speaking about travel, the US raises the bar high. Travel to the US and you will know why. The enchanting natural beauty, gorgeous national parks, thrilling outdoor adventures, and amazing food are hard to get over! 

A trip to the US is expensive, we admit. However, it is very possible to travel to the US on a budget. In this travel guide, we will show you how to explore the US on a backpacker budget. Check it out and get ready for your next awesome USA trip! 

Travel to the US on a Budget – Summary

  1. Do Trip Planning and Budgeting 
  2. Book Flight Tickets Early
  3. Travel During the Low Season 
  4. Look for Cheap Places to Travel in the US
  5. Use City Pass
  6. Find Affordable Accommodations
  7. Go Camping
  8. Cook Your Own Meals
  9. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
  10. Go for Road Trips
  11. Travel in a Group

Do Trip Planning and Budgeting

travel to the US

Let’s start with the most important part of a budget trip: Planning and budgeting! The duo helps you to commute effectively from one destination to another, get the best out of your destination, and predict the expenses you will need during the trip. Thus, it gives you a clearer picture of ways to press the budget and save more money. 

During the process, make sure to do thorough research. Find cheap deals, free places to visit, and cheap restaurants in the US. Moreover, you can spend more time browsing through accommodation websites to search for the cheapest place to stay. Therefore, planning and budgeting are budget travelers’ best friends.

Book Flight Tickets Early

US budget travel

Last-minute deals are a real thing, but not for flight tickets. Flights are usually cheaper if you book them way before your trip schedule. Moreover, it is not a big secret that flights have the lowest price when they are first released. So, book your tickets early for the cheapest price possible! 

Furthermore, a year prior to the trip is one of the best times to get cheap tickets. Other than that, you can book around three to six months prior to the trip before the price skyrockets. The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket you can get.

Travel During Low Season

travel to the US on a budget at low season

Although traveling to the US is generally expensive, some periods offer very low prices. Traveling to the US in the summer (June-August) can be very pricey as it is the high season. Then, try traveling during the low season. 

Winter and the transition period from winter to spring are the best times to visit the US for budget travelers. Although some regions are harshly cold and snowy, other regions offer pleasant weather and warm sunshine. Thus, this season also brings lower prices for hotels and flights. 

Look for Cheap Places to Travel in the US

One of the best tips for traveling on a budget is to look for cheap and free places. Surprisingly, there are a lot of cheap places to travel in the US that will save your bank account. Thus, these places are amazing, offering breathtaking landscapes or fantastic city life. Here are some of the budget-friendly vacations in the US:

Savannah, Georgia

savannah georgia travel to the us

Located in the south of Georgia, Savannah is one of the most charming cities to visit in the US. As America’s oldest city, Savannah is dotted with historical buildings, antique houses, and monuments. Places like Forsyth Park, River Street, and Wormsloe Historic Site will make you feel dreamy. Thus, visiting Savannah is also affordable as there are a lot of cheap places to visit and free walking tours. 

Daytona, Florida

travel to the US on a budget

Are you looking for a sunny beach in the US? Then, visit Daytona! This beach town in Florida looks fabulous with its sandy shoreline, glimmering ocean, and modern buildings. Thus, the cost in Daytona is around 6% lower than in other states in the US. You can get food, accommodation, and other essentials at a cheaper price. So, get ready to soak up the sun and walk along the lovely promenades of Daytona!

Use City Pass 

CityPass US

Another brilliant way to travel in the US on a budget is by using City Pass. This pass allows you to visit multiple tourist attractions without paying an individual ticket. Additionally, it gives you access to public transportation, like buses and metros. 

City Pass is available in several American cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. The pass is sold at a reasonable place, ranging from $75-100 per city, and is valid for up to 9 days. Moreover, you can save about 40% of your original budget with the card. So, if you are into city tours and planning to stay for more than a week, City Pass is a great deal!

Check out their official website for more information about City Pass. 

Find Affordable Accommodations

how to travel to the US on a budget

Accommodations are the main reason why our banks break during travel. So, finding accommodation at an affordable price is essential if you are budget traveling. Thus, if you travel to the US on a budget, these types of accommodations will help you to save money. 

  • Budget Hotels: A decent bed, a clean room, and security are the basics you can get in budget hotels. The prices vary depending on which city in the US you are visiting. The lowest price you can get in big cities like New York and San Francisco is $90 per night. Meanwhile, in smaller cities like Texas and Lexington, a standard hotel room starts from $70 per night.
  • Motels: Motels are smaller than hotels and they come with lower prices. If you are on a road trip, a motel is the best place to stay. A standard motel room costs around $40-60 per night. 
  • Hostels: Hostels are the cheapest option if you are traveling alone or in a small group. They are available all over the US. A dorm hostel in the US costs around $20-35.
  • Couchsurfing: Although staying in a stranger’s house sounds puzzling, it is actually safe and can be a budget-friendly option! Couchsurfing allows you to find local people who have spaces for travelers to stay for free.
  • Apartments: If you are traveling in a group, apartments are great choices to stay. They can be a cheaper option because you are sharing costs with others. There are apartments with multiple rooms and beds that come at different prices. An apartment or small house with four beds can cost around $200 per night.

Go Camping

travel to the US on a budget save money by camping

Dear outdoor fans, this is for you! Camping is always awesome. There is something special about sleeping under the stars, setting up a campfire, and relaxing in pristine nature. Thus, camping is a popular leisure activity lots of people love in the US. Besides being fun, camping is a good way to press your budget on accommodation. 

The US boasts a plethora of national parks. From the world-famous Yellowstone National Park to the untouched Acadia National Park, they all offer exciting camping grounds. Thus, they cost around $10-20 per tent, which is cheaper than a hotel. So, if you are traveling to the US on a budget, camping will save you a lot!

Cook Your Own Meals

An essential tip for someone who is going for budget travel is to cook your own meals. You can secure your budget when traveling in the US by spending less money on food. In the US, eating out at restaurants can be pricey due to the additional tip and tax. On the other hand, you can find cheap places for groceries in the country.

If you have a public kitchen or cooking utensils in your accommodation, try cooking your own meals. Buy some ingredients like pasta, rice, vegetables, and eggs. Then, get ready to be surprised because a one-week grocery can cost less than $60!

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

If you want to save money during your trip, bringing your own water bottle is a must. Drinkable waters are found widely in destinations like the US, Canada, and Europe. Tap water is clean and safe to drink. Thus, in several areas of the US, restaurants usually offer gallons that you can refill your bottle from. 

Having your own water bottle when traveling is always a good idea. You won’t have to spend money on bottled water and drinks, which are essential for budget travelers. Moreover, bringing your own reusable water can also bring good to the environment. You are producing no plastic waste, as well as going one step ahead to become a sustainable traveler!

Go on Road Trips

road trips in the US

The US is renowned for its magnificent national parks and inland attractions. Thus, one of the best ways to explore the US is by going on road trips. For budget travelers in the US, road trips are highly recommended, especially group road trips. You can go from one destination to another easily while saving money at the same time. Finding a group helps you to share costs, travel safely, and have fantastic companions during the road trip. 

Are you looking for an awesome road trip while traveling to the US? JoinMyTrip has a lot of group road trips that you should check out

Travel in a Group 

travel to the US on a budget cheap vacations

Last but not least in our ‘Travel to the US on a Budget’ guide: Group travel! Traveling in a group comes with a lot of benefits. You have travel buddies that can share almost everything with you, from accommodation to food. Thus, you can share the costs with the group. That way, everyone can have the best deal and save more money! 

Besides that, traveling in a group is more comfortable and safe. As we know, there is safety in numbers. You can travel to the US with your group and stay together while visiting fabulous places. 

What do you think of our tips? Do you have any other ideas on how to travel to the US on a budget? Feel free to share it!

Then, are you thinking of traveling to the US this year? JoinMyTrip has something special for you! We have a collection of fabulous group trips to the US, hosted and planned by experienced travelers from all over the world. You will join an awesome travel group with other like-minded travelers. Thus, sweat no more as the itineraries and planning are handled by our TripLeaders.

So, what are you waiting for? Our trips run out fast, so book a spot now!

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