The Cheapest Way to See America

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Woman walks alongside a train carrying a suitcase.

America is certainly a travel arena, and there are many different ways you can see it. It’s also a massive country, so trying to see it requires some careful planning. If you don’t spend your money wisely, you could end up wandering this huge country aimlessly.

Let’s look at how you can save money while traveling the U.S.

How Can I Visit America Cheaply? 

Planes, trains, and automobiles can all get you across the country, but finding the cheapest manner of travel depends on your ability to dig. Sometimes flying to an area is much cheaper than driving. If you take the time to watch flight prices for a while, it’s quite common to find seats that cost $100 or less. 

Close up of a change jar where a person is adding a quarter.

Trains may also offer a chance to save a little money on travel. If you’re traveling a long way, taking a train means that you won’t have to stop for breaks or get a hotel room for sleeping. The train has all those amenities on board, and it doesn’t stop for sleep breaks. Other affordable travel methods include taking an RV for a spin, driving a fuel-efficient car, or biking. 

What Is the Cheapest Place to Visit in the U.S.? 

If you’re going on a multi-city excursion, it’s best to keep the cities you visit within the same region. The U.S. is a huge country, and traveling across the whole nation can get expensive. 

That said, Albuquerque, N.M., is one of the cheapest places in the U.S. to visit. You can find cheap Airbnb and hotel rentals at the right times. Plan your visit to New Mexico in October to get the free experience of watching the Hot Air Balloon festival. The skies over Albuquerque are breathtaking at sunset, and the night sky is definitely something you’ll remember seeing. 

You may also want to consider visiting Washington, D.C. If you use public transit to get around, there are plenty of free places to explore. Many landmarks and museums around the city are free to the public. 

You can search for deals like these in many other places around the country as well. It’s all about timing and creativity. Try out Seattle in the rainy season. See about Orlando during the height of the summer. By broadening your horizons, you might find some surprising deals.

Top 10 Most Affordable US Vacation Cities

How Much Money Do You Need to Travel Across the U.S.? 

That depends on what you want to get out of your travels. If you want to understand a low and high range for budgeting purposes, take the time to map out each step. On average, a round trip from coast to coast in the U.S. will set you back around $2,000-$3,000. 

How Do You Take Trips on a Budget? 

Traveling on a budget is a fine art that you learn over time. Growing older presents plenty of opportunities to do things the wrong way, so you benefit from knowing the right way as you age. Skip that step, and read ahead instead as we share some tips.

Plan Ahead

Planning is your friend. If you really want to save money while traveling, you have to plan. Booking hotels and other accommodations months ahead of time will do more than just assure you a place to sleep. You’ll save money too!

Traveler’s Tip: Find out if travel insurance is worth the money for your next trip.

Travel in the Off-Season

Travel when no one else wants to travel, and the prices for everything will be a bit lower. The U.S. works on supply and demand. When the travel season is in full swing, so is the demand for places to stay. It’s best not to fight the masses and travel during the shoulder or off-season. 

Make Reservations in Advance

Make reservations for events and accommodations ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about those things as you travel. Finding a place to sleep on the fly could leave you in a tough spot if things don’t go right. 

A hip rooftop bar during the day with umbrellas and lights in the big city.

Book Budget-Friendly Accommodations

When you do make your bookings, hunt down the best price possible. Budget-friendly accommodations will keep your travel experience free of undue stress. If you’re a senior citizen, use your age to get discounts. 

Pack Light

Packing light is important if you’re traveling by anything other than your own vehicle. There are still perks for packing light in your own RV or car. Pack enough to be prepared for your trip, but don’t go crazy. A heavy suitcase can cost a heavy fee at the airport. 

Mother and daughter sit in the trunk of a hatchback on a cross country road trip.

Use Public Transportation

When you’re hanging out in your chosen location, choose public transit over ridesharing or taxis. It’s more affordable, and you don’t have to pay for parking either. Not to mention you’re minimizing your carbon footprint when you use public transportation. 

Cook Instead of Eating Out

If possible, take the time to cook your meals instead of eating out at a restaurant or fast food spot. You’ll likely have a healthier diet when you choose to cook, and you’ll find that that time is quite enriching to your journey as well. 

Where Is It Cheap to Fly in the U.S.? 

Believe it or not, Los Angeles is one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. to fly into and out of any time of the year. The popularity of the travel hub makes lower prices possible and more prevalent. 

Chicago O’Hare and Minneapolis St. Paul are even cheaper than LAX when you’re trying to find an affordable place to visit. These airports run a little cheaper than other places in the U.S. due to the heavy business traffic moving through the area.  

Young woman excited and waiting her trip at the airport

Is It Possible to See America Cheaply? 

That depends on your definition of cheap. Some people think an American tour for $2,000-$3,000 is cheap, but others would never be able to afford that price range. You can do it for cheaper. The experience simply shifts a bit depending on just how much money you have to invest.

Where in the U.S. would you like to go most?

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