The Ways to Save Money When Traveling Through America
Back in the days of mass immigration from Europe to the US, it used to be known as the Big Country. Early settlers took months or even years to cross it with horses and wagons. Today we have airplanes that can take us from coast to coast in just a few hours, but for those of us whose budgets do not extend to frequent flying, traveling between states can still be very difficult. How is it, then, that some people who do not seem to have two cents to rub together still manage to go on long trips around the country, taking in the sights in many different cities? They do not have secret sponsors, and they are not secretly rich. They just know a few smart tricks that help them do what others spend a fortune on, for very little money indeed. Learn those tricks and you can do the same.
Before You Go
Saving money on any adventure always begins with good planning. That does not mean there is no room for spontaneity, but if you have the basics of your trip well organized, it is easier to indulge your impulses without incurring too much extra cost. Think about the places you want to go and plan your journey accordingly, taking into account what you will need for different climates and how you will be moving around. Take the time to do thorough research on everything, from where to get cheap meals to how you can get discounts when visiting attractions.
If you must fly for part of your trip, there are ways to do it cheaply. One is to use ITA Matrix, the software behind the budget fight comparison sites, to find the lowest prices out there. Another is to go to airports, look out for flights with last-minute empty seats and directly haggle to get one cheap. A third is to become a courier – delivery companies sometimes need people to carry packages by air in order to maximize security, and as long as you have a clean record you can sign up for this without making any lasting commitments.
Despite this, it is usually cheaper to take a train, and cheaper still to take a bus. You can also consider carpooling, arranging in advance to ride with somebody who is going that way anyway, and making a contribution toward gas. Many people still choose to hitchhike and have good experiences doing so, though it is safer if you are not traveling alone.
There are many ways to save money on accommodation:
- Stay with friends or family members
- Sign up for a couch-surfing site and stay with strangers
- Stay in student accommodations in university towns outside the academic season
- Look for last-minute hotel rooms that the owners are desperate to fill
- Go youth-hosteling- even if you are no longer young!
- Go camping- either in a tent or just with a sleeping bag, out under the stars.
Many people eat in restaurants all the time when traveling, which can get very expensive, but there is really no need to. Many kinds of accommodation give you the option of cooking your own food, and even if that is not an option, you can get by healthily on sandwiches, fruit and nuts. You can cut the price of your shopping by looking out for special offers or picking up vouchers from a site such as http://www.baedaily.com/deals/coupons/extreme-couponing/. People who get into the habit of extreme couponing say they find it hard to imagine why anybody pays full price. Techniques like these mean you may have to be less particular about the products you choose, but part of the point of travel is to broaden the mind and you may acquire new favorites along the way.
One of the easiest ways to save money when traveling is to be flexible about when you go. Most people want to go at the same time of year, when the weather is most comfortable. If you are happy to travel out of season, you will find that everything is cheaper and you will often get better service into the bargain. You can give yourself more flexibility when on your trip by wearing layered clothing, enabling you to take layers on and off easily to adapt to different climates, so that you can make detours on impulse without having to buy new things.
Simple techniques like these can cut the cost of traveling through the Americas by a huge amount. When you do not have to worry about money, you can focus on having a good time and on exploring places you have previously only visited in your dreams.