Budget Sized America
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How to do America on a Budget
Understandably, the further you are from America the less incentive you have to visit. It can get pretty expensive, and the major tourist hotspots are probably so overhyped that you doubt they’ll actually live up to their potential. That said, there is no reason you can’t explore this vast country without blowing your budget; in fact, it’s now more important than ever that we do. America has gotten a bad reputation this past year, but that is not an accurate representation of the whole country. Try these tips for travelling around America on a budget, and let your new experiences form your opinion of the country.
Before you even book your trip, make sure you make the journey as smooth as possible. If you’re in one of the countries that are in the USA Visa Waiver Program (like Australia), then you can save yourself money on a visa by applying for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before you fly out. While a visa does give you more varied options, applying for an ESTA doesn’t require you visit an embassy, which makes the whole process significantly less stressful.
Why bother spending money on fancy hotels when you can take to the road and stay in motels for a fraction of the cost? Since the American highway system was developed in the 1950s, the road trip has become an integral part of America’s cultural DNA. You might not have months to explore everything, but it is possible to plan a road trip that fits into your ideal schedule. Sometimes the cost of renting a car will cost less than driving your own across America, especially if you choose a rental car that’s more fuel-efficient than the one you own. You’ll end up saving over the course of a long trip and you’re not on the hook for the maintenance that follows a long-haul journey.
Few people know that you can travel around the whole country by rail as America’s railway system is hidden. You can start on the East coast, then hop on a long-distance Amtrak all the way to California, or just stop in a city that takes your fancy. Amtrak offers USA Rail Passes for 15-day, 30-day or 45-day trips. If you’re careful about using public transport in each stop on your tour, they’re an affordable way to see the country.
Off the beaten path
Some cities in America have periods where they attract a lot of visitors, and they take advantage by charging extra for rooms and souvenirs. Take New Orleans for example; its busiest time of year is Mardi Gras, but it’s just as awesome throughout the rest of the year. Alternatively, visiting cities like Santa Fe in New Mexico will give you an unforgettable taste of Native American and Hispanic culture, and it’s cheaper than visiting New York or Los Angeles. Not to mention, Santa Fe and New Orleans give you a better sense of all the different cultures that made America truly great.