The United States is an enormous place. So big that you’d never see it all in your lifetime, even if you tried to. And to get from one side of the continent to the other takes a huge amount of time, and can cost a great deal of money too. If you have family you want to visit across the country, or just fancy traveling to a new destination, the financial expense can be off-putting. Sometimes it’s easier to just stay put and make the most of your local area.
But despite the vast distance between the Eastern and Western coast, there are ways you can travel across the USA in a budget-friendly way. As long as you are smart with your travel decisions, keep to a budget, and plan ahead, a trip from New York to LA (or vice versa) needn’t put a dent in your bank balance.
To help you out, here are four tips for traveling across the country on a budget.
Carpool with others
If you have to drive across the country, you will have to deal with the costs of fuel, wear and tear on your vehicle, food, and accommodation en route. But if you can find a willing passenger to come with you, you’ll be able to distribute the expense between you. Perhaps a friend or family member would like to tag along for your cross-country road trip. Alternatively, you might be able to post on social media or a ridesharing website to find a stranger who wants to make the same journey.
Save money on fuel
If you are taking your trip by car, your biggest expense is likely to be the fuel needed to get you from A to B. If you can cut costs in this area, you will potentially save yourself a great deal of money. Shopping for cheap gas is the best way to do this, and you are more likely to find a better rate on fuel by taking detours through small towns, as highway gas stations always mark their prices up. In addition, it will help to drive in a more fuel-efficient manner. You can do this by maintaining a constant speed, accelerating gently, and coasting to decelerate.
Combine it with work
If there is any way you could combine your cross-country trip with your work, you will essentially be getting paid to travel. Perhaps you could volunteer to attend a meeting or industry event near your chosen destination. Certain professions rely on long-distance trips, such as delivery driver work, which allows you to browse jobs to bid on that match your chosen route.
Take public transport
While you might prefer to fly or drive to your destination, the cheapest mode of travel by far is public transport. There are numerous cross-country bus lines that will take you where you want to go for a fraction of the cost of a plane trip. If you are happy to put up with a long bus journey and the logistics of arranging multiple bus connections, this is an excellent option.