How To Travel the Country on a Budget

simonapilolla / Getty Images/iStockphoto
simonapilolla / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Trekking across the country gives travelers the opportunity to take in the sights and historic landmarks of the United States. It also comes with its share of travel costs.

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While the total will vary depending on your mode of transportation, the places you choose to visit and where you dine out, travel expenses quickly add up each day. Luckily, there are ways to cut costs and travel for cheap. Travel the country on a budget by using these cost-cutting strategies.

Driving? Download Gas Apps

Travelers who hit the road for lengthy trips will need every gas hack they can get along the journey. Download gas apps like GasBuddy to find gas stations along your route that offer the most affordable options.

You also can pay for purchases using credit cards that offer gas rewards or points. If you’re a Costco member, download the Costco app in the event you find yourself near a Costco gas station.

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Ride the Bus

Why drive or fly when you can take the bus? Travelers can choose from several bus line options and comfortably ride city to city while enjoying low fares. Here are a few bus lines worth exploring across North America:

  • Megabus. Purchase city-to-city bus tickets for as low as $1 and travel to more than 100 cities and university campuses at their U.S. transportation hubs.

  • FlixBus. For as little as $4.99, you can book travel to popular cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Houston, Phoenix or New Orleans.

  • Greyhound. Take advantage of affordable long distance travel by riding a Greyhound bus. Greyhound customers also receive exclusive hotel discounts via Greyhound’s partnership with Priceline and the ability to save on parking at hundreds of Spot Hero locations.

Purchase the ‘America the Beautiful’ Annual Pass

If you’re planning to visit national parks, you likely will need to set aside some of your budget to cover entrance fees.

While it is possible to visit national parks on fee-free days or during the offseason, savvy travelers may consider  investing in the America the Beautiful annual pass. Part of the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands pass series, this pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges and standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle.

Obtain a CityPASS

Do you want to see some of the most famous attractions in America and save extra money along the way? Consider investing in a CityPASS. This is a discounted bundle of tickets that allows travelers to save up to 50% on entry fees at top attractions in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston and Orlando.

Use Travel Credit Cards

Travelers already using travel credit cards for gas rewards or booking travel may continue using these cards to earn points on any travel-related purchases. If you already have accumulated enough points or rewards, consider using them to further cut back on travel costs.

Eat Like Locals

Food is an expense that quickly adds up when you’re traveling the country. Fortunately, savvy travelers can curb some of these costs if they decide to eat like locals.

Instead of dining out at expensive restaurants or fast food chains, check out online recommendations for inexpensive local restaurants or food trucks. If you’re planning to stay on the road for the long haul, purchase groceries and cook meals if you have access to a kitchen.

Travel During the Offseason

Whether you want to see a national park or visit a theme park, the offseason, or shoulder season, is typically cited as the best time to travel.

Travelers who decide to check out the country will pay much less during the offseason than during busy seasons such as the holidays, and they will avoid significant crowds or possible cancellations.

Do a little research to determine what the offseason looks like for the destination you plan to visit and schedule your travel plans for this season. Your wallet will thank you.

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This article originally appeared on How To Travel the Country on a Budget