Airplanes, Busses, Camping…and Other Ways to Cut US Travel Costs

by Jac La Tour

buses on the highway

June 23, 2015

Something I enjoy even more than traveling is saving money while I’m traveling. I still remember the first time my wife and I tried a discount hotel website. We got a four-star room for something like $65. Crazy.

So imagine my joy in finding USATourist.com’s article on budget travel in the US. Here are a few of their tips that you’ll appreciate if you travel in the States this summer:

Getting around.

Bus travel can be cheaper than air, and more flexible. Greyhound, for example, offers unlimited 7- to 60-day travel passes. And you’ll see more of the country than you would from 35,000 feet. If you must travel by air, the article says, keep this in mind:

Nearly every US airline offers tickets at reduced prices on most flights, but you must know how to find the bargains. The lowest fares are normally offered on advance-purchase, round-trip tickets that include a Saturday night stay.

Thinking of taking the train? “As a rule, rail travel in America is expensive, unreliable and inconvenient,” the article reports. However, if you have to cover a lot of ground in a short time with multiple stops, rail could be your best option thanks to Amtrak’s 30-day unlimited pass.

Staying around.

As I write this, some friends of ours are wrapping up a road trip with their three kids. I noticed on Facebook that they spent a couple nights in a YMCA. Turns out many cities have branches of the YMCA and YWCA that offer affordable lodging. “The room prices usually include showers, a place to sleep and sometimes a hot meal,” USATourist.com says. 

If you roam rural parts of the country, camping may be the way to stretch your travel budget. State and national parks abound, as do private campgrounds. One tip: If you don’t have a reservation, check with the park ranger around noon to see if there have been cancellations. This approach got us two extra days at Yosemite one summer.

Youth hostels, though not as prevalent in the US as elsewhere, are another no-frills lodging option. If you’re good with a bed, a hot shower and maybe a free breakfast, check out this page on the USATourist.com website.

Wherever you travel this summer…happy trails.

Category: Missionary Minded