I love America and have visited the continent on numerous occasions, but recently I undertook one large road trip across the states. As a UK citizen I found it difficult to gage the expenditure and budget for ‘cost of living’ against the activities I wanted to experience. I thought it useful to outline to travellers how much of the budget I actually blew on my road trip and the best ways to save when travelling the states.
In most countries, particularly Asia, it’s far cheaper to ‘wing it’ shall we say and book your accommodation as you arrive, this is not the case in America. Planning is everything when it comes to travelling America. Work out your route, and opt to spend more days in the cheaper areas, also consider weekends, it’s cheaper to stay out of the large conventional cities such as LA, San Francisco & New York on weekends.
Do your research, travelling by car appears expensive on the surface, but split it 4 ways and this makes getting about a less costly experience. Gas in the states costs nothing compared to Petrol in the UK so don’t just assume that a budget trip can’t include a car. A secondary advantage of having a car is you are able to sleep in it, or get to the more rural areas to camp, this will bring the cost of your trip down whilst being a fun alternative to another night in the Hotel.
Tips, I wrote an article on tips that you should check out before travelling. A minimum of 15% is compulsory and is not considered a generous tip, you should budget to leave 18-20% for all sit down meals, take this into account before you opt to eat in the establishment.
Wifi is available in mass across America, from bars and restaurants to historical establishments. Make sure you request the wifi password and Skype/Facetime home for free, far cheaper than purchasing an unnecessary and costly Sim Card.
The total budget for my trip was £2,000 (including flights from the UK), my total expenditure was around £2,400. It’s important you take into account all additional costs before you budget for the states! But always remember, you’ll make back your money when travelling Asia a less costly part of the world.