1) Rent a car. The USA is famous for its road trips, so why not experience the country in style by renting a car! If there’s enough of you, renting a car for a week or two can work out pretty cheap, whilst petrol (gas) is a third of the price it is over here in the UK! It’s also great driving on their huge roads and it gives you the freedom to do a lot more than if you were getting buses or trains! If you see something interesting and want to check it out you can just take a detour to it! Your UK driving licence is fine with Hertz, however, Enterprise didn’t accept mine. If you’re under 25, renting is a bit more expensive because they think you’re going to do doughnuts in the middle of an interstate.
2) Sofa surfing. Unlike us cold hearted and closed up Brits, Americans are extremely welcoming and hospitable. At camp, your American friends will offer you a place to stay if you’re going near them while travelling. You might think ‘Yeh they’re just saying it’ but they are being serious, so take them up on the offer. In 4 of my 8 destinations I stayed with friends from camp and had a blast.
3) Research hostels and book before! Honestly, the hostel scene in America isn’t great, which kind of took me by surprise. It isn’t like Asia or Europe where you can just rock up to a city on the day and have a plethora of hostels to choose from. If you do that in America, it’s likely you’re going to be staying in a dingy hotel miles out of town with stains on the sheets, or pay through the tooth to stay near the city centre. Book at least a couple of days before, if it’s a holiday or there’s an event in that town, book as far in advance as possible!
4) Airbnb. I didn’t actually use this but plenty of people I know did. People basically open up their homes and invite people to stay with them as an alternative to hotels or hostels. A lot of the accommodation looks really nice and all the hosts are reviewed so you know if they’re a crazy cat lady or not. It can be cheaper in some cities but in others it isn’t, so look around.
5) Flights. With the county being so big and hundreds of miles between some major cities it’s a blessing that Internal flights in America can be dirt cheap! I purchased a flight from Atlanta to New York for $90. Here are some airlines to look into; Frontier, Jetblue, Southwest.
6) Megabus. I literally would have spent so much more money on travel in America if it wasn’t for Megabus. It’s cheap but surprisingly comfortable. You have free Wi-Fi, decent space and the coaches are modern and clean. Don’t book with greyhound unless you want to feel like a sardine.
7) Plan. There’s an old saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. I mean you won’t necessarily fail at travelling. That’s a pretty hard thing to do. But if you don’t do at least a bit of planning you might miss out on some of the best things to do in your destinations. I’m not talking about seeing the Empire State or seeing the Grand Canyon. I’m talking about finding the coolest speak easy, the best restaurant to go to or when festivals and markets are on. These things will provide a much more enjoyable and worthwhile experience than going to the top of a tall building.
8) Budget. America is cheap in some aspects but bloody expensive in others. Accommodation, food and drink are the things that spring to mind as being the most expensive. So watch your balance because it will go down quickly without you noticing, as I found out to my horror one day in DC.
9) Visit a college! You CANNOT travel America without visiting a friend at college. At camp you’ll have friends who are at college and you really need to visit them if you’re passing through! American colleges are like nothing you’ve ever seen to or been to and you won’t want to leave!
10) Go to nature! America has literally every kind of environment you can think of! Deserts, mountains, endless forests, huge lakes, swamps…the list goes on. You should take some time out of your travels to see some of these! Personally my travel mates and I climbed to the top of Mount Washington (admittedly in a car) and saw some amazing natural sights along the way!