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jamesfbecker
Gday guys,

New here and I'm planning to venture over to the USA next year, probably just backpacking/cheap hotels.
I was wondering if anyone had any idea of the cost of living/travelling around? Or if there's any online guides to it? Also what are the cheap domestic airlines, are they worth using over buses/trains?

Also what sort of work is available short term? Is it worth doing tutoring (i can tutor in science) whilst I'm over there for a bit of extra cash?

I mean, I don't plan on living there, just sort of doing as much as I can, prioritising the places to see. The only thing I definitely want to do are: Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmoore, Washington state (I have a friend that lives there that I said I'd visit), Niagara falls, NYC.

I'm debating whether or not it's worth seeing the luxurious places, as I figure most cities are basically the same, a bunch of shops and a bunch of places to waste money?

Thanks for any help.
Jessica_CDN
Hi James!

Well, first of all, where are you coming from? The strength of your currency will determine how "expensive" things seem....

In terms of accomodations, from what i've seen, there's an extensive hostel network throughout much of the US, especially in the big cities, and these are quite affordable. Campsites can be good too, but it means carrying more stuff.

The LonelyPlanet can give you a good rough estimate to the current costs, but like I said, it's more about your currency. If you're coming from the UK, the US is an affordable place to travel. Coming from India, not so much.

Domestic flights can be quite affordable, so it's going to be on a case-by-case basis. Watch for the deals!

Some US cities are really great. New York, Boston, Washington DC are all really great. I'm going to San Fran soon, so I'll let you know what I think. smile.gif
wakingdream
Hey James,

Jess had a good question; where are you from? Travelling around the US can be done on a variety of budgets.

Here's a hostel link so you can get familiar with what's available and how much it costs.

Cheap flights are another story. Domestic air travel isn't as inexpensive as say, the UK. There are a few "no frills" airlines called Skybus, Southwest and Jetblue that offer limited, but pretty cheap flights by North American standards. Overland travel is pretty affordable too if you're not going too far. Greyhound is the most popular.

In terms of making some extra cash, you may be able to tutor but you may also need a work visa. I read a bit about temporary work visas and they seem to be a real pain rolleyes.gif Sometimes it's possible to pick up a temporary service job for some extra cash by asking around. I would also check out the local papers in the cities you're in. Side jobs will often be listed there. If you work for an individual rather than a company it would be easier, such as tutoring someone's kids.

QUOTE
I'm debating whether or not it's worth seeing the luxurious places, as I figure most cities are basically the same, a bunch of shops and a bunch of places to waste money?


There are a lot of great places in the US and many cities have their own unique flavor but again, it depends on where you want to go. Which places are you debating on?
kacampau
I wouldn't count on finding any work while you are there, unless you have something worked out before you leave.

It sounds like you want to go west and east. It would be eaisier for you and your wallet to pick one or the other. There are great things to see on each coast and it is long and can be expensive to get between coasts.

If you are going to get out west, consider renting a car and doing a big loop with Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, southern Californita (San Diego or LA). There are some beautiful national and state parks and you will get to see a lot of different things. Then you could fly or drive up to visit your friend in Washington. Las Vegas tends to be very accessable and have cheap flights, hotels and food.
lisartw
We did North America last year, drove from New York to LA then up to SF. It's cheaper than the UK but it is expensive, we spent on average about $80 - $100 a day all in

Bus and train travel isn't the easiest but it is cheaper than renting a car. Can you afford to rent a car? I would suggest doing that if you can as it is the best way to see the US but it does cost loads because of all the insurances and stuff.

But it does mean you can throw away the guide book and just find random towns and places.

I would say limit your time in the cities and hit the national and state parks - as many as you possible can, it really is the way forward. Buy a national parks pass though (about $50 I think) because it will save you loads.

My favourite places were:

Yellowstone, Wyoming - it is an utterly amazing place
Badlands, South Dakota
Rocky Mountain national park, Colorado
Escalante National Monument, Utah
Niagra Falls, New York State
Boulder, Colorado
Arches National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Grand Canyon, Nevada
Monterey, California
Mt Rushmore, South Dakota

Fave cities were New York and San Francisco. Despite NY being quite expensive you can do lots of stuff for free,

The US isn't really geared up for backpacking though, so be warned that there aren't many hostels compared to other places you may have travelled too. But, it is an amazing country and there is just so much to do and see.
netravel
[I mean, I don't plan on living there, just sort of doing as much as I can, prioritising the places to see. The only thing I definitely want to do are: Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmoore, Washington state (I have a friend that lives there that I said I'd visit), Niagara falls, NYC.


Well, I am sure you'll get a lot of information on the well traveled tourist sights on the coasts. I am an avid "midwest" traveller, and Go through NE and SD often. I suggest you take your time in SD. A lot of history there. You may want to check out the Indian Reservations, or Keystone, maybe Hill City (all near Mt. Rushmore.)

I plan itineraries for NE and SD. MY advise to you if you plan on spending time near Rushmore is to check out places like Chadron NE. I often get 7 nights for the price of 4 or 5 at several places there.

Just one persons opinion, but, I do travel there quite often!

washdcmike
I would say you should visit Washington DC. The hotels are expensive but most places in the city are free to visit. You can visit my travelblog to see several hundred pictures of the city and what it has to offer. You could also email me through there for any questions.
umamna
Hey there,

I grew up in the NYC/southern Connecticut area and lived in nothern New Mexico for 3 years.

If your looking to pick up some extra cash while in the states, with out the proper paperwork it is illegal. Finding work in the north east will be next to impossible. In New Mexico however... its a bit more "loose" to say the least, I nannied and house sat myself to my next meal, living on about $5 a day and there is a funky hostel there in Taos called the abominal snowmansion with dorm accomodation for super cheap.

if you are a backpacker and have any more questions or need more suggestions about the nothern New mexico area let me know. It would be my pleasure! The sangre de cristo mountians are one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I can still taste the green chilies....
umamna
PS the stupid gas prices are insane, sorry to burst your bubble, so you should stick to one coast or another. it takes more than 4 days of continuous driving, no stops, to reach coast to coast in most places, the cheapie domestic flights arent so cheapy anymore either, my family is always belly aching about how nothing is the same. When I go back to visit my mom in CT it ends up costing us an insane amount of money.

So if money is no object, travel on travler! If it is you sould be aware of the cost of living in the US right now... Its not so pretty for at least transportation.
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