USA Travel Tips for Young People
For many non-Americans, a tour of the USA is a dream throughout high school and the university years. Often, the dream involves renting a car or buying an old, tattered one and staying in roadside motels wherever the road may lead you. It’s a charming dream, and one that can easily be realised if you start saving sensibly, book your travel, and plan your approximate itinerary in advance.
Money Saving Tips
Cutting down on the luxuries and impromptu splurges is a clear way to save your precious pennies, but there are also other basic ways of cutting costs throughout your journey.
Instead of staying at motels overnight, consider CouchSurfing, an online community that sees local residents offer free accommodation in their home. It’s a great way to meet people along the way and discover parts of town you might otherwise miss. Hosts are known to be welcoming and like to take their visitors on tours of the area and their favourite places. Just make sure the people you request to stay with have positive references. The CouchSurfing community is very active in the USA, from New Mexico to Maine. When requesting a place to stay in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, write well in advance as they can get very busy.
Alternatively, stay in youth hostels that are often cheaper than motels and better for socialising. For example, in LA try the innovative PodShare that provides both a great chance to socialise and privacy as each person is allocated their own sleeping pod or mini room.
Instead of eating out all the time, do some basic shopping at local supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s or Walmart. Wherever you stay, a fridge should be available for your breakfast essentials at least. If you are out and about and hungry, ethnic eateries are often cheaper than restaurants. Mexican food is incredible in the USA, particularly in Southern states. Visiting China Towns, Korea and Japan Towns is also highly recommended for low-priced but fresh, delicious meals such as dumplings and noodles.
A simple truth in this day and age is that booking both very far in advance or at the very last minute are the cheapest times. If you’re a bit of a risk taker and aren’t travelling during high season, the last minute option can see you checking into four star hotels but paying motel prices. Allow yourself the treat at least once. But book your flights in advance as this is simply the safest way to ensure you and your friends will get seats on the same plane. Look out for advance ticket sales at various times of year, including January and June.
Before setting off, look into a cheap calls to USA service so you can call ahead to check hotel availability, make reservations if necessary, and book activities along the way.
Ensure you’re up to date with visa information. While most Europeans don’t require a visa for short term travelling, regulations are in place to control the amount of time you can spend on US soil without one. If you’re hoping to take on a temporary job somewhere in the USA, you definitely require a visa and will need to apply for this in a timely manner at the nearest embassy.