Travelling though America isn’t cheap. And accommodation can cost a fortune if you don’t know where to stay… luckily, with a bit of research and not afraid of ‘roughing it’… we saved a bundle! This is what we did.
It is always good to have a place to crash when you land after traveling 30 hours so if you have any friends close by and they’re willing to put up with your jetlag, then go for it! Staying with friends is always good – but you need to remember not to wear out your welcome. Another thing you can do is couch surfing. Personally, we haven’t done it, but we have had friends who’ve couch surfed around the world and LOVED it!
Hostelworld.com is a great place to do a bit of research on different hostels. But be careful, hostels can fill up quite quickly if you’re there doing the warm seasons so if there’s somewhere you’d love to stay, book in advance.
While in Washington, DC we stayed at The Diplomat. Our ‘old faithful hostel of the world, ‘ the YHA, was completely booked out. The Diplomat had personality. It was pretty snazzy because our room had a spa bath.
But the place felt like it was missing something – I’m not really sure what. Though the price was within reason at $30 a night with free street parking in the Nation’s Capitol.
Since hostels really haven’t caught on in the United States it’s a lot harder to find hostels when traveling outside the major cities. And I’m not personally a fan of risking my life to stay at ‘dodgy motels’…
So our chosen method of accommodation was camping. It was fantastic! If you have a car, the internet and some camping gear, there is absolutely no stopping you from saving a few bucks while waking up every morning to some amazing bits of America! And you know what you get from the start!
We purchased a two person tent, inflatable mattress with electric pump and double sleeping bag for the cost of about one night’s accommodation at a hotel. With that in mind, we only paid for camping fees which were always less than $30 a night.
While security might be one of your main concerns, most good American campsites have a camp host who’s familiar with the surroundings. Best to check in when them first for anything you should know about – like the native wildlife population.
We slept with Bears, Bobcats, Coyotes and Alligators to name a few, and as long as you’re not an idiot when it comes to safety, you should be okay. That means, prepare your food away from your tent, be sure to get rid of your food scraps and put the remaining goods in a bag and hang it from a tree or if you have it incredibly well packed, then in the back of the car. Then, there’s a lot less chance to be eaten by one of them and to enjoy them cheaply from a distance!
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!