Travel America on a Budget with 4 Easy Tips

The number one excuse we hear from folks not being able to travel – “I don’t have any money”!! This is not a valid excuse. No worries my friends, we are sharing all of our secrets that allow us to spend more time traveling and than we do working! We’re not rich, we don’t have a trust fund, we haven’t inherited any money from some long lost relative, we aren’t college graduates. We are simply two resourceful individuals who prioritize what we spend our hard earned money on! To put the icing on the cake, there are A TON of folks just like us. We all have our own tricks to save money and maximize what we have, and these are ours!

  • Lodging – To travel for months on end, your money won’t last long if you’re staying in hotels. Even if it’s a budget, Motel 6, $40/night will add up real quick. Our solution is a tent and we have never paid for a campsite! It takes a little planning ahead, but our secret to camping for life is right here! Your solution to forgoing a $40 night’s sleep may be the back of your van, an SUV, the backseat of your car, or your truck bed. We love the tent life because our tiny Nissan Sentra gets about 31/mpg and everything we need fits inside! If you’re looking to start living the tent life but don’t have a tent, there are plenty of resources at your disposal. Look on eBay for preowned tents, Sierra Trading Post is always running great deals on outdoor gear, or better yet, ask family or friends to borrow their old tent! Chances are, someone has something for you to borrow in their basement. They’ll be stoked on your road trip and that their old gear is getting some good use! For bedding, you don’t need a top of the line sleeping bag and pad, simply take your blankets on the bed you sleep in now! Stop wishing for what you don’t have, start looking at what you do have! 
    Our home staked for free just outside Sinks Canyon State Park, WY.
    Our home staked for free just outside Sinks Canyon State Park, WY.
  • Food – We all have to eat, right?! Right. And Alex and I eat a lot. We cook our meals on a MSR Pocket Rocket and/or a Coleman Single Burner Stove Top. Both are relatively inexpensive options and have held up through many meals! Since we’re doing activities that break our bodies down, we don’t skimp on our food budget. We have fresh meat, veggies, and dairy every 2-3 days or whenever we pass by a grocery store. We budget roughly $30-$40/week on fresh food. For other meals, we supplement our diet with dried goods. Before every road trip, we go to Costco with about $200 and stock up on trail mix, beans, rice, mac and cheese, beef jerky, cliff bars, dried fruit, nuts etc. This way, all our food money while traveling goes towards our fresh food! Make a promise with yourself to cook your own food and don’t give in to restaurants, you’ll be well on your way to extending your road trip for more freedom!
    Cooking up some yummy cheeseburgers. Our car trunk is the cutting board, the ground is our kitchen.
    Cooking up some yummy cheeseburgers. Our car trunk is the cutting board, the ground is our kitchen.
  • Transportation – We all know that gas is expensive, it’s our biggest expense while traveling. There’s not much to do about the price of gas, all we can do is plan our trips in the most optimum way with minimum hither thither driving! Our trick is to mark on a map all the locations we want to go and then plan the cheapest way connecting them all! We’ve learned that less is more. Sometimes it’s better to spend one week of quality time in an area rather than to buzz through it in a day and not really experience any of it! If you don’t have a car, look into hitch hiking. I know, I know, its scary, illegal in some states and you could get killed. Before we say any more, check out this beautiful woman’s tips for solo hitch hiking females and then come back with excuses. If she can do it, you can! Look past stereotypes and cultural norms, this may be your ticket to freedom! 
    Don't forget to look down, your source of transportation could be your own two feet!
    Don’t forget to look down, your source of transportation could be your own two feet!
  • Entertainment – The entire country is your entertainment! Sure, you probably won’t last long on your road trip adventure if you want to take horseback rides in every western town, go whitewater rafting down The Grand Canyon, or pay for a guided rock climbing trip. Make your own fun!! Buy an annual pass for all of the National Parks for $80 and your eyes will mostly likely be bursting out of their sockets everywhere you go! Look into exploring National Forest land for some peace and serenity or make it your goal to find the best swimming holes across America! Hiking is free, exploring is free, existing is free!
    Alex climbing in The Sinks. We make our own entertainment!
    Alex climbing in The Sinks. We make our own entertainment!

Your road trip will be what you make of it – either a grand adventure or a lazy month of complaining that there’s nothing to do. Go be free and actually LIVE!

78 thoughts on “Travel America on a Budget with 4 Easy Tips

  1. All great advice! I loved what you said about looking at what you already have. I noticed that when my boyfriend and I hit the road for a month, I didn’t need to buy anything new and since we’ve returned back I’ve become even more minimalistic. I even took a trip to REI and didn’t even buy ANYTHING. It’s crazy how quickly that mindset can change! Keep living the good life!


  2. Great post! I could not agree more. The only thing I might add is that you can also couch surf. Car-camping in freezing temperatures is pretty rough, but you can find some amazing people to crash with on

    I wouldn’t plan the whole trip around it because it isn’t very reliable, but it’s still an awesome tool.


  3. So true! I agree it’s way better to camp out on a road trip. You get to pick the most beautiful spots and your tent is a little like “home” (and probably cleaner than most hostels πŸ˜‰ That way I find I’m closer to nature and more immersed or connected to the new places I visit. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great blog, I just need to know how to get from UK to Bahamas without paying an arm and a leg. The downside of relocating…….Visiting family back home is more costly πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for visiting my blog! Have an awesome weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We liked what we saw on your blog, keep up the good work!! The only thing we can recommend is getting an American Express credit card, they have a sign on bonus of a whole bunch of miles that may help cover the flight! Credit cards with perks are gold πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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