We have travelled to the USA a couple times. On our most recent trip we made some considerable savings while booking our holiday. Today I am going to share with you how to save on travel to the USA!
HOW TO SAVE MONEY TRAVELLING TO THE USA…
Research is the key to saving money when travelling. While these tips below relate to our holiday in the USA, the tips relate to any holiday and to any location!
If you are willing to put in the effort in the lead up to your holiday you can save a significant amount of money.
Spreadsheet – I love a good spreadsheet! Prior to the holiday I developed a spreadsheet outlining each day, location, accommodation, proposed activity and total spend for the day. What I have seen is that once on holidays it is very easy to get carried away with spending and then you pay for it (literally!) when you arrive back home. This is not too say that you cannot enjoy and splurge (we certainly did!) but this was all tracked and budgeted for prior to us leaving. This is a great way for you to understand how much money you need for the total holiday but also with some prior planning as per the below tips you can save money along the way. You can then keep refining the spreadsheet closer to your holiday as you either pay off certain activities or find cheaper prices.
Flights – Check websites such as skyscanner. which allows you to check flight prices across a number of companies. You can set proposed flight details and be given alerts when the price changes. Our first trip to the USA our flights were just under $2,000 two years later we managed to secure flights for $1,000 at the same time of year and with the same company (Virgin Australia). You can usually find and book flights up to 12 months in advance so the key for us was to set up the alerts and pay for the flights as soon as you see the price that you like! We had booked many months in advance (booked in March for a December / January holiday) to secure the best deal. Another tip is that we found that our travel agent would complete all of the booking details. So once we found these flights, we sent the details through to the travel agent who did all of the booking process, we also saved money as we did not have to pay the booking fee and credit card fees that the airlines charge through the website!
Accommodation – The key here is to identify locations and the amount of money you are willing to spend per night. We provided this information to our travel agent who provided recommendations but we would then search websites such as Hotels Combined and look at the various accommodation options, reviews and any extras that may be included. If we then happened to find accommodation we were interested in we would continue to check back to see if the price had dropped. If we found a good deal we would send through the details to our travel agent who would price match and again do all of the booking for us! We also found that a number of hotels included breakfast or had a little kitchenette so that you could prepare food. These little things save money!
Food and Beverage – On our trip we hired a car and decided to drive across the USA from LA to Miami. As mentioned above, we found accommodation that included extras such as breakfast included. We also bought (from Walmart!) a cheap esky (chilly bin, cooler, depending on where you are from!) and bought some water, fruit and other cheap snacks to have in the car while we were driving. Each night we could fill the esky up with ice from the accommodation to keep the drinks or anything else that needed to be kept cold. If we did choose to find restaurants or eat out, we would have checked some reviews and have found places that had good food but at reasonable prices!
Activities / Things to do – In the USA we found it easy to do and see some amazing attractions for little or no money. In New York for example the New York Pass is only $109 and enables you to see all of the key tourist attractions such as Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and MOMA, this is much cheaper than paying individually and in a lot of instances allows you to skip waiting lines. These are also available in a number of other locations and offer similar savings. We were also able to spend a number of other days of our holiday seeing free attractions. We spent a day walking the high line and looking at the shops surrounding areas, we spent a day in central park and enjoying all of the different scenery on offer. We walked the Brooklyn bridge and surrounds, the financial district, times square the list goes on. In Washington DC for example many days can be spent seeing all of the Smithsonian Institutes and monuments and memorials.
Money – Another area where you can significantly save is watching exchange rates . This is especially true if you know about your holiday well in advance, if the exchange rate goes up, you can go and purchase some of that currency at that time. We found a good travel card, but also found that it was a good idea to take some cash as well.
I hope you got some great ideas in making some of the big plans for your trip to the USA!