Cheap Travel: Affordable Ways to Visit Cool Places

stuck in traffic

Travel tends to be a big goal, but many people are scared off by the cost. It can seem pretty insane to try and travel when the price tags look like $500-$700 a night, just to stay in a nice hotel.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It’s entirely possible to travel affordably, and here are some ways how.

Travel by Train

travel by train

Trains aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be, but there are still plenty of commuter trains that can take you through some amazing views — and you don’t have to do the driving yourself.

There are many routes you can take around the country that allow you to see sights and cities you’d never get from an airplane. Think Niagara Falls, New Orleans, Salt Lake City and even San Francisco!

Couch Surf in NYC

There’s nothing cooler than getting to a new city, making some fast friends and finding a place to crash where you get to pay by making breakfast. This is even better if you’re taking a trip to NYC, or really any other big city.

There are plenty of sites that can help you find someone you’re fairly compatible with, and many of them do background checks to help ensure safety. Hotels in big cities are often either incredibly expensive or incredibly dirty. You can skip that by couch surfing, but it might not be your ideal way to travel if you have a family.

If you’re traveling with kids, you might feel better about doing a house swap in the big city instead. That way, the people who live there aren’t actually there — they’re in your house out in the country instead! This has the same benefits as couch surfing, in that you don’t have to worry about paying for a hotel, but it does lack the opportunity of a new friendship that comes with couch surfing.

Take a Road Trip to Yellowstone


There are some serious benefits to driving your own car. It’s not everyone’s first choice, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an option. Plan a good long road trip, and expect to have fun. It gives you a chance to make detours, see things you would never see traveling another way and make your own schedule.

For example, the Oregon Trail road trip takes you from coast-to-coast and lets you hit up Yellowstone National Park, along with Mount Rushmore, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, and Martha’s Vineyard. There’s no other trip where you’ll get to see all those!

Take a Boat to the Caribbean

If you’re looking to explore somewhere overseas, but not too far overseas, then you might be able to swing a job working on a boat. This can be even cooler if you’d also like to explore the ocean. Cruise ships and yachts are always interested in new hires, especially people with customer service, dining, cooking or performance experience. This way, you actually get paid to travel — and you’ll have plenty of money for the time you’re docked in a foreign island like Trinidad or Jamaica!

Get to Central America Through School

Ever heard of a study-abroad program? They’re pretty popular on college campuses, and it’s an amazing way to see the world. This is significantly longer than the typical vacation, and you’ll still have to do the schoolwork, but you get the chance to live for an extended period in another country.

Fly to Europe on Budget Airlines

coastal town

Budget airlines are all the rage in Europe, even if they’re pretty much unheard of in the United States. The key is to look around and find out what flights you can take that aren’t American. The expense you’ll pay is basically just the cost of the taxes, which is a far cry from the several hundred you’ll probably spend on American airline travel. These budget airlines are very popular for travel within Europe, but many are expanding now to include international flights.

A bit of thinking outside the box, and you’ll be surprised at just how affordable travel can be. Don’t worry so much about a “dream vacation,” where your every need is taken care of. Instead, focus on having an adventure. Those make the best memories anyway!


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