I am here to talk about travel tips for anyone who wants to travel to cities on a budget. I know when I was in college, I always wanted to see new places but I didn’t want to spend so much money doing it. Not only that, I like simple and hassle-free traveling. This past year I started traveling solo a bit more and have learned a lot of stuff along the way. My boyfriend is usually my partner in crime. Then I had to go on some solo trips and traveling by myself turned into an adventure in itself! Whether you are new to traveling, traveling solo or traveling with friends, I am here to let you in on some tips and tricks I have learned along the way! It is March and it is a time full of fun festivities! This month we have Spring Break (for those of you still in school), St. Patrick’s Day, and the arrival of Spring. The weather is getting warmer and it is a great time to explore what the US has to offer!
Tip #1: Where Should I Go?
If you are traveling on a budget, try choosing places that provide public transportation. This will alleviate transportation costs that you would end up with from renting a car. If you are under 25, this will end up being especially expensive if you are planning a trip that ranges from 3-7 days. Most car rental places charge a fee for being under 25 that can range from $25-$80/day. Below, I ranked the cities I have been to that I thought had the best public transportation (1 being the best).
Best cities for public transportation
- Washington DC
- Philadelphia, PA
- Chicago, IL
- New York City, NY
- San Francisco, CA
Tip #2: Get Me There!
After you have picked your location, it is time to see how you will get there! If you need to fly, something I have found to be true is that flight tickets are cheaper on Wednesdays. My mom and google have both told me this tip so it has to be true right? I have found that Hotwire and Kayak both have the lowest ticket prices always and again especially on Wednesdays. Not flying? Using your own car is always good but if you don’t feel like driving, the train is always a good option if you live in an area that has the Amtrak.
Tip #3: The Sleeping Situation
Having family and friends is a wonderful thing! If you have family or friends who live in the area, give them a call and let them know you might be in town. This is a great way to catch up with them and at the same time you have a free (hopefully) place to stay. Airbnb is prohibited in New York City but using this tool is a cheap way to find a sleeping place. For me, I know I am going to be out and about all day so finding a safe place a little further away from where you will hangout can save you a lot of money. For example, if you wanted to go to New York, you could stay in New Jersey and take the bus over from Hoboken through the Lincoln Tunnel. There is also a subway stop that will take you into Hoboken and vice versa.
Tip #4: Map it Out
If you are traveling with limited amount of time, you want to maximize that time as much as possible. Not only that, this will help you save money in the long run. For example, riding the subway in NYC is inexpensive, however the amount you will spend will slowly increase just like that if you are riding all over the place. Instead, look at places you want to go to and group them into areas. New York City has burrows, for each day find places to go to in that specific burrow. You will save a lot from transportation alone.
I made that mistake when I went to NYC and was going all over the place. Monetize and maximize your time and money by mapping it out! Below is an example from when I had a 10 hour layover in Philadelphia. To maximize my time, I mapped out places I wanted to go by using the City Hall as my reference point.
Tip #5: Find Those Travel Deals
If you are using public transportation in the city, look up what kind of transportation system they use. In New York City they use the metro which is the underground subway system. However, in Philadelphia the subway could mean it is on land not underground. You can also purchase subway passes online for a certain amount of time, which will give you unlimited rides during your stay. In Philadelphia, the Independence Pass will allow you to ride unlimited on ANY public transportation system they have for ONE full day for only $12! New York also has a similar pass that will allow you to utilize their subway for a fixed amount. Use that extra money you save to treat yourself!
Tip #6: Download Essential Apps
If you are flying, make your life easier and download the app for your specific airline. This will keep you updated on your flight times and if there are any delays or gate changes. Also, download Uber for quick transportation services if you end up needing a ride quick. Your first ride is free and if you refer someone you will get another ride for free! I have never had problems with Uber and have found the drivers to be especially nice!
Tip #7: Relax & Enjoy The Ride
I hope these helpful hints will help you on your next travel adventures! Let me know what kind if you have any other helpful tips for when you travel. I would love to learn more on how to make traveling easy and stress free!
Thanks for reading!
Yours truly, Linh