3 week trip to USA - Budget?

Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 06:13 PM
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3 week trip to USA - Budget?

I have recently turned 18 and have just completed a 3 week trip around Europe with a friend, however I already wish to go travelling again next year and after speaking with friends I made whilst abroad I've been convinced to start saving up for a solo trip to the US!

The trip would entail me staying with my friend in Houston, TX for a week in his house (this will be the cheapest part of the trip I presume as ((hopefully haha)) the accommodation will be free. However after a week him and I will drive to Austin in his car where we'll explore that region for another week or so - how expensive is Austin generally in terms of room prices, food, activities etc?

After spending two weeks in Texas I would like to fly to a different region of Texas, away from the south - perhaps a city like LA or Boston? Although I would love to visit NY it'd just be too expensive. However, because I have a love for nature I was wondering if someone could advise me on the logistics of visiting somewhere like Yellowstone National Park - e.g are there any additional costs involved, is there any affordable accommodation nearby? If someone could advice me on the practicality and cost of these two ideas I would be grateful.

Bearing in mind that I'll be starting university in September and plan to save up for this trip through a part-time job I need to live quite cheap, which I just about got away with in Europe but I have no idea of costs in the USA and how they differ in each region. I reckon the most I'll be able to save up is £2000 and perhaps cop a few extra-hundred pounds through saving birthday and Christmas money.

Thanks to anyone who can help me
annabelashley6 is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 11:36 PM
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How much was your average accommodation cost in Europe? The U.S. does not have nearly as many "hostel" type accomodations but if you plan ahead you can usually find budget accomodations. Summertime (July/August) is generally more expensive in most areas of the U.S, but for food and lodging you can probably figure about the same as you spent in Europe. Prices are a bit lower here, but then we add taxes and tips so it comes out about the same.

You can check southwest.com for airfare estimates between Houston and various cities. For National Parks you might research the options near Las Vegas as it is usually quite inexpensive to fly Houston or Austin to Las Vegas. You could drive to Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Capitol Reef, maybe onward into Salt Lake City.

I think that you possibly could get by on $2500 if your first week has no lodging costs, however the airfare to the USA might take a big chunk of that...I'm not sure where you're flying from?
DebbieDoesDulles is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 03:07 AM
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You sound like an intelligent and responsible person; unfortunately some places in the US will not agree. Some hotels require guests to be 21 - so be sure you check on that. And the drinking age is 21 - and in most places strictly enforced. Same for renting a car - you are not going to be able to do this.

But I think you can and should do this. I live in Boston area and it is as expensive as NYC. I did some fast looking on-line and there appear to be hostels in most major cities with dorm-style accommodations running about $40-50 per night. You can save on food money by getting take-out food or even shopping in markets for breakfast and lunch. I would think you could do breakfast, lunch, snacks for about $20 per day. Dinner depends on what and where you eat. And even major cities have cheaper spots that locals eat at - so let's set a budget of about $100 per person per day to include accommodations, food, snacks, local transportation, admission to things you want to see.

Most National Parks really involve a car to get around. What about the Pacific Northwest - Seattle, Portland, OR. They have decent public transit systems and lots of natural beauty. Not sure about Los Angeles.

If you can figure out lodging costs in NY, Boston or Washington DC they would be great to visit - maybe there are cheaper hostels there. Advantage of DC is that almost all museums and attractions are free admission. Public transportation is generally good (although the Metro is currently having maintenance issues). And airfare to/from these cities often has lots of options, and is often less expensive than to the middle of the country somewhere.

If this trip is for next summer, most US cities have all sorts of free festivals and events - you could try to coordinate that. Hope this gives you a rough idea of where to start your planning.
gail is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 03:37 AM
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Our rule of thumb when we go to the UK is to expect to pay in pounds what we pay at home in dollars: something that costs $10 in the US will cost £10 in the UK.

So in reverse to you, expect to pay in dollars here what you would pay in pounds at home.

Some things here are incredibly cheap: gasoline at the equivalent of £1.25-1.50 per US gallon, fast foods, alcohol (though an 18yo cannot drink in public or buy at an off license). We do not have budget airlines like Easyjet and long distance coaches and trains may not have convenient schedules for jumping from one part of the country to another.

You could drive with your friend to New Mexico, starting in Ruidoso, going on to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos before heading back home. Beautiful mountains, fantastic western scenery, interesting and complex cultures, and great food.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 02:47 PM
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July/August - Very hot in Texas and New Mexico. Is that what you want?
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