$

Jul 9th, 2004, 05:38 AM
  #1  
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$

I was told to budget about $150 a day for my trip.
That's for staying in hostels, quick fairly cheap food, and general sightseeing. Cities include DC, Boston and SF and a few nights in some of the southern areas (not sure which ones yet.).
It seems fairly steep to me, but I've never been to the US before so I'm relying on this type of info.
Is this resonable? I don't want to spend loads of $$ but I want to be comfortable.
cuddles is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:45 AM
  #2  
 
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cuddles...First, I hope your flame resistant gear is handy,you will need it very soon.But....yes, you can do most cities for that kind of money.You wont get much.If you have ahealthy appetite, you will have to sacrifice.IMHO, I would up the ante to at elast $175.Good luck.
BeachBoi is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:45 AM
  #3  
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What time of year? Off season in most cities you will find excellent rates walking in a hotel.

DC, Boston, and San Francisco can be expensive but $150 sounds okay.

Are you renting a car?
 
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:50 AM
  #4  
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BeachBoi: Now you have me worried.

GoTravel: Travel in Autumn, no car rental.

Hostels shouldn't be more than $40/night, should they?
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Jul 9th, 2004, 05:55 AM
  #5  
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cuddles, I would bet that you could find a in town cheapie motel room (Best Western, Days Inn, Super 8) for a little more than that just by walking in. I would make hostel reservations if they take them but I would also check cheapie motels.

You should be fine on $150 per day.

What kind of transportation are you using between cities? I would highly recommend Amtrak train travel over Grayhound Bus.
 
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:58 AM
  #6  
Syv
 
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Hostels usually are no more than $20 a night. However, Boston & D.C. are more expensive at $25 - $35 per night.
See www.hostels.com

$150 sounds like plenty to me.

Everything to see in Washington DC is "free". All of the Smithsonian museums, monuments, Arlington Cemetery, even the Zoo. You can get a full day pass on the "Metro" (subway train) for $6.50 to get around to all of the sites in the city and suburbs.

You can always find somewhere to eat a basic meal for $10-$15 -- & of course there are always "fast food" places like McDonalds .
Syv is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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I doubt if you'd find a "cheapie motel" at the rate you're looking for in a major US city. And, if you did, I wouldn't recommend staying there!
HowardR is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:10 AM
  #8  
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GoTravel: Amtrak is what I'm planning to use. From what I've heard it's quicker than Greyhound, mostly cleaner and more comfortable. And I only did a little poking around their sites but there didn't seem to be much difference in price, not enough to really consider the bus IMO...

Thanks for the help, it helps a lot.
cuddles is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:20 AM
  #9  
 
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Hi cuddles!
My son traveled all over Europe with a backpack, staying in hostels and riding the trains. He met great people and had a wonderful time, one that he will always remember as well as he made friends that he still keeps in touch with. I wish you the same good luck~
He used to work for Hostelling International, here is their site, to help you find places to stay and prices.(I heard that the Hostel in NYC was around $40 a night)

http://www.hiayh.org/usatravel/traveldocs.cfm
Scarlett is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:26 AM
  #10  
Syv
 
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You mention "southern areas". If Amtrak will get you to the GRAND CANYON, Arizona -- I highly recommend this area. Southern Utah and Arizona. You could rent a car for a few days from Las Vegas & drive to some of the National Parks. Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park (both southern Utah) are spectacular. Each area is totally different type of scenery. Grand Canyon is in Arizona.
This would add some expense to your trip though. Another possibility to get to these areas would be a tour bus trip from Las Vegas.

Are you including the cost of Amtrak into the $150 per day? If so, your overall costs may exceed $150/day on some days, while other days if you're careful you could spend less.

What is your age? How long do you have for the entire trip? What are your interests in each area? Scenic / history / museums / shopping / pubs, night life?
This might be helpful in our advice to plan your trip.
Syv is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:30 AM
  #11  
 
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Your main problem will be housing. In case you do not know, the cost of a motel or hotel room is often the same for two as it is for one and in other instances the cost for two is only $10 more (e.g. $79 for one but $89 for two). Therefore, your $150 a day should be sufficient if you can sometimes hitch up with other travelers to share the cost of lodging.

Motels such as Hampton Inns and Holiday Inn Express include a breakfast.
jimshep is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:52 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for the help. I didn't expect so much so quickly.

Scarlett: Thanks for the website.

Syv: I am planning on booking Amtrak before I leave so the $150/day is just for hostel, food and sights. I'm 20 and the trip is for 3 weeks.
I?m interested in museums (history more than art), architecture, some (minimal) shopping, and taking in whatever the city has to offer. And the usual tourist places like the White House and the Golden Gate Bridge?

jimshep: I'm mostly traveling alone so that was one of the reasons for hostels (meeting people). But I might be meeting up with a friend so I'll definitely keep it in mind.
cuddles is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:07 AM
  #13  
Syv
 
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Amtrak being separate, $150 should be fine per day. Some days you'll spend less.

If you are 20, you will not be able to rent a car.

Sounds like you are well on your way planning the trip. Have fun!!!
Syv is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:19 AM
  #14  
 
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I think that both Greyhound and Amtrak offer passes for "unlimited" (restrictions apply) for "x" number of days. While I agree that Amtrak will probably be cleaner & more comfortable, keep in mind that Greyhound will offer more choices of destinations. And often Greyhound is faster than Amtrak, and/or offer more times you can travel.

I've stayed at a few hostels, always HI/AYH facilities, and found them clean & well run. Many of the ones in large cities offer cheap but good food, and/or discounts at local restaurants.

One last suggestion: use a better title. Many people who might be able to offer you good, specific tips might skip right over this, as the title, "$" doesn't mean much .... maybe exchange rates? Making money? Saving money? Stuffing envelopes & other scams/spams? Have a good trip & send a trip report back to Fodors after it's over.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:29 AM
  #15  
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Amtrak usually has special rates for those purchasing outside the US that we often cannot purchase.

You may also be able to find cheaper last minute airfare from DC, BOS, or NYC to SFO roundtrip than the train will cost.
 
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:34 AM
  #16  
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cuddles, I randomly plugged in dates on www.itasoftware.com for roundtrip air travel from the East Coast to San Francisco.

I found $216US including taxes from LaGuardia in New York to San Francisco leaving 8/14 and returning 8/21.
 
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:35 AM
  #17  
 
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Have you checked Amtrak's schedule to see how long and painful it's going to be to get to the West Coast? It'll likely take you the better of 4 days each way.

You probably know this, but if you're coming from Europe, prepare to be profoundly disappointed in Amtrak's efficiency, comfort and service on cross-country trips.

If it were me, I'd focus on either the East or West coasts.

Get a copy of Let's Go USA. The bible for the student traveler.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:40 AM
  #18  
 
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The USA is huge, and our train service is not comparable to European train. Taking Amtrak from coast to coast is a 2 or 3 day trip, at no savings over airfare. If you are planning on just the east and west coasts, look into a cheap airfare from the east to San Francisco (or whatever). The best prices are usually for round-trips. Orbitz.com will give you the option of checking a variety of days and airports for the cheapest fare.
patg is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:52 AM
  #19  
 
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If your $150 a day is just for accommodations, food and sightseeing, I don't think you will have a problem staying under budget. If you stay in hostels, YOu could easily come out way under budget, depending on what you spend on entertainment and sightseeing.
Go to grocery stores for some of your food and make sandwiches, buy fruit, cookies etc. That way, at least lunch will be cheaper. Carry a jar of peanut butter with you. Then if you are stuck, you'll only have to buy a bun and you wont' go hungry.
Also, you could go to a restaurant at lunch time and have your main meal then, when prices are cheaper than in the evening. Then just have your own sandwich at night, or what ever you've bought at the grocery store.
YOu could watch for specials at buffet restaurants like Shoney's and really have a feast some days.
Breakfast can be expensive, but I think hostels have kitchens where you could make your own toast etc.
Also, go to tourist offices when you arrive in each city and see if any publications have coupons for the sightseeing.
Riding around on the local bus can give you some good views of the city and doesn't cost much.
Look for some museums to have certain days free.
I hope I've given you some ideas that will help.
Have a great time. Travel safe, and I'm sure with care, you'll be under budget.
kodi is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 08:43 AM
  #20  
 
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I forgot to mention, when you are on a budget trip, be sure to bring lots of plastic sandwich bags. Carry some in your day pack. They really come in handy for left overs and snacks and all sorts of things.
Put your film in them to keep them dry, keep tickets dry...etc.
Again, good luck.
kodi is offline  

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