Jul 9th, 2004, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 849
I'll second the recommendation for the Let's Go USA book; I've also found the Moon handbooks helpful. Your budget sounds fine, even generous, if you stay in hostels most of the time. I stayed in a (the?) DC AYH hostel with my family about 5 years ago, and I think the 4 of us together paid $60 a night for a family room. It was a little run down, of course, but we felt safe there. We all enjoyed the people we met, as well as the convenience of a kitchen to keep costs down.
travellyn is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 534
You may also consider checking with some of the colleges and universities in the areas you will be traveling. Many of them offer dorm rooms for cheap money when school is out.

mm is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
San Francisco. Hostels up to $40 for a separate room, maybe even cheaper. I beleive for up to $20 you can share a room, and the hostel is in the center of everything, on Mason @ O'Farrell. Some fast food, forgot which one, on Mason @ Geary - a block off. Chinese, Thao, Vietnamese restaurants are the cheapest. I would budget for food $50 max. Get a MUNI fast pass for whatever days you are here. Skip the City Pass. If your stay is flexible try to be here first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month - this is when most museums are free. Check all websites. The sightseeing depends on your interests. You can hike in Golden Gate park or walk around all day for free or take a boat to Alcatraz or...
FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Of all the laconic titles, this one probably takes first prize!

cuddles: the recommendations for staying in hostels is a great one. Just be sure that it is an International Youth Hostel location. Get their membership card, as the card entitles you to better rates (e.g. $15 versus $18 without the card).

While the hostel in San Francisco on O'Farrell is downtown, it is in the Tenderloin. A much better SF hostel is the one in Fort Mason. Dream location! Check that one out.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, try the hostel in San Pedro. The one in Santa Monica is supposedly quite good also.

I once picked up a friend at the Sedona, Arizona IYH hostel and my fuzzy recollection was that it was a great location and very rustic.

Hostels can run you anywhere from $15 to $30 a night, depending on location.

I second the suggestion of not travelling by Amtrak but of focusing on either the east coast or the west coast.

Alternatively, you could also do both east and west coasts: travel by Amtrak down the east coast. Then fly out to the West Coast, travel up and down the West Coast and inland to Arizona. Then fly back to the east coast.

Airfare across the US can run as little as $300 round trip (taxes and fees included). Try Jetblue and Southwest Airlines.

If you stay in hostels and eat well but frugally - we have great fruits and vegetables in California in the supermarkets! - you could do with about $50 a day. So, what are you going to do with all that money - the $100/day - you are going to save?

Enjoy the US!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 538
I think Amtrak is a fine choice. The few times I've traveled by train, there were plenty of empty seats, so it should be easy to stretch out and sleep, and it is infinitely more comfortable than an airplane. From an airplane window, you can see clouds. From a train window, you can see the USA! The only drawback is that you'll be spending more than half your allotted time on the train. Be sure to take some snacks to supplement the train food. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

dwoodliff is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 882
My way of saving money is not to eat 3 meals a day or to just bring healthy snacks to munch on all day long. $150 should be plenty for food and extras, since you are not American you'll eat less anyway.
Stephanie is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 03:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Really reconsider Amtrak vs flying, Amtrak is not bad for the Northesat corridor - but other than that the service is abysmal - takes forever, very few trains, always late - sometimes by many hours, etc. You can easily fly betwwen the east and west coasts for about $250 in 5 hours. Amtrak will take about 4 days - each way - a big waste of your valuable vacation time.
nytraveler is offline  

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