Backpacking in the USA - Budget Travel in USA - Backpacker USA
Everyone wants to go to the USA. Backpackers, naturally, are first in line. So what’s the allure of backpacking in the USA? It could be the fantastic beaches along the coast, or the majestic mountains around the continent; the peaceful countryside, or the bustling little towns found all over the USA. Backpackers, however, are more often drawn to the most famous cities in the USA. Backpacking then becomes a challenge as travelers decide where to go first.
New York: The Big Apple
As you go backpacking, USA’s east coast has the perfect city to get you started – New York. With so much to see, time becomes a problem when you’re backpacking; USA has more things to offer, and this fabulous city is just the start.
As a USA backpacker in Manhattan, the best way to start is a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Many a backpacker, USA tourist, or even long-time native will definitely get a kick out of seeing the skyline from this location. A nighttime visit to the Empire State Building is also in order. Of course, a visit to New York cannot be complete unless you visit Liberty and Ellis Islands for some history. Don’t forget to spend a lovely day in Central Park to relax!
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Chicago: The Windy City
When in the USA, backpacking means you’ll have to move on. Your next stop should be Chicago. Like most great cities in the world, Chicago’s main attraction are its skyscrapers. Visit the Sears Tower and enjoy a breathtaking view from the tallest building in the USA. Backpacking has never been this good!
A visit to Chicago is incomplete without a visit to its neighborhoods to enjoy great food. Visit Greektown for the best Greek cuisine, or Chinatown for Asian culinary delights. You can find the bulk of Chicago’s bars and pubs in Bucktown. Indeed, numerous tastes converge in the USA; backpackers can experience all these in Chicago.
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Miami: Little Cuba
As a backpacker, USA demands that you experience the diverse cultures it offers. There’s no better place for this than Miami. It’s most notable charm is the neighborhoods of Little Havana and Little Haiti; you’ll literally feel like you’re in another country – something you can only experience when backpacking, USA-style.
You also can’t miss the Art Deco District with its colorful collection of over 800 buildings. Throw in Miami’s world-renowned beaches, and you’ve stumbled upon paradise in the USA. Backpacking will take you anywhere, and this is true in Miami.
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Las Vegas: Sin City
While you’re backpacking, USA will never fail to surprise you. Nothing can prepare you for the sensory overload that is Las Vegas. From the numerous casinos along The Strip to the wacky wedding chapels, a wild ride awaits the backpacker. USA can’t get better than this - enough said!
Of course, USA backpacking is never enough without a trip to the Hoover Dam. It’s just a hop and a skip away (by bus) from Vegas.
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San Francisco: Shaky Town
Experiencing something new is the whole point of backpacking; USA gives you that with San Francisco’s notorious districts. Don’t fail to visit the Haight neiborhood for a trip back to the Flower Power era, or the Castro, the world’s largest gay community, regardless if you’re so inclined or not. Take a ride on the cable car and the streetcar, and take in all the sights and sounds.
Of course, you can’t miss out on a trip to Alcatraz and a walk across the famous Golden Gate Bridge. At the end of the day, go relax and have some seafood on Pier 39.
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Los Angeles: City of Angels
While backpacking in the USA, you can’t miss Los Angeles. Think Hollywood, and you’ll need no further explanation. Take a walk down the Walk of Fame and through the many movie studios. Gawk at the rich and famous on Rodeo Drive or Beverly Hills. Pose for those photo ops beneath the Hollywood sign. Whatever you do, you’ll be a part of LA’s glitz and glamor – definitely not bad for a backpacker! USA’s tinsel town is the best place to see – and experience – how the other half lives.
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Seattle: The Emerald City
Seattle: The Emerald City For the backpacker, USA’s cities offer something new each time, and Seattle’s no different. You’ll be treated to water everywhere, and mountains, too! Take a ride on the ferryboats to go across Elliott Bay, or camp under the stars in the Olympic mountains. It’s an excellent contrast that makes backpacking in the USA worthwhile.
You can also splurge on an expensive elevator ride up the Space Needle and visit the Experience Music Project. Don’t forget to have a cuppa at the very first Starbucks in Pike’s Place Market.
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Staying on Budget
Yes, in the USA, backpackers definitely won’t be left wanting. The next challenge when backpacking in the USA is staying within budget. It can be expensive to travel around the USA; backpacking with savvy will easily help you stay within your means.
The Inexpensive Lodging Challenge
For a backpacker, USA can be quite challenging when it comes to lodging. The good news is there are better alternatives available than cheap motel rooms, if you know where to look.
When backpacking in the USA’s more rural parts, campsites are an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re traveling in the summer, you can also get in touch with universities in most areas because most of them rent out their dormitory rooms for reasonable prices. Of course, there’s also the cheap lodging offered by the YMCA and YWCA.
Compared to Europe, hostels aren’t common in the USA. Backpackers, however, will be happy to know that they are starting to gain popularity and increasing in numbers, and are very inexpensive. Of course we are always here to help with hostels!
Travel By Bus: See and Save More
The bus is the cheapest way to travel across the USA. Backpacking folks will definitely benefit from this cheap alternative.
Before you travel by bus, consider its disadvantages. The US is widespread, so cross-country travel will take days. You must provide your own lodging and meals – not ideal, when on a limited schedule for backpacking. USA, however, has a beautiful countryside, and you’ll get to see it when traveling by bus.
Fly For Less
You’re naturally averse to flying when you’re a backpacker. USA’s vast distances, however, are more easily reached by air. Don’t fret, though, because with most airlines in the USA, backpackers can get reduced rates for most flights.
Get the lowest fares by purchasing round-trip tickets, including a Saturday night stay at least three weeks in advance. Check different sources and dates before purchasing tickets; best plan your itinerary when backpacking, USA-style.
City Hopping By Train
As a backpacker, USA’s rail system, Amtrak, might be a disappointment, so it’s not the primary option for traveling. If you’re mostly traveling between major cities, however, it’s considerably cheaper than multiple bus and airline tickets. You can get unlimited thirty-day passes between $300-$550, depending on the season.
Private transport is preferred in the USA. Backpacking in a group, therefore, offers an excellent advantage. Young travelers combine resources to buy or rent a cheap vehicle. This makes it easier to get around, and it’s fun, too!
Beware Of Tourist Traps
Like everywhere else, the USA has tourist traps. These are businesses that sell overpriced inferior goods, particularly around popular tourist attractions in the USA. Backpackers must avoid them.
While backpacking in the USA, avoid vendors, shops, and even restaurants around popular attractions and airports. Buy souvenirs and food away from tourist areas when you’re backpacking - USA has no shortage of them.