How to travel cross-country on the cheap
By Aimee Heckel
In this fast-paced world, there’s something deeply satisfying in slowing it all down and enjoying the journey. And, as the warm weather inches closer — and you have a few weeks (or more) off work this summer — you might be tempted to plan a cross-country road trip.
Here are some tips on traveling cross-country on the cheap:
Consider couch-surfing. You know those distant relatives and old high school friends who are scattered in different states around the country? Organize your friends and connections on Facebook by location (here’s a guide to help), and plot out your trip from home to home, couch-surfing style. In addition to saving money, you’ll get to catch up in person with people you miss.
For the cities in between where you don’t know a gracious friend, try couch-surfing with strangers. (Ahem, as your mother would warn, be safe.) Couchsurfing.com connects more than 6 million people in 100,000 cities who are willing to open their doors and fold out their couches for travelers.
Tip: There’s even a Couchsurfing app.
Get ideas from inspiring websites. Journeying James is a website with a simple mission: “Spend less. Travel more.” Check out his article about how to find cheap accommodations (start with asking the locals).
Plan ahead. In “How to fund your wanderlust,” Journeying James says that before he traveled around the country, he planned his itinerary for two years.
If you don’t have a car, rent an economy car. You’ll likely get the best mileage.
Check deals for inexpensive car rental offerings. For example, Travelocity is currently offering Enterprise weekend rentals starting at $9.99 per day. Order through ShopAtHome.com and get up to 5 percent cash back.
Be smart with your money. If you’re going to be gone for several weeks or longer, set up automatic online bill pay. Download your bank’s app on your phone so you can check your bank statement on the road. Adjust your spending as you go; be flexible.
The website Getrichslowly.com takes it one step further: “To keep receipts organized, we categorized them and mailed them home every few days,” the website advises.
Consider getting a rewards credit card for gas. Even if you’re not big on credit cards, with how much money you will be spending on gas, you may as well get something in return. Indexcreditcards.com is a helpful website that compares different options.
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Image courtesy of couchsurfing.com.