There are so many awesome budget travel resources out there for planning your epic road trip. Check out our favorites below!
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If you haven’t heard of Couchsurfing, you need to go and check it out. Stay with locals instead of paying for a hotel, meet awesome people while you’re traveling, and get the insider’s opinion on the area. This is such an amazing way to find more than the tourist traps, make friends in different areas, and have an incredibly memorable experience. You don’t have to use this platform for a place to stay. Their forums are pretty active if you’d just like to find someone to show you around somewhere.
Airbnb is really neat and I’ve had really good experiences using them. Staying in a house with a kitchen can save you a ton of money when you don’t have to go in search of every meal. Stock up on food and cook for yourself. Some even offer extra amenities. The house I stayed at had a bunch of fun stuff for my dogs and brought farm fresh eggs for the morning every day.
This is my favorite way to get around the country. There are campgrounds and RV parks everywhere. Some of them even have bathrooms, showers, laundry, and Wifi. If you’re down with camping, it’s a super inexpensive way to get around.
Now this one is really cool. This is essentially volunteer travel. People around the world will house and feed you in exchange for your help around their property. If you’re handy or have other skills, this could be a really cool way to get around. Some even give you a paycheck. What a neat way to earn your way around the country and meet new people while learning helpful skills.
Another cool way to volunteer in exchange for room and board is through WWOOFing- Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Learn about organic and sustainable farming practices (and eat really yummy fresh food) with your hosts a few hours a day and then have the rest of the day to yourself. There is no exchange of money, but it’s an invaluable experience.
A hostel is like a cheap, social hotel. You rent a bunk (or sometimes a room to yourself, each hostel is different) and have shared living spacing- kitchen, bathroom, living room. This is a cool way to room inexpensively and meet fellow travelers from all over the world. It is NOT the horror story that you see on TV. Sure, you might have a roommate who smells bad, but you might also meet a roommate who becomes a friend for life.
I LOVE Groupon. Thanks to Groupon, I’ve done some cool things that I never would have splurged on with my tight budget. You can find 50% off museum entrances, fun city tours, wine tastings, rock climbing, and so much more. And, usually, even if your Groupon expire, the value you paid doesn’t. You can transfer to another Groupon.
Living Social is a lot like Groupon. Use it to find cool things to do in the cities you’re exploring – even your own home town if you don’t have the money to travel right now!
CityPASS is awesome. I used it in Chicago and was able to skip the around-the-block line for the SkyDeck in Willis Tower. Read the details carefully when you purchase because some of your tickets allow you to skip the admission lines altogether. You can save a ton of money if you’re a museum junkie like me! Your ticket books are good for 9 days after you start using them.
Current cities available:
This is one of my favorite websites/apps. It’s so much fun to play around on and I’ve even found things to do in my area that I never would have known were there! It works a lot like Google Maps where you select the type of place you’re looking for and it will show you where everything fitting that description is on the map around you. They go a step further by allowing you to actually plan your route and find everything there is to do along that route. You can save the route and destinations and access them through the app while you’re on the road. They also give helpful suggestions of things to do in the area. Here are a few screenshots to give you an idea…
Lonely Planet has so many awesome guidebooks to destinations all over the world. It’s nice to read through them and get an idea of the areas you’re heading to.
Search through tours and activities and book in advance, getting the best deals, right through Viator. Check it out here.
I mentioned this app above and it’s awesome. It’s one of my favorite budget travel resources. Get it.
Meetups is a cool way to meet up with people in an area that are into the same things as you. We’ve found hiking groups, writing groups, D&D groups, and more.
The gas buddy app helps you find the best gas prices around you. With gas prices being what they are, it’s super helpful to save where you can. I also recommend getting a credit card that offers cash back on fuel purchases like this one does. All the fuel savings!
The iExit app lets you know what’s coming up on the next exits while driving on the highway. SUPER helpful when you’ve got to pee like a mofo. Get a heads up on bathrooms, restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and more!
If you’re like me and take A MILLION photos with your phone and then it starts yelling at you about space, you need one of these two apps. Box.com is $5/month for 100GB of file sharing (try it free through this link) space (that can hold a LOT of photos). Dropbox is free up to 2GB or $10/month for 1TB. Take your photos, sync them to either app, and then start over again!
The Food Tripping app is supposed to help find healthy food resources around you- grocery stores, farmer’s markets, etc. This is an AMAZING way to save money. Eating out can be a real budget drainer. The app doesn’t have any good reviews, but it looks like people were pissed that it didn’t include major chains and fast food? Clearly they missed the point. It works just fine for me! Being new to Texas, I found two farmer’s markets and an Indian food restaurant that I NEVER would have known existed. Check it out for yourself before you give in to the silly reviews.
Waze is a navigation app that alerts you to upcoming traffic, police, road hazards, and more. The notifications are put in by other drivers, helping each other out in real time. If you’re driving past and see that the hazard is cleared up, you can clear the notification from the app. It’s pretty cool!
The WanderU app searches bus and train tickets between any two points to help you get the best deal. You can use this to travel across country if you don’t have a car or to help you navigate through a city you’re exploring without having to drive (like NYC- I will NEVER drive there).
You take for granted how useful a weather app can be. Always know what’s going on in the forecast for your travels. If your week long trip to Florida would be ruined by an impending hurricane, it’s best to check ahead.
I’m sorry, but I can’t road trip without sweet tunes. Get Spotify Premium to download your playlists in case you’re out of service areas.
That’s what we’ve got for you so far! Have any suggestons? Contact us!