When it comes to backpacking, it’s always a good idea to research a bit about your destination to try to find out how you can make the most out of the limited funds you have to spend. And when it comes to backpacking in the United States, it is even more necessary to do so. Washington, New York and San Francisco, 3 of the most popular tourist destinations, can be super-expensive. But here we give you ideas on how to make them cheap.
First and foremost, as a budget traveller you need to look for cheap accommodations and in the Big Apple, this can be a daunting prospect. Thankfully there are plenty of cheap NYC hostels in Manhattan, Brooklyn and close to JFK airport.
While in New York, to keep costs down, there are several things to consider. Firstly, eating at restaurants can turn out to be much pricier than at first glance, especially with local tipping etiquette. However there are lots of alternatives as NYC is home to the cheap eats such as $0.99 pizza slices and street vendor hot dogs (with extra sauerkraut). If you sign up for a New York Explorer Pass, you’ll save lots of money on visiting attractions like MoMA, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and more. A lovely afternoon picnic in Central Park followed by a stroll round any of the interesting neighborhoods will keep costs down.
San Francisco has grown to become just as popular as New York, and just as expensive (if not more). Backpacking San Francisco on a budget is possible, especially since it’s a smaller city. Much of what the city has to offer is within walking distance. The Fisherman’s Wharf is free to enjoy, as are the incredible views of the Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. A great way to see the town—and other cities as well—is with CityPass, which gives you unlimited rides on the iconic trolleys as well as admission to top sites like the aquarium, SFMOMA and the California Academy of Sciences. When you get hungry, look out for delis and minimarkets, where you’ll find the cheapest eats.
Back on over to the east coast, you find an expensive capital waiting for you. However, it doesn’t have to be bank-breaking. Washington hostels are plentiful, and if you follow previous advice to book early you can save a few bucks. Many of the great things to do and see in Washington DC are free. The city is filled with memorials, from the Lincoln Memorial to Arlington National Cemetery and the Washington Monument. The White House and Capitol Building are included in the list of places to observe from outside, all for free. The Library of Congress is a must-see, along with the city’s museums. Along the Mall, you’ll find the grandest collection of museums in the country, the largest of which are free. When it comes time to dine, eat cheaply in Little Ethiopia, or find Salvadoran pupusas everywhere.
Despite the purported expense, there’s always more than meets the eye in even the most expensive of cities.