I am based in the UK (London) but would love to spend more time in the USA after spending three weeks there on my honeymoon last year. I am even vaguely thinking about trying to visit all 50 states (say over the next five years). However, there's no way we could afford to repeat what we did for our honeymoon, which was essentially to have a travel agent draw up and book a three week itinerary for us.

So I am looking for any advice on how my wife and I might get over to the States more affordably - and as I'd like to see as much of the country as possible, anywhere would do. Getting there seems to be the biggest problem, as flights seem to start from at least £500 per person, but I would also welcome advice on minimizing the costs of accommodation, internal travel etc.

Also, are there parts of the country that would be cheaper to visit from the UK than others?

  • Have you tried looking for flight special offers? You ought to be able to get a return to the east coast for a lot under £500 if you hunt around. (A lot of list prices are about the £400 mark for example)
    – Gagravarr
    Jun 7 '12 at 13:36

If you are comfortable driving in the US, a long term car rental (~1 month) will be the best and most economical way to get around, even for cross country trips. I would recommend joining the AAA. They provide assistance in charting out itineraries, along with maps and campground locations, which will help save on overnight accommodation.

If you do not drive, an economical option to explore is the Greyhound Discovery Pass. Although well priced, you may have to plan routes before hand, there by limiting flexibility. Also, you will need to account for the expense involved in getting to and from the bus stops.

For air travel, there has been an occasional airline offering an unlimited travel pass for a limited time period, but the benefits of these have been debatable.

  • Thanks - good advice. We drove part of Route 1 in California last year, definitely the best (most flexible) way to see the country... so the AAA is worth a look. And hadn't even thought about camping until now...
    – Nick
    Jun 11 '12 at 12:30
  • 1
    The Greyhound Discovery Pass was discontinued in late 2012. Jul 16 '14 at 1:41
  • An AAA membership will also get you discounts, e.g. at hotels and possibly with car rental.
    – PersonX
    Jun 3 '15 at 21:23

One trick is to sign up to a service like travelzoo, or kayak's fare notifier. They'll alert you to specials.

This way I was able to fly from London to Vancouver for 179 quid (one way) last year, which as you'll know is way cheaper than any other flights usually advertised. It was with Air Transat, if you're wondering.

Once here, you can use Greyhound's discovery pass, or if you book a week in advance you can get half-price tickets. Travelling with a friend also tends to get one of you for free if you book far enough in advance.

Then there's hitchhiking, depending on how you feel about that.

  • 1
    Thanks, will definitely try the flight websites you mention. Though I'd probably draw the line at hitchhiking :-)
    – Nick
    Jun 11 '12 at 12:25

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