Have you ever dreamed of exploring the vast and diverse landscapes of America but thought it was too expensive? Think again! All you need is a sense of adventure, an open mind, and a willingness to travel on a budget.

Backpacking, or traveling with just a backpack and minimal gear, has become a popular way to see the world. And with its breathtaking natural wonders, vibrant cities, and rich culture, America is the perfect destination for budget backpackers.

In this guide, we’ll take you through some tips and tricks for exploring America on a shoestring budget.

Choosing Your Route

The first step to budget backpacking in America is choosing your route. With 50 states to choose from, the possibilities are endless! Consider starting on either coast and making your way across the country, or focus on a specific region such as the Pacific Northwest or the Southwest.

One of the best ways to save money is by traveling during off-peak seasons. This not only means cheaper flights and accommodation, but also fewer crowds and a more authentic experience. Avoid holiday weekends and peak summer months if possible.

You can also save money by choosing to stay in one region for a longer period. This allows you to fully explore the area without constantly moving from place to place, which can be costly.


Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses while traveling, but there are ways to cut costs. Consider staying in hostels or using websites like Couchsurfing to find free accommodation with locals.

Camping is also a budget-friendly option, especially in national parks and forests where campsites can be as low as $10 per night. Just make sure you have the proper gear and permits if necessary.

Another way to save money on accommodation is by using Airbnb or house-sitting websites. These options often offer a more authentic and local experience, while also being budget-friendly.


Transportation can eat up a large portion of your budget, but there are ways to minimize costs. Consider taking overnight buses or trains instead of flights, as they tend to be cheaper and also save you money on accommodation.

If you do need to take a flight, be sure to compare prices from different airlines and look for deals or discounts. Another option is to rent a car with friends and split the costs, especially if you plan on exploring more remote areas.

Lastly, don’t forget about walking! Many cities in America are easy to explore by foot, and it’s not only budget-friendly but also a great way to truly immerse yourself in the local culture.

Food and Activities

Eating out can quickly add up, so consider cooking your meals using groceries from local markets or discount stores. Not only is this more budget-friendly, but it also allows you to try new foods and flavors.

When it comes to activities, prioritize free or low-cost options. National parks, museums with suggested donations, and free walking tours are just a few examples of budget-friendly activities in America.

And for those seeking adventure, horseback riding in Utah is a must-do experience. With its stunning red rock formations and vast open spaces, Utah is the perfect destination for horseback riding enthusiasts.

Other states like Colorado and Montana also offer budget-friendly outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. If you’re a thrill-seeker, consider visiting an amusement park during off-peak season for lower ticket prices.

Embracing the Local Culture

One of the best parts of budget backpacking is immersing yourself in the local culture. This not only enriches your experience but also allows you to save money by avoiding tourist traps.

Attend local events and festivals, try street food, and interact with locals to learn about their way of life. You’ll often find that these experiences are much more authentic and budget-friendly than touristy activities.


Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your experience. With some planning, flexibility, and a sense of adventure, you can explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of America without breaking the bank. So pack your bags, grab your backpack, and get ready for an unforgettable budget backpacking trip across the U.S.! So why wait? Start planning your budget adventure today!


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