Author Topic: Traveling the US on the cheap  (Read 2622 times)

badassity

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Traveling the US on the cheap
« on: January 22, 2014, 10:29:15 AM »
Hi all - I just discovered Mr. Badass, er Mr. Money Mustache through an article on MarketWatch.com and I have been reding up on all his blog posts. We moved to Spain a few years ago to escape the rat race and so far all is good except that we are still spending pretty much all of the money we earn.  Mr. Moustache has inspired me to reconsider all of the crap we surround ourselves with, thinking that it is 'needed'... Anyway, on to the point of this post.  For economic reasons we don't get back to the 'ol US of A as often as we'd like.  We have some friends in PA and NC that we'd like to visit next summer and I'd like some advice on how to do it without getting ripped off.  the first thing I think of is we have to rent a car, but thats damned expensive.  Any ideas?  My friends in PA live out in the sticks, but my friends in NC live in Raleigh...

Albert

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 11:48:34 AM »
You probably do need a car and in my limited experience with it US is one of the cheapest places in the world for car rental. Lot's of deals plus gas is half a price of where you live now.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 12:36:21 PM by Albert »

CanuckStache

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 12:01:53 PM »
My gf and I have driven across the continent several times, pretty much every year. We camp at state parks along the way that seem interesting, and pull out the Coleman stove at rest stops to cook lunch to avoid fast food traps. Actually doesn't take that long, plus the dog gets to stretch her legs. Doing those two things cuts the costs waaaaay down. $10 a night camping vs $100 a night hotels. As far as renting a car - I find most rental agencies will very easily upgrade you when you're picking up the car, so I always rent the cheapest. Then when I'm getting in the car, if there's anything at all that seems off I ask for a different vehicle. Always works. Plus since most people rent the cheap cars, they often don't have one available anyways and need to give you a higher up model regardless.

jpo

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 12:24:51 PM »
If you are just going between friends, you can probably make the car trip from Raleigh to PA in one day.

priceline.com has been a winner on car rental deals for me.

There are a fair number of Mustachians in Raleigh, we've had a few meetups so far. :-)

Jamesqf

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 12:51:49 PM »
How long are you going to be in the US?  If more than a couple of weeks, it might be cheaper to just have friends buy a (cheap, older) car for you, then sell it when you leave.

GuitarStv

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 01:44:14 PM »



How much time do you have?

bogart

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 02:34:19 PM »
Aside from visiting friends, what do you want to do while you're here?

Is there any hope of persuading your PA friends to drive to/from the nearest major PA city served by train and/or major bus line, in connection with picking you up from same?  You could combine with some "city" activities (good restaurant, museum) and treat them, if you wanted to.  Might not save money (or might, or could be a cost), but introduces a different possible set of activities with that group, if you are interested.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Traveling the US on the cheap
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 03:22:38 PM »
Would the first friend let you borrow a car to travel to the other's place?

NC to PA is an easy one-day trip unless you want to sight-see on the way. I've never had to price rentals before but the actual fuel cost of a vacation is negligible compared to hotel/dining out. Camping and making your own meals saves far more than your mode of transportation.