Uncovering the Financial Side: Budgeting for a Three-Month American Adventure


Uncovering the Financial Side: Budgeting for a Three-Month American Adventure

When talking about the vastness of the United States, it boggles the mind. You could spend a lifetime exploring the diverse landscapes, cities, and coastlines and still barely scratch the surface. Maybe you’re drawn to the breathtaking national parks; in which case, I’d suggest checking out Utah’s ‘Mighty 5.’ Or perhaps you’re attracted by urban vibes and the thrilling experience of tasting the finest foods and exploring vibrant attractions. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe on sandy beaches during summer or explore every conceivable corner of the country, the US offers an inexhaustible range of opportunities if you have at least three months to spare. Notably, you should tackle this adventure with a clear idea of your budget.

So, how much do you need to set aside for food while touring the states for three months?

In many places around the world, home cooking and shopping at local markets can be easy ways to save money. But that’s not always true in the US. Here, groceries, especially healthy fruits and vegetables, can be quite expensive. A week’s grocery haul for two may set you back around $200, depending on the store. On the other hand, eating out isn’t necessarily a budget-buster. Many restaurants offer meals for two costing around $20. Casual dining chains are particularly affordable, with meals not only affordable but filling. Even popular fast-food chains like McDonald’s or Wendy’s offer meals for just under $10 for two. So, dining out might be a reasonable option if you’re not planning to stay in the luxury districts of San Francisco or New York.

But, if you want to splurge on a lavish dining experience, be prepared to pay between $35 to $100 per person. Of course, this can fluctuate widely; meals in Manhattan will usually be higher than those in Philadelphia. In general, two people might spend between $150 to $200 per week on groceries, or around $800 to $1000 per week if exploring the dining scene.

Next up, transportation costs.

These can vary significantly depending on where you’re heading. For instance, costs are typically higher in New England compared to the West. On the bright side, the East Coast offers more economical public transportation options. With planning, you can snag bus tickets between cities for as little as $5 per person. Meanwhile, renting a car could be a viable option if your schedule permits an extended booking period, which often comes at a discounted rate – around $1200 for 12 weeks. Add another $50 weekly for fuel, and you have yourself the liberty to cruise around the country as you please. Keep in mind, though, the East Coast has pricey tolls (up to $18 per bridge crossing in NYC), while parking fees in cities can vary between 50 cents and $60 per day.

Going for accommodation options?

You might want to reconsider conventional hotels and opt for Airbnb. While places like the Holiday Inn Express can cost around $100 per night, Airbnb offers unique and affordable stays from as low as $20 per night in some amazing spaces. Motel chains offer a decent alternative, especially if you are road-tripping. Rooms outside major cities may cost around $60 per night, and while some of these have been refurbished with comforting amenities, others offer a more ‘adventurous’ experience straight out of a horror movie.

Lastly, let’s consider entertainment expenses for your three-month road trip.

The US offers a plethora of free or cheap entertainment options. Whether you’re in a big city or small town, there are usually parks and museums that don’t charge entrance fees. For sports fans, a Red Sox game at Fenway Park costs around $35 for average seating. Movie theaters generally charge $10 for evening shows and $6 for afternoon matinees. If you’re after thrill-packed experiences at national parks, often a voluntary donation is all you’ll need.

So, if you’re wondering, “How much money do I need to travel America for 3 months?” this gives you a ballpark figure; around $150 per week for transportation, $200 per week for food, $350 per week for accommodations, and discretionary spending for entertainment. Even with careful budgeting, you can have an unforgettable experience traversing the great USA without breaking the bank.

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