Flying is the most common means of traveling long distances in the USA. Nearly every US airline offers tickets at reduced prices on most flights, but you must know how to find the bargains. The lowest US airfares are normally offered on advance-purchase, round-trip tickets that include a Saturday night stay. Always try to purchase your ticket at least three weeks in advance and always include a Saturday night in your round trip itinerary. Even if you only need a one way ticket, it can often be cheaper to purchase a round trip ticket that includes a weekend stay. You can always throw away the unused portion of the ticket. You'd better check more than one source for any airline ticket. If you have some flexibility in your itinerary, test a few different options for dates of travel to find the lowest rate.
In America travel industry is one of the most rapidly developing. Buses are the cheapest means of transportation across the country and bus stations are more common than airports. However, the bus may not be the most economical alternative when you consider that cross-country bus travel takes several days and that you must provide your own meals and lodging. Special reduced fares are available for students and international travelers. You should carefully consider the trade-off between bus and air travel. Airplanes are much faster, but the bus lets you see the country as you travel.
As a rule, rail travel is less popular in America. America travel industry reports show that Americans consider this means of transportation expensive, unreliable and inconvenient. However, if you plan a lot of travel between major cities, trains can be an economical means of transportation. Depending on the season, USA Rail passes costs between three hundred and five hundred fifty dollars. This may seem expensive, but if you plan on a lot of travel in a short time, it can be much cheaper than multiple airplane or bus tickets. Remember that trains tend to travel mostly between larger cities!
Hitchhiking can be dangerous, and it is illegal in most states. You should avoid hitchhiking in the USA as you could end up in trouble with the local police.
Finding an inexpensive place to stay can be a challenge in America. America travel industry, however, offers some economical alternatives to a cheap motel or to overstuffing a hotel room. If you are traveling through the more rural parts of America, almost all of the larger state and national parks have campsites which can be rented for extremely low rates, sometimes as low as five dollars a night. Usually this includes a grill for cooking, space for tents, a communal toilet and a shower area. Private campgrounds cost a little more but usually include some added amenities like hot water, swimming pool, Laundromat and grocery store.
Many large universities rent out their dormitory rooms during the summer. In almost any major US city, there is at least one university engaged in such a program. Typically you get a room and a shower for a modest price. Unfortunately, most universities only have open dormitory space in the summer, between the end of June and the beginning of September. You must call the housing office of the given university to obtain information about this type of economical lodging.
All major cities have branches of the YMCA and YWCA that offers inexpensive lodging. The room prices usually include showers, a place to sleep and sometimes a hot meal. The YM/YWCA are a bit more expensive than other forms of low-cost housing, but they are also more reliable and more comfortable.
Youth Hostels are not as common in the USA as they are in most European countries, but hostels are gaining in popularity throughout the USA. Often, they are the least expensive accommodations. For a modest fee, you get a bed for the night with a hot shower and often a free breakfast.
For America travel industry and tourism are major economy boosters so the state established maximum comfortable conditions for domestic and foreign travelers.