The US is often a popular travel destination for UK tourists and international tourists alike. But just like any vacation, it can be easy to quickly blow through your budget or spend more than you bargained for. Below are a few of our tips for how to save money when travelling to some of the most popular cities in the US.
New York, New York
New York City is one of the most popular destinations for international tourists — and a much shorter flight for UK tourists than other destinations on this list. As far as hotels go, you’ll be able to find a better rate during off seasons or if you’re willing to stay farther uptown or outside of Manhattan. After hotels, the next big thing is spending money on activities like Broadway shows or museums. Many museums, venues, and sites offer discounted tickets or free entrance at certain times (but be prepared to wait in long lines).
If you want to save money getting around the city (and if you don’t want to travel farther than central Manhattan), walk! Because the city is a grid, it’s very easy to get around. Or, pick up a subway map and stick to taking the subway (fare is $2.75) over taking cabs. Depending on how often you plan to use the subway and where all you want to go, it might be best to purchase a seven-day (or longer) unlimited ride MetroCard.
Although you might not think so, there are plenty of affordable places to eat in the city — you just might have to look a bit harder, or make some sacrifices. Definitely do some research online before you go so you’re not stuck overpaying for a meal in Times Square or Little Italy. However, for really cheap eats, look for $1 pizza places or head to Chinatown for some delicious and affordable Chinese food. Need some more cheap recommendations? See where the college students go.
Las Vegas, Nevada
More so than some of the other destinations on this list, it’s fairly easy to watch your spending in Las Vegas while still experiencing all that the city has to offer. Depending on the time of year — or if you can score a discount online — you should be able to find a hotel for under $100 per night. It would also be helpful to pick a hotel that’s closest to the casinos or attractions you want to visit so that you’ll save money on transportation costs.
After that, the main thing you’ll need to budget for are transportation and food costs, but even then, there are plenty of affordable restaurants in the city. And while renting a car might be a good option to consider in Vegas, don’t forget to account for parking fees — parking rates have gone up in the city in recent years.
For entertainment, look online for discounted show tickets or promotions on sites like Tix4Tonight or Groupon if you’re debating on which show to see — you might find a deal for a certain show that is too good to pass up. You also can’t visit Vegas without hitting up a few casinos, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Simply set a budget for playing the slots or a game of Texas Hold’em, one of the most popular types of poker.
Los Angeles, California
Who doesn’t want to visit sunny California for a chance to see Hollywood or Disneyland? While these are both great attractions, they can both quickly destroy your budget. To save money, look for discounted tickets online (often in the form of bulk passes), pack your own snacks and reusable water bottles, set a budget for any souvenirs or treats, and share food if you have to eat out (American portions are usually large).
Just like with booking a hotel in New York City, it’s possible to find a better rate in Los Angeles during off seasons or if you choose to stay a bit farther away from the popular destinations. You’ll also be able to find some cheap eats if you do a little research online beforehand, but if that fails, check out the ever-popular In-N-Out fast food chain.
In cities like L.A. where public transportation isn’t as commonly used as New York, it might be best to rent a car for the duration of your stay. Renting a car is one of the most cost-effective ways to get around the city (it can be as little as $30 per day), and you’ll have the freedom to easily journey elsewhere if you wish to see more of the state.