How to Travel the USA Without a Car | American Travel Blogger
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How to Travel the USA Without a Car

It’s pretty well-known that the USA has quite the ‘car culture’ with most Americans choosing to travel around on four wheels. 95% of American households have their own vehicle, and those who can’t afford one tend to ride public transport.

But as a visitor to the US car rentals can be expensive and driving rules can be intimidating, so you might find yourself wanting to get around by alternative means.

To guide you, here’s how to travel the USA without a car:

Ride the Bus

Between states you can travel by bus – either the Greyhound or the Megabus. The bus is by far the cheapest option, although distances are far so be prepared for a long ride. The Megabus is comfortable with plug sockets and Wi-Fi, although the fierce air conditioning can get a little chilly onboard so be prepared to take a jacket. With ticket prices starting at just $1, the Megabus is an incredibly affordable way to get from state to state.

Take the Amtrak

Your other option for travelling between states is to take the Amtrak rail, which offers some of the world’s most scenic train journeys. Many people choose to take Amtrak holidays in order to explore some of America’s incredible beauty. The Coast Starlight will take you on an incredibly beautiful coastal journey from Los Angeles to Seattle, while the California Zephyr will take you from East to West starting out in Chicago and ending up in San Francisco. Most long-distance routes have sleeping cars so you can arrive at your destination feeling well-rested.

Look out for cheap flights

Air travel within the United States tends to be a lot more expensive than in Europe, but nevertheless you can still get some good deals. Low Cost airlines like Spirit or Frontier offer some cheap fares from state to state, or you can collect air miles to get free flights on airlines like Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines.

Use taxi apps

When you get to the major cities most of them will have taxi apps like Uber or Lyft, although Uber was banned in Austin, Texas recently. The beauty of using these apps is that they allow you to get much cheaper taxis and you don’t have to worry about using cash.

Get familiar with public transport systems

The US isn’t exactly known for having the best public transportation systems in the world but things are gradually improving. Each city has its own modes of public transport so make sure you do your research to find out the best ways of getting around. For instance In New York City you have the subway, while in San Francisco you have the famous cable cars and streetcars.

If you’re worried about getting around the US without a car, don’t worry. It is possible, despite what you may have heard!

Have you travelled around the USA without a car? We’d love to hear your stories below!

Victoria Brewood

Although very much British, Victoria always felt like she was meant to be living the 'American Dream'. She loves the US and has travelled to over 14 states.

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  • Justine Smith
    Posted at 00:56h, 31 December Reply

    I recently traveled in Florida without a car. I flew into W. Palm Beach and stayed with a friend in a nearby town for a few days. Then I took the public bus called Palm Tran from downtown Lake Worth to downtown Delray Beach. I chose to stay in both of these towns because they each have a very walkable downtown where you can eat, drink, go to the parks and shop on foot if you stay near the downtowns. I chose to stay at the Colony Hotel in Delray Beach because it is located right downtown with a half mile walk to a beautiful beach and lots of restaurants and entertainment options at the door. The hotel is historic with a beautiful old Florida style lobby and bar and includes a buffet breakfast. I ate at the Deck 84 which is located on the Intercoastal and went out to hear music at Johnnie Brown’s bar. At the end of my stay, I took Amtrak from Delray Beach to Washington D.C. The Amtrak train trip took 23 hours and my meals were included. I slept in a budget roomette which had bunk beds, a small sink and toilet in the room. The Amtrak trip was wonderful.
    Delray beach has an European feel to it. I chose this town because I knew I would not have a car and I did not want to rent one. On previous trips to Florida, I have stayed in St. Petersburg and in Hollywood Beach. These are both towns where it is easy to get around without a car. They both have trolleys which cover the downtown areas and public transportation that can take you to nearby towns. I have also taken the Sun Rail which is an intercity rail. The Brightline is a high speed rail that connects Fort Lauderdale, Miami and W. Palm Beach. I have not yet taken it but look forward to trying it next time.

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