The US is a huge place, really immense – like can spend a lifetime traveling it and still not see it all. Maybe you’re a nature lover and want to see the national parks – I highly recommend Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks by the way. Maybe you’re a city dweller and want to try the best food and attractions. Or maybe you want to travel the coasts and beaches during the summer. If you have three months on your passport, and you want to see as much of the US as possible, you should be aware of what’s cheap and what’s not in America right now. That way you’ll know how much money you’ll need.
How Much Money for Food in the USA for 3 Months?
Almost anywhere in the world, you would save money by cooking at home and buying at markets and groceries. That’s not always the case in the US. For example, a week’s worth of groceries that include healthy servings of fruits and vegetables for two people might cost up to $200 (depending on the grocer chain you visit), whereas it’s easy for two people to eat at a restaurant for $20 or less including tip. This really ranges depending on if you are in rural America or in an expensive USA city like San Francisco or New York. Breakfast, brunch, and lunch are the particularly inexpensive meals to eat out, and if you like the food served at a lot of the major sit-down restaurant chains, you could definitely get by on the same price (expect good food options but not a lot of flare). If you go the fast food route, a Big Mac is a Big Mac. $10 or less can easily buy a meal for two people at a McDonalds or Wendy’s. Just make sure to save back a couple dollars for antacids and insulin shots.
Obviously, the cities will have much more exciting and extravagant options for fine dining. Being that you want to live a little more elegant, a nice three-course meal with a glass of wine can range from $35 to $100 per person. Granted, this is where there is the most fluctuation. Manhattan will have largely higher prices than Philly.
So for two people, depending on the depth of your tastes and/or wallet, two people could expect to spend between $150/$200 if you are buying from the supermarket and more towards $800/$1000 if you were eating out every meal a week. It really ranges. Sit down restaurants with tipping really add up. Hopefully you won’t need surf n’ turf at every meal, but just know you’ll need to spend one of the larger parts of your money on food.
How Much is Transportation in America for 3 Months?
Your expenses in this area will depend largely on what part of the country you’re traveling to. Here’s an example: In New England, the price of everything is typically a little higher than when traveling in the West. But the East Coast tends to have a lot more public and economic transport options. Check out Megabus and Goto Bus, and with enough time in advance for your booking you can get city-to-city bus tickets for as low as $5 per person.
Car rentals a very feasible options, as most rental companies give huge price breaks to those who book for weeks at a time. A 12-week rental might be as cheap as $1200, and shorter times respective. But in any case, that means about $100 a week in rental fees, plus maybe $50 or so in fuel, and that way you have total freedom to cruise the country at your leisure. Know that some of the tolls on the East Coast are pretty hefty ($18 to cross bridges in NYC at times), whereas they pretty much don’t exist west of the Mississippi. Any city, however, will have parking fees that can get as low as 50 cents a day or as high as $60 a day. Travelling by car is definitely the most convenient way to see some of America’s best small towns and more remote areas.
How Much is Accommodation in the America for 3 Months?
If your aim is cheap and comfortable, you might forget hotels altogether. A Holiday Inn Express will most likely charge you close to $100 a night (for decent but mostly subpar accommodations), whereas AirBnb has some incredible places to stay and will have a wide range of cool houses, apartments, and rooms for as low as $20 a night. They will also usually include the attention and help of switched-on hosts. If you haven’t already used Airbnb, you can score $40 worth of free stay credit here. If you are driving around the country, you can find motel chains with parking right outside of major cities for around $60 per night. Many of these have been renovated and have flat screens and comfy beds, but you can also end up in some roach motels that you have seen in shoots outs on TV. However, no trip to America would be complete without staying in some motel that you have seen in a horror slasher film or in a Vegas honeymoon/drunken elopement storyline.
How Much Does Entertainment Cost for a 3 Month USA Roadtrip?
If you want cheap or free entertainment, check out the parks and museums in any city you go to. Almost all the museums in Washington DC have free entry, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art allows free entry to any self-guided tourist (i.e. you).
On the other hand, a Red Sox game at Fenway Park will be about $35 a person for tickets, or more if you want better seats. Competetive sports teams in the USA that have sold out crowds, you will be looking at more in the $100 starting price range for a ticket. Typical entry fees to a movie theater are around $10 for main showings, or $6 for an afternoon matinee. Musicals and live theatre performances, like Broadway in NYC and each major cities own productions are $75 starting usually to upwards of a few hundred for a popular show in a big town.
National Parks will almost always offer voluntary donations as an entry fee. The US is big on promoting its parks as a sustainable attraction for tourists, so whether it’s Utah’s Mighty 5 or Redwood Forest in the West, or the Great Smoky Mountains in the South, there are weeks of fun to be had in the parks on almost no expense.
So if you’re wondering, “How much money do I need to travel America for 3 months?” this will give you an idea. Think $150/week in transport, $200/week for food, $350/week in accommodations, and whatever you want to spend or not spend on entertainment. Obviously if you’re a high-roller, there’s plenty of ways to spend your money in the great USA, but it is possible to have a blast and not break the bank.