Travel Budget Calculator & Tips: USA

Travel Budget Calculator USA
Written by Town & Tourist

How much does it cost to Travel the USA?? The USA is one of the most diverse countries in the world making it an Incredible place to travel! It offers a wide variety of options to suit all travel budgets from Hostels, & unique camping spots to Epic Luxury Resorts.

Probably the best way to experience the USA is via a self drive road trip. To find out more check out: USA Road Trips

Travel Budget Calculator: USA

How much does it cost to travel the USA?? 

To find out,  Dive into our Travel Budget Calculator Below!

This will help you calculate the travel costs associated with traveling the USA:

User Guide: Simply select your “Travel Style” , ” Number of Persons” and Number of Days Traveling.

Family Budgets:

Families would be best using the Group selector, or those with small children should select “Couple” if the children are young enough to share a room.

We have compiled the data in the table above from our vast travel experience & other reliable sources.

i. Budget Backpacker US Travel Costs:

Budget US Travel Costs
Budget Data Cost (USD)
Accommodation (Single Occupancy, Hostel) $45
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel) $85
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway) $14
Food & Water $20
Entertainment $20
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities) $56

ii. Mid Range US Travel Costs:

Mid Range Budget: US Travel Costs
Budget Data Cost (USD)
Accommodation (Single Occupancy, Hostel) $106
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel) $210
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway) $38
Food & Water $64
Entertainment $65
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities) $155
Travel Budget Calculator USA

Travel Budget Calculator USA

iii. Luxury Vacation US Travel Costs:

US Luxury Travel Costs
Budget Data Cost (USD)
Accommodation (Single Occupancy) $298
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel) $620
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway) $106
Food & Water $125
Entertainment $187
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities) $365

Costs associated with US Travel:

There are four main costs associated with Traveling the USA:

  1. Accommodation
  2. Transport 
  3. Activities
  4. Food 

1. Accommodation

Accommodation is often one the largest costs associated with booking a Vacation.

Depending on your travel style, Budget, Mid Range and Luxury the USA offers a variety of options to suit all your traveling needs.

Ask yourself, how much available funds do I have? and organise a reserve pot incase anything goes wrong!

Everybody has there own version of an “ideal trip”, either way it can be done on a shoestring or with gold thread!

For our secret hotel hacks check out: How to find the Best Hotel Deals??

Pipesteam Camping Unique

Pipesteam Luxury Spa Chalets. Source:

Whats your Travel Style?

A. Extreme Low Budget – Couch Surfing, Camping, Home stays, Car Share, Public Transport. You could even Hitchhike! Or use a Bicycle, if your into fitness!

Type of Person: Your an extreme adventurer. To you the experience is the funniest part. You keep costs ultra low by making friends, car sharing, staying on sofas etc.

B. Low Budget/Backpacker – Camping, Motels, Basic RV.

Type of Person: Your are cost conscious backpacker, but still wish for a basic standard of reliability & living.

C. Medium Budget (Vacation) – Good RV, Hotels, Large Comfy Car.

Type of Person: This is ideal if you want more comfort and an extended Vacation with some adventure.

D. High Budget (Luxury Vacation) – Luxury Hotels, Luxury RV/Sports Car/Comfy 4×4)

Type of Person: You really like treating yourself! Luxury Hotels, Resorts, Spas and Comfort throughout. You may want to drive a mustang along Route 66 or do a bucket list experience or Tour.

We fell between B and C. We wanted comfort & reliability but was still smart & savvy about keeping costs low where possible.

On our last trip to the USA, We stayed in a range of accommodation from:

It’s all about balance and what suits you & your group!

If it possible to have Luxury on a Budget??

Absolutely! At Town & Tourist this one concept we love to prove again & again…that of “Budget Luxury” and Great Value.

Most people have an extreme mindset when it comes to accommodation booking.

They think they have to be Camping out for just a few dollars or staying in Luxury Resorts for Thousands!

In Fact, at Town & Tourist we have proved that being a Savvy Traveller can take you to some amazing places, without breaking the bank! Have a read through a few of our posts below:

Bahamas on a Budget Vacation

Bahamas on a Budget, It is possible!

For our secret hotel hacks check out: How to find the Best Hotel Deals??

2. Transport

The United States of America is just bigger than China, but slightly smaller than Canada. It covers 9.63 million square kilometers and is Bordered by Mexico to the south and Canada to the north.

The United States offers one of the most diverse array of geography and wildlife in the world!

To the West of the Rocky Mountains, you will find the Pacific States which stretch along the California Coast.

Between the Rockies & the Mississippi you will discover the great plains of the USA which is some of the most fertile farmland in the world.

While the eastern seaboard is the Nations Industrial & Economical Hub, home to Cities such as New York City & Philadelphia.

Which is the best way to travel around the USA?

Arguably, the greatest method of traveling the USA is via an All American Road Trip!

When you rent a Car, you have ultimate freedom over where & when you travel! You can stop as many times as you like and change plans last minute!

To get the best deals on your next booking check out our: Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!

The USA is also home to some of the Greatest Driving Roads in the World, from the remnants of route 66, to Natchez Parkway and of course the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1.

For road trip inspiration, check out our extensive Range of US Road Trip Posts:

Here are some of our favourites below:

Car Rental Prices USA:

Depending upon when you book & your age (under 25) Car Rental Prices can vary across the USA.  Here is a list of some approximate prices below to help you budget.

US Car Rental Budget (Approximate)
Type of Vehicle  Cost (USD) Description
Budget $200/Week Comfy for 2 People & Luggage
Mid Range $250-$300/week Comfy for 4 people & Luggage
Luxury $350-$500 Convertible, SUV or Luxury Car.

Car Rental Money Saving Tips USA:

Town & Tourist Investigated a variety of Major Car Rental providers, to find out how to get the best deals for you!

Our findings are outlined below:

1. Book During the Week.

Car Rental rates vary massively depending up which day of the Week you book!

Of course, weekend pickups and drop offs cost substantially more and also have less available cars to choose from.

 This is a great option if you wish to book a longer term rental as you will make the most out of your savings. 

2. Avoid Booking during Popular Festivals

When there is a big festival in a city, such as Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta or the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Then expect demand to be high, prices to be higher and choice to be less!

Wonderful Instagrammable Balloon Photos

My advice would be to fly into a neighbouring city & book from there to save costs.  We used this tactic on our: Atlanta to New Orleans Road Trip

3. Don’t book for “city usage”

If your planning a road trip and are staying in your first city for a few days, for example New York.

Then why not just taking advantage of the cities public transport until you plan on driving out to the next city.

Using this money saving tactic, you will save on a few days rental, avoid traffic and hefty city parking fees.

We use this car rental tactic on our: New York City to Chicago Road Trip: Itinerary/Map

4. Airport Pickup can cost more!

Picking up your car directly from the Airport can cost a little more.

So speak to your car rental provider and confirm the difference, between pickup at the airport vs downtown.

You will also need to take into account transport to the city.

5. Looping over One Way

Many Car Rental firms charge extra fees if you want to pick up in one state and drop off in another.

Depending upon the popularity of the route and distance usually dictates this charge.

As Atlanta, Georgia is the busiest airport in the USA and quite central we used then tactic on our: Atlanta to New Orleans Road Trip Loop

Dive into our Interactive Map Below!

User Guide: Use the +/- buttons to zoom in and out of the road trip map.

For the rest of our Car Rental Booking Tips & Comparison Booking tools check out: Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!

RV Rental in the USA:

Renting an RV is one of the greatest ways to travel around the USA with ultimate freedom while saving on Hotel Costs.

For the best deals we use the “Airbnb of Rv Rental” the RV SHARE platform.

RV motoring show, Auto show USA

RVs can be Budget or Luxury depending upon your travel style.

For RV road trip inspiration check out:

Extra tips:

If planning a road trip over 3 months you could even buy a car then sell it after.

But just be aware that you will need a US address the US address for the registration documents and car insurance.

For more info on longer US Road Trips check out: How to Plan a 6 month Road Trip: USA

Other Methods of Traveling the USA?

Of course there are other options for traveling around the USA such as by Train, Flight or Public Transport such as a Bus/Coach.

Train Travel across the USA: 

Traveling by train in the USA is a fast and cost effective way of traveling around the USA.

You can actually travel coast to coast for as little as $232! Now although the train network in the USA is nothing on that of Europe,

it still offers access to over 500 destinations via the USAs Amtrak network.

On this train network you will drive through real Americana, past quaint towns and meet some real characters along the way!

Southwest Chief route 66 train

Southwest Chief route 66 train. Source:

Here are some of our Favourite Posts below:

amtrak-california-zephyr-onboard-dome car

amtrak-california-zephyr-onboard-dome car. Source: flickr

Public Transport (Bus) Across the USA:

Traveling on one the US’s Greyhound Buses offers one of the cheapest ways of traveling around the USA.

Although you don’t have the same freedom as you would if you rented a car, it can still get you from A-B pretty efficiently.

ROad trip with bus-Map-Couple

Checking out new spots on while taking a public transport road trip is a unique & Memorable experience! Especially for couples or solo travellers.

Insider Tip:

Catch a Night Bus, that way you can just go to sleep and wake up in the morning in a new city.

Here are some of our Favourite Posts below:

For the best deals use our : Best Public Transport Booking Tools? Trains, Buses, Ferries!

3. Activities

Your on Vacation so of course you want to do some awesome activities and have some great experiences! For Budget travellers you should budget between $10-$40 per day. This will cover costs such as Museum Entry fees, Aquariums, Observation Tower entry etc.

Of course if you want to do real bucket list experiences such as taking a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Grand Canyon!

Then this will cost a little more, but not as expensive as you might think!

Here are some tips to help you budget you activities across the USA: 

1. See FREE Attractions

“The best things in life are Free” there are many US attractions which offer “Free Days” .

These are usually happen on a certain holiday, to find out more just Google your desired attraction then “Free Day”.

Apart from the particular days Town & Tourist proved you can also see many great attractions for FREE,

from walking along Las Vegas Strip to Chicagos Millennium park.

For more info check out: Las Vegas to Denver: Epic Road Trip!

2. Disabled, Elderly?

Many US Attractions such as museums offer discounted or free entry if you are disabled, Elderly or from the Military.

Many also offer Free entry to young children.

3. Purchase a City Pass

If your into your sightseeing then purchasing a city pass can be a great option in places like New York City, Las Vegas and Chicago.

They are a cost effective way of seeing lots of attractions and some even include public transport costs and line skipping!

To purchase one head over to City Pass

Chicago River cruise

Chicago River cruise. Source: GettyImages

3. Invest in a National Park Pass

The awe & splendour of mother nature is enticing! The USA has some of the greatest National Parks in the World, from Yosemite to Yellowstone.

If you plan on visiting a few National Parks you can definitely save money by investing in an Annual National Park Pass: “America is Beautiful”

They are great Value for Money, for just $80 (£60) one time fee.

This will cover you & up to three people in your vehicle for entry to over 2,000 National Parks!



For Inspiration check out our:

Insider Tip:

Many US State Parks have free entry or very low entry fees! For more info check out: 15 BEST California State Parks! Camping Tips!

4. Book in Advance 

To get the best prices and also help you to organise your trip you are best booking in advance, using a comparison tool!

To find out more check out: Unique Experiences

For Travel Tours & Packages check out our guide:

Which are the Best travel Tours?

Town & Tourist tours

Town & Tourist tours

Insider Travel Tip:

-Invest in a quality Travel Camera! 

Capturing the Memories of your bucket list road trip is essential. You will be able to show your friends, family and even grand kids all the wonderful photos captured.

Thats not to mention Instagram, Facebook etc. Yes an I Phone is “ok” but nothing on a high quality camera, trust me you can tell the difference.

Photography Gear

Make sure you are equip with some great Photography Gear!

For more info see, our recommend Travel Photography Gear

A high quality Tent & backpack can also be great investments to help you cut costs and have more of an adventure while traveling!

Other Travel Essentials  (Things You can’t travel without!)



About the author

Town & Tourist

A travel resource guide that has been carefully crafted and curated by travel bloggers to help you find the best places to travel to in the USA.