How to Travel for Free in the U.S. in 2015
Have you been longing for a trip around the United States but your bank balance is a hurdle you can’t seem to leap? Would that be a little less daunting if you could travel using no more than the change in your pocket? Good news, we have come up with some exciting tips to help you grab the essentials for no more than $1 per day. No hassle, no bullshit like all those silly travel hacks that you can find on the web, our tips are just easy to follow for great, cheap travel. Read on.
100+ tips, including:
They say it’s the journey, not the destination but that doesn’t mean you have to spend heaps on it. In most cases, traveling for free means sacrificing a little, usually some time... but it's not always the case. Breaking news: you can actually travel in style and for free (hint: read the tip below!)
Free rental cars and RVs
Yes let’s start with the obvious best deal in the whole universe, brought to you by Transfercar, the company that makes genuine free travel possible! Turns out you're on our website so just search for your free rental car or your free rental RV and you'll understand that we're not kidding here.
How is this miracle possible? Rental car companies need to reposition their fleet for new hires, and travelers can help them relocate those cars. It’s 100% win-win where travelers get a free ride and rental car companies save on expensive relocation costs.
Get your free rental car now!
Nowadays young travellers are always looking to make new travel buddies to share adventures with, that’s why there are a number of carpooling avenues you can explore to share travel costs, or even sometimes travel for free, if you share your food for instance.
Carpooling is cool, sure, but a free rental car is a bit more exciting, isn't it?
Yes flying for free is technically possible... you must know about the existence of frequent flyer miles and miles that you can earn from credit card spending? If you don't, it's time to check this out as it's the easiest way to get a free flight and the favourite tool of so-called Travel Hackers. But let's face it, it's quite tedious and takes time and money to accumulate enough miles to reward yourself.
Apparently the other way to fly for free according to the controversial MissTravel.com is to be an attractive female willing to spend some time with a generous man (but don't jump to the conclusion that it's prostitution, it's just ''online dating''). That's probably going a bit too far to get a free trip, especially when you can drive for free with Transfercar and see more of the country without a stranger at your side. Up to you though.
It feels quite common to pay for checked bags when you fly nowadays. Forget it! Don't pay for checked luggage in the U.S as most airlines offer you a massive 18kg carry-on bag allowance. Pack lightly and you shall be fine. Otherwise, fly JetBlue as it offers the first checked bag for free.
(So to conclude our Free Transport section and after extensive research including buses and trains, it really seems that it does not get better than our 15 days for $1 per day deal across the U.S... Please let us know if you find a better deal elsewhere, we will be happy to update this section...)
A roof over your head for a dollar or less is the stuff of dreams, right? Wrong, we have come up with some solutions to the cheap accommodation conundrum. All of our tips include a roof over your head... and in most cases even walls!
Sleep for free... in a free campervan! That's a no-brainer!
At Transfercar we can not only be the answer to your transportation dilemma, but we can also provide you with a comfy bed to rest your travel-tired body on. RVs and Motorhomes are listed regularly on our website, most of the time including gas and insurance saving you even more cash. Free accommodation in the United States, plus free transportation, what more could you ask for? Some of the RVs listed on our website are very luxurious, with a comfy double bed, huge fridge, big TV... everything you need really, and 'all of this for just $1 per day, are you kidding me?'
No, not at all, we are not kidding. Why go to a crappy motel room when you can get a fantastic RV for free?
Couchsurfing is a concept based on the idea of a community of people willing to share their lives and homes with travellers. The community of 9 million people are “friends you haven’t met yet”. To take advantage of this great travel tool, just sign up on the website and create a profile, then search the United States and the area you intend to travel to, and scroll through the locals with a free couch for you to crash on. Once you have found your desired couch, send a ‘Couchrequest’! To ensure you have a good experience make sure you have a look at the couchsurfing profiles and prior feedback.
So yes, couchsurfing is cool and really free. It gets our thumbs up.
Camping is fantastic fun, that's for sure, but it's even better when it's free, isn't it? The average price for a campground is $25 per night, up to $50 per night... not cheap for sleeping on the ground, especially when you can get a free RV from Transfercar and spend the night more comfortably.
You can find online some help to find free campsites: Rv-Camping, Free Campgrounds, but the best is FreeCampsites.net. The best idea though is probably to download an App like Camp &RV and browse through the list.
WWOOFing provides an opportunity for travelers to get free food and board in exchange for work. The scheme is based on a network of friendly organic farmers who provide accommodation and a full day’s food for their WWOOFers (volunteers), in exchange for around 4-6 hours of work per day. WWOOFing is a fabulous opportunity for travellers to see the rural side of the USA and enjoy hands-on work. There are 2,113 organic farms in the program at the time of writing. If farming is not your thing though, WWOOFing also offers cultural exchange hosts that provide social, humanitarian and conservation experiences.
There is no better way to live rent-free than in the comfort of somebody else’s home - especially when they are out of town. House sitting provides house owners with peace of mind, knowing that their pets will be fed and garden watered, while you, the sitter, reap the benefits of free accommodation. Plus, who knows? You may even nab a mansion and get to pet some adorable cats and dogs.
Trusted House Sitters is a worldwide house sitting organisation that has plenty of listings from the US. They offer a number of options for registration, including; a 3 month plan of $25.99 per month, or an annual plan of $10.99 per month. Their advanced search options provide you with the opportunity to specify which animals you would be willing to look after and allow you to search within certain dates.
House swapping enables you to stay in fantastic houses for free...The only downside is that you actually need to own a house or apartment to be able to swap it, so if you are just renting or have left everything you owned to be on the road, then this tip is not for you!!
Home Exchange is a website that provides listings of available houses to swap. All you have to do is register your house as a listing, then send or receive enquiries and organise an exchange.
Love Home Swap is a website that offers great international home swaps, specialising in 11 popular destinations. Registration fee ranges from $20 to $34 per month depending on the plan.
Guest to Guest is free and works with a guestpoint system so that home swaps don't have to be reciprocical. Smart.
Activities whilst travelling can often become the biggest expense, so here are some tips to enjoy what the US have to offer without breaking the bank...
From huge waterfalls to striking deserts, inspiring mountains to vast canyons, the US offers one of the greatest show on Earth. There are 401 national parks waiting for you to visit! 127 of those attract an entrance fee, but you can enjoy free entry on a couple of special dates.
State Parks are always free and we've got over 2000 of those!
If you're more into visiting big cities, it's good to know that every major city has its list of free things to do: Check out the excellent list from Los Angeles or this one for Washington DC. NYC is of course top of the list when it comes to the number of free events. Chicago and San Francisco have a lot to offer (literally) as well.
There are tons of free museums in the U.S. Here's a list of our current Top 5.
Smithsonian Museums in Washington. Some of the best museums in the whole world... for free! Yay!!
Getty Center in Los Angeles. Wonderful architecture, great gardens.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. One of the best photo museum out there.
The Baltimore Museum of Art. Perhaps the only good reason to go to Baltimore?
National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Because there's a hidden latino in each of us!
Free museum day lists all the days when museums with an entrance fee become free.
There are a few free outdoor cinema experiences that you should have in the U.S during summer. They have a great atmosphere and good hot dogs are never faraway. Among them:
Screen on the Green takes place in Washington D.C and Atlanta.
Coney Island Flicks on the Beach in NYC
Free Friday on the Esplanadade in Boston
Free text and calls
All of you savvy people should know this by now, but for those of you who have just spent the last 10 years in the bush, here are some tips on how to avoid paying for your communications. Who pays for international phone calls nowadays??
The best idea is to get an unlimited data plan and talk over the internet. You can get very cheap unlimited data plans from ReadySim, Roam Mobility, and LycaMobile, and then make free calls and texts through the following apps, and tether your phone to your laptop when you need to be on the internet. For a 100% free experience, don't get a mobile plan and only use free wi-fi which is now available in tens of thousands of locations (see below).
Viber is a fantastic way to keep in touch with family and friends back home because it’s absolutely free if you have an internet connection. You can use Viber to call, text and send pictures to anyone in the world who has also opened a free account.
Likewise, Skype can be used not only to make video calls but also voice calls and to send messages. It is free to download and as long as you are connected to the internet the communication is free to use.
Google Voice, Hangouts, Facetime are other good alternatives.
WhatsApp is an application that enables you to ‘chat’, send images and voice notes to your friends and family for free.
Libraries, city halls, courts, department stores and public parks often have free wi-fi. Even airplanes like JetBlue now come with free wi-fi! RV Parks and campgrounds are another option.
Don't look at a free wi-fi directory, that's very much passé, use Wi-fi Finder or an equivalent to find hotspots near you!
We hope that you have enjoyed this article. If you know any other great idea to save money while travelling in the United States please let us know on our Facebook page.
Now check out the amazing deals below, because we're confident that those are the best free travel deals you'll find: