Budget For Traveling To The U.S. for College Students

Budget For Traveling To The U.S. for College Students

Budget For Traveling To The U.S. for College Students

The United States is a country that is on virtually every student’s bucket list, especially thanks to its delicious mix of food, buzzing metropolises, expansive nature, and uniquely American culture.

One of the most common questions when it comes to traveling to the United States is how much it typically costs to visit America. 

In this article, we’ll go over the average budget for a trip to the US, how much you can expect to pay, and other helpful travel tips. Be sure to check and see if you need an ESTA for the United States before your trip.


Accommodation in the United States will be one of the biggest expenses out of your entire travel budget. Luckily, the US offers various accommodations for every taste, preference, budget, and even style. 

Budget-friendly housing will usually cost between $40 and 90 for a double room, depending on the city and even the neighborhood. The best option is to reserve a hostel, which costs up to $50 but is usually in the area of $20 to $30 for a bed in a shared room.

In addition to hostels, there is another economical option, which is especially useful for those who are going to travel by car. It is worth paying attention to motel chains like Red Roof Inn or Motel 6. Although they are usually located on the city's outskirts, the upside is that you will have your own parking space, free continental breakfast, and a no-frills room for only around $50 to $70 a night.

If you want to save more money, be sure to book accommodations well ahead of time. The earlier you book, the lower the prices will be.


Are you a foodie? If so, you will definitely not have problems when traveling in the United States, as the variety of food will make even the pickiest eater happy.

The cheapest option is to eat at fast food restaurants, like Mcdonald's, or at small family restaurants. The average bill in such places usually shouldn’t exceed $10. 

If you eat at more expensive restaurants and cafes, then you can expect the price of a meal to be around $25+ per person. 

It is worth mentioning that the portions are really large in the US, and one meal can often last you for the whole day. If the portions are too large, you can always ask the restaurants to pack the leftovers and eat them later. 

If you have an apartment or Airbnb with your own kitchen, cooking at home is a great way to save money. Shopping for groceries from the local supermarket will usually cost around $250 per month or less than $10 per day. 


With so many things to do and places to see, planning your transportation is a must. For shorter distances, intercity buses are popular. The cost of a bus ticket depends on the distance, how well in advance you purchase the ticket and even the company. For example, Megabus offers bus tickets from New York to Atlanta for $100, while a ride on Greyhound will set you back $137.

To travel around the city, you can use public transport and taxis. Like in many countries around the world, Uber and Lyft are available in nearly every large city in the USA as well. A big bonus of rideshare apps is that the price is shown beforehand, and there is no need to fumble around with cash. For reference, a 10-minute trip will cost around $15. 

A more budget-friendly option is to take public transport. The fare depends on the city, but on average it should cost about $2.50 for one trip. An excellent option would be to buy a multi-use ticket that can be used throughout the day or month across all public transport in the city. In San Francisco, such a ticket costs $10 per day; in New York, there is a weekly pass for $33; and in Los Angeles, a 1-day pass will only cost $3.

Attractions and Museums

Prices for attractions vary by state and type of attraction. On average, a ticket to a museum costs between $10 to $25; guided tours will cost $50 and up; and travel to national parks is about $30 per car or $15 per person. 

If you visit several attractions in one city, you should consider purchasing a City Pass. The City Pass usually includes the most popular tourist attractions in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Besides gaining entry to attractions and museums with one ticket, these City Passes often include public transportation for free if you show your card.

Before visiting a museum, be sure to check their website — oftentimes, museums host free days (i.e. the first Monday of the month), when anyone can come and see the exhibits for free. Likewise, many museums offer free or discounted entry if you show your student card.

If you are going to visit many national parks, it is worth purchasing a Park Pass. It will cost only $80 and allows you to visit any national parks in the United States, and includes a complimentary pass for 3 guests.