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Is it possible to do USA on the cheap.

(64 Posts)
Pinkpeanut27 Sun 27-Aug-17 16:50:42

We have done 2 yrs in USA and spent £££££, first year was Miami and NYC this year was Orlando and Washington.
Dream is to Do the west coast but we need to save a bit or that.
Has anyone one anywhere in USA cheap? I know the flights are expensive but I think we have picked the most expensive places to go.

Kids like a mixture of Beach and shopping - dd, and museums, out door spaces ( boys) sports etc.
It would be good if it was hot but 80 rather thr 90+ we had in flotida..

Any ideas?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 27-Aug-17 17:11:21

The problem you have really here is the £/$ exchange rate; unless that improves all areas of the US are going to be expensive to the British visitor.

imip Sun 27-Aug-17 17:16:52

What's your definition of cheap? We did 2xadults and 4xkids, flights, staying in hotels and car hire for two weeks for gbp 6,500. We were happy with that - we needed a bigger car for the 6 of us and bigger hotel rooms.

We went for a family wedding and didn't really have the spare cash, but for what we did we thought the price was good. It was an amazing trip!

OnlyAmy Sun 27-Aug-17 17:18:54

I live in Florida, and while it's hot, it's perfect from October to March. I live a few blocks in from the Gulf of Mexico and think our area is very inexpensive with lots of things to do. Beaches, nightclubs, baseball games, museums, plays, botanical gardens, shopping from outlet malls to rice department stores, water parks, tons of free activities for kids and adults, sidewalk sales and art shows and lots of great restaurants. I think the west coast of Florida is where it's at, and yes, I have lived in other states.

OlennasWimple Sun 27-Aug-17 17:25:54

Depends what you want to do, really. It's possible to get some amazing flight deals from Norwegian and other low cost carriers but not during peak times (obviously). Eating out can be as cheap as anything, if you are happy to have things like tacos and street food. Air BNB can throw up some great digs at low prices.

BizzyFizzy Sun 27-Aug-17 17:36:39

Depends what you considered cheap. We were in the USA/Canada (non touristy area) for three weeks this summer. Rubbish exchange rates aside, some the prices were eye-watering compared to previous years.

I used FIL's car for most of the time but had to hire a minivan for 6 days at a cost of almost $1200. I can't remember paying $200 a day before.

Eating out wasn't too bad, but supermarket food was really expensive - $4 for a loaf of bread. Lots of American women use coupons to get the prices down, but you can't really do that as a tourist.

Clothes shopping was a no-no, even in the 50% off sale.

Museums aren't cheap either. My kids went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it was $25 entry.

Petrol is really cheap, though, so if you are doing a lot of travelling, this won't be too painful.

The best exchange rate we've ever had was $1.75, and this time it was about $1.3.

imip Sun 27-Aug-17 18:32:22

National parks are cheap though. A whole day out for USD 25 a visit! One day we did Death Valley, another Grand Canyon, another Joshua Tree National Park.

All obliterated by a day for 6 at Universal Studios grin

RusholmeRuffian Sun 27-Aug-17 19:00:24

I do a lot of road trips and have managed to do this relatively cheaply by putting hours into research and planning, signing up to various hotel sites and waiting for offers. I book flights first, way in advance and then booking hotels over a few months when deals come up. I'm also signed up to hotel loyalty schemes. Hilton's is good and we use their Hampton Inns a lot. We also tend to stay in between destinations as obviously that's cheaper than big cities and touristy areas. Norwegian have some great flight prices as PPs have mentioned.

skyzumarubble Sun 27-Aug-17 19:05:53

The exchange rate is really affecting the cost a we've just come back and we're shocked at the expense compared to previous years.

Pinkpeanut27 Sun 27-Aug-17 19:55:48

Ok so we have a family of 5 and need at least 2 bedrooms interconnecting . I prefer a suite where I can wash clothes and prepare basic meals .

I
We are tied to the summer holidays preferably August . Oldest 2 are in gcse years so taking them
Out is not an option and I have 3 kids in 3 different schools all with slightly different holidays . So August it is .
As for what we want to do something new , looming at new sights , taking part in sports maybe . They loved Disney ( but don't want to spend tne amour the tickets cost again but they like theme parks etc , going out on boats or cycling , tnT sort of thing
What we can't manage is a hotel/ pool based fortnight. Boys will go insane with boredom ( and I include Dh in that !

Has anyone flown Norwegian ? What is it like . We usually fly BA .
When do the flights come out and when are they cheapest

Is air bnb not illegal?

Branleuse Sun 27-Aug-17 19:58:14

Have you considered somewhere in europe if youre on a tighter budget. Does it need to be USA?

poisonedbypen Sun 27-Aug-17 20:00:53

We flew Norwegian to Los Angeles this summer. It was fab. We did a road trip & spent a fortune even though we tried to be frugal. We used Airbnb a lot which was great for family apartments. You can camp in the national parks but I don't believe you can go for a cheap holiday in the US at the moment. Every time we sat down to eat it seemed to be getting on for $100.

Numbsnet Sun 27-Aug-17 20:01:49

We did! Norwegian air and house swap in New York.
Lots of work but was amazing and we spent as little as we would have at home. There's so much free in New York to see and cheap places to eat. All thoroughly researched.
We were in New York for two weeks with a three day road trip staying in cheap motels and one fancy place.
The worst places were the most memorable but all part of the experience!

OlennasWimple Sun 27-Aug-17 20:03:07

Norwegian are fine: the prices are a bit like Ryanair that you need to add in baggage and meal costs too, but they are still pretty competitive (they currently have LGW to Seattle starting at £200 each way, for example). Aircraft are new and well equipped. Not luxury, but not basic either. They are currently booking up to July 2018

Air BNB is illegal in some states, not all

Courtyard Marriotts often have laundry rooms in them, so worth investigating if you narrow down a US destination

Numbsnet Sun 27-Aug-17 20:04:47

Airbnb is only illegal in New York if you take the whole place. You can still rent a room or two with host in house.

cheminotte Sun 27-Aug-17 20:05:21

We've flown Norwegian short haul and been impressed. Much better than Ryan air for example.

Pinkpeanut27 Sun 27-Aug-17 20:22:28

I know it might be Europe as Dh wants warmth. Just wondering as we have building work going on next year and want to do San fransico , maybe San Diego and universal tne year after.
We have just fallen in love with the states and the people .,

skyzumarubble Sun 27-Aug-17 20:45:18

The ice. It done Norwegian but did do Iceland air - its saved us £1500 on BA/ united. 1.5hrs in Reykjavik. It was fine, no food but had a meal at Heathrow and took sandwiches into the plane.

Only thing was it was a 737 instead a jumbo and it was seriously bumpy and being in a smaller plane you feel it more but I could live with it for £1500.

skyzumarubble Sun 27-Aug-17 20:45:56

That was supposed to say I've not done Norwegian. There was no ice!

BizzyFizzy Sun 27-Aug-17 22:35:27

Deviating from the OP's wish for a west coast holiday, one our best holidays was in the summer at a ski resort in Vermont. www.smuggs.com. Activities, relaxation, scenery, luxury.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 28-Aug-17 00:14:05

Look for beach house rentals in the San Diego area, maybe South Mission Beach up to Oceanside (probably excluding La Jolla, Torrey Pines, and Del Mar). Depending on when you go you can get some pretty good prices on houses within a couple of blocks from the ocean. Tons to do in SD and the zoo is fantastic.

Dana Point to Seal Beach in So Cal has plenty of beach rentals but they're generally 'pricier'. We spent all our summers at Newport Beach (I grew up about 30 miles 'inland' as the crow flies and we decamped to Newport to beat the summer heat) and it's a great place. Great beaches, plenty of great shopping (Lido Isle with its funky little shops and SouthCoast Plaza for the upscale stuff). It's about 20 mins to Disneyland but you don't have to tell the kids that!

I don't know how it would work if you have to fly in as far as linens/towels go. We always brought our own. And of course you always have to do your due diligence when you're booking a rental house to be sure you don't get scammed.

If you're open to camping or an RV rental, you've got plenty of other options.

All depends on what you mean by 'on the cheap'.



I don't know how having to fly in and out would work into this, though. Most of them

Pinkpeanut27 Mon 28-Aug-17 10:58:58

Good ideas
Doesn't have to be west coast as we are saving for that. I was looking for something cheaper in USA, I think New York and Disney seem to be some of the more expensive areas as does San Francisco. I'm looking for hidden gems where we can have fun with out it necessarily being one of the key tourist areas.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 28-Aug-17 14:25:55

So sort of looking for 'secondary cities'?

Charleston SC or Savannah GA. Great food, lots of history, beautiful architecture, plenty to do.

Philadelphia PA. I've never been but DS1 said he had a great time there. Lots of history + Lancaster County (Amish country) is about an hour or so away by car.

Chicago IL. Great city! Go during baseball season and catch a Cubs' game.

Another place to think about is Great Smoky Mtn National Park. It's one of my favourite places on Earth. The towns around it are a bit tourist-tacky (which can be fun in itself) but the park itself is breathtaking, especially if you enjoy hiking/nature walks. We RV so I really don't know what hotel/rental prices are in the area. There are NO places to stay actually IN the Park, itself and you'd need a rental car.

Same thing with Yellowstone, which is pretty geographically isolated. There is lodging at YNP and there are bus sightseeing tours, but you'd really need a car to do it right. YNP is HUGE, the Grand Loop Rd alone is 150 miles around. If you drive and sightsee from dawn til dusk it would still take you at least 7 days to see it all.

Tralalalalz Mon 28-Aug-17 14:35:18

We're desperate to do the west cost but I simply can't bring it in for a family of 5 for anything resembling a reasonable price, I can't get it below about £7500 and that's not even staying anywhere nice and is flying indirect. We are looking now at doing New York for 3 nights as we've been before, a week in a beach house on Long Island and then driving up to Boston for 2 or 3 nights and flying home from there and I think I can do that for about £4500. We are also looking at going back to Florida and ignoring Orlando as we don't like it as as long as we fly indirect prices aren't bad as villas are cheap.

Europe for next year is massively expensive hence seriously considering the US

somewhereovertherain Mon 28-Aug-17 14:54:10

We flew with westjet via Canada.

I'm not sure you can really do the states on the cheap as food everywhere seemed of the scale.

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