Travel doesn’t always have to be a drain on your wallet – from free museum nights to discounted city passes – USA has rounded up five top travel tips to help you get the most value out of your vacation budget. Now that the US has also lifted entry restrictions, it’s a great time to cross the Atlantic.
Get free tickets to world-class museums
The United States has some of the best museums in the world and there are many ways for curious travelers to enjoy free admission. Many museums offer free admission every month, like the MoMA in NYC, which is open every Friday of the month from 4 to 8 p.m. There are also museums that are free year-round, such as the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama and the Oklahoma Railroad Museum in Oklahoma City. Therefore, it is important to always check the museum’s website to see if you can get a free ticket. If you’re traveling to America in September, consider Smithsonian Museum Day; An annual holiday where hundreds of museums and cultural institutions across the country offer free entry. This year Museum Day will be on September 17, 2022, but keep an eye out from mid-August to get your free tickets.
Save time and money with City Pass
Saving money and visiting America’s top destinations go hand-in-hand with City Pass. These combine access to attractions such as theme parks, zoos and museums in a single fare. Some passes offer discounts of more than 50% and the added benefit of express entry so you can avoid long ticket lines. It not only saves you money but also valuable time. Citypass is one of the most popular in the US and is available in 15 major cities. Must-see cities on the pass include the Southern charm of Atlanta, Georgia; Boating on the Mississippi in Boston, Massachusetts; Metropolitan Centre Chicago, Illinois; The glittering capital of Texas, Dallas; and the fun of Southern California amusement parks. For more information, visit: www.citypass.com.
Wear comfortable shoes for a real city walk
We often spend most of our work week sitting behind a desk. What better way to enjoy a vacation than by stretching your legs and your budget and choosing a city that’s perfect for exploring on foot? In addition to popular major commuter cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago, there are plenty of cities in the United States that allow you to save on high car rental costs. Try the 2.5-mile River Walk, a waterfront walkway that winds through downtown San Antonio, Texas. Not far from this walk is the Alamo, a historic Spanish mission and a free way to learn about Texas’ rich history. Charleston, South Carolina is another pedestrian-friendly city, with beautiful beaches, popular open-air markets, and beautiful boardwalks where you can regularly spot dolphins. For an added touch of mobility, cheaply rent a bicycle, another way to get around America that’s growing in popularity. Or if you want to sit back and relax, try Amtrak for one of the many affordable train trips.
Hike off the beaten path in national parks for free
National parks in the United States are crowded and sometimes require reservations to visit. But that doesn’t have to stop people from getting outdoors in America. In Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to enjoy Colorado’s spectacular scenery. Located 20 kilometers southwest of Aspen, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness offers world-class wilderness with no entrance fee. Serious hikers can try the 45-kilometer Four Pass Loop. This popular trail passes through the rugged peaks of the Elk Mountains, clear mountain lakes, colorful wildflowers, and beautiful valleys filled with vast forests. Close to downtown Denver, Red Rocks Park is another must-see with a variety of hiking trails and free tours. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater; An open air music stage on the hill where countless famous musicians have already performed.
Other freely accessible national parks include Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky or the pristine wilderness of North Cascades National Park in Washington state.
Plan your trip around festivals
With 50 states and five territories, the states always have a special festival or event going on and many are wallet-friendly. In NYC, Restaurant Week is a biennial event—usually in the winter—where more than 300 of New York City’s best restaurants serve prix-fixe menus at deeply discounted prices. If you’re in Illinois in early September, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day weekend tradition that’s completely free and features internationally renowned talent. Another festive time to travel to America in November, Thanksgiving is America’s favorite family celebration. Many cities hold large Thanksgiving parades with bands, choirs, floats and giant balloons. In addition to the iconic Macy’s Day Parade in NYC, try America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, Michigan; HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade Houston, Texas; Or the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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