10 Budget-Friendly Road Trips in the US for Students

As a student, you’re busy making memories every day. As your vacation time approaches, you know you need to do something fun with it. The problem is, you’re also on a budget. Can you really have a good time without spending a lot of cash!

You really can, if you know where to go. Road trips are excellent for students as you can pool your cash and save money as you travel. Here are the 10 best budget-friendly locations to go to, to make the most of your road trip.

1.- Las Vegas, Nevada

Road Trip to Las Vegas

Yes, really. When you think of Las Vegas, you think of wild trips that involve huge amounts of spending. Of course, you totally can have a trip like that if you have the money and the inclination to do so. As a student on a budget though, you can still have an amazing time.

You can happily wander the strip, taking in all the sights. This is entertainment all on its own, and you’ll be amazed by what you see here. As well as this, there’s lots of fun free entertainment in Vegas, so you’ll have plenty to do without breaking the bank.

Of course, you can’t go to Vegas without trying your hand at a slot machine. If you do choose to indulge in some gambling, set yourself a budget and know when to tap out.

As for accommodation, you can easily find more budget-friendly hotels in the area. Vegas seems to be all about those high-end hotels, but there’s plenty more out there in your price range. Please, read our ranking of the best car rental companies in Las Vegas.

2.- Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Road trip to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is one of the most amazing sights in the US, and you can easily get there by car. If you’ve never been there before, now’s the time. You can go take in some truly majestic views, as well as learn all about the history of the area. There are so many performers who have gone over the Falls and tight rope walked across them, after all.

One of the most unique things about the Falls is that they are located in both the US and Canada. You can visit the Canadian side, but if you do you’ll need to bring your passport. Make sure you have it with you before you set out on your trip.

There are lots of other attractions in the area too, so you can easily spend a day or so exploring them all. It’s a lot of fun for any student on a budget.

3.- Key West, Florida

Key West Florida Road Trip

Want to go somewhere that has tons of sunshine and miles of beaches for you to laze on? Then where better than the Sunshine State itself, Florida? Rather than going to the more touristy, and expensive, areas, you can head to Key West.

Key West is home to some of the state’s most gorgeous beaches. It costs nothing to head to the sand, lay out your towel, and just relax. It’s perfect for bookworms too, as where’s better to read a book than on the beach? Bring that Kindle and get stuck into all the books you couldn’t read during the last semester.

If you’re of age and have some extra cash, you can explore the bars of Key West, too. There are tons of bars to check out, and you’re bound to have a good time.

4.- Austin, Texas

Austin Road Trip - Texas

Are you more in the mood for a city break, with lots to see and do? If so, then you should hop into the car and visit Austin, Texas. There’s no other city quite like it in the US, and you’ll have so much fun wandering the streets here. It’s very easy to find budget AirBnBs and other lodgings too, so you won’t need to spend a lot of cash staying here.

As for entertainment, it’s out there on the street waiting for you. There are street entertainers everywhere, especially during the summer. If you’re an art lover start hunting down all the art galleries here too, as there’s so much to see and you’ll spend very little to do so.

Want to just take in the city lights? Drive around with a custom-made playlist, and you’ll have a blast all night. Austin is an incredible city to see when it’s all lit up at night.

5.- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

great sand dunes national park road trip

‘This is the place to go if you want to try something different’ says student blogger Kristina Sampson, from Paper Fellows and Boom Essays. ‘While everyone else from your college went to the beach, you can tell them you went sandboarding.’

Sandboarding? What’s that? Just as it sounds, it’s riding a board down the sand dunes of the national park. If you’ve ever been snowboarding, you’ll be familiar with how it works. You’ll find groups getting together to try this sport, and you can get some help with it if you’re brand new to aboard. Either way, you’re going to have a new and exciting experience under your belt.

The park is actually a brilliant place to go if you love being active. You’ll find activities like horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and more here. Find your most active friends and set off to try them all out.

6.- Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque Road Trip

This is a brilliant road trip destination for students, as you can head down to attend the Balloon Fiesta. This costs just $10 each to attend, and you’re going to have an amazing time when you’re there.

The fiesta obviously includes hundreds of hot air balloons heading up into the sky, which is truly a sight to behold. As well as this, you can check out unique shopping and dining experiences. If you want to see something unique and get some amazing pictures, then this is the place to be.

7.- New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Road Trip

When you think of New Orleans you think of Mardi Gras, which usually happens in February. If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras before, then you have to and experience it for yourself. You may think it would be too expensive to stay here during a peak season, but if you book your hotel ahead of time you can save more money than you’d think.

You can save more by going at other times, and you’ll still find plenty to see and do. You can check out Bourbon Street for example, which is jam-packed full of iconic jazz bars and tasty food. There’s never a dull moment here, that’s for sure.

8.- Pacific Coast Highway, California

Pacific Coast Highway, California Road Trip

When it comes to seeing the sights, you can’t do much better than the Pacific Coast Highway. This highway winds through major cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, so you can stop off and see what they have to offer. The highway is the main draw though, as it travels along the coastline. You’ll see amazing views as you’re traveling on it.

‘You can save money by booking cheap hotels or hostels’ says Riley Hutton, a writer at State Of Writing and Do My Assignment. ‘There’s plenty to choose from on the highway, and so you can make your money stretch further.’

9.- Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee Road Trip

If you’re planning your trip for the fall, then you have to go visit the Smoky Mountains. These mountains are at their best during this season, as the leaves start to change. It’s a great spot for those who love to hike too, as you can happily walk through some beautiful trails.

It’s an inexpensive trip, too. There are lots of cheap cabins available. If you want to stretch that money further, you can even camp in the Smoky Bear Campgrounds. You’ll be able to see everything the mountains have to offer, and on a budget too.

10.- Havasu Falls, Arizona

This is another location that’s perfect for nature lovers. Right in the middle of the desert, you’ll find the Havasu Falls. The location is stunning, and it’s the best place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of student life. It’s also an amazing place to take pictures, so any photography fans reading this should go and see it.

The Falls aren’t the easiest to access, as they’re in a remote region of the Grand Canyon. To get to them, you’ll need to take a 10-minute hike. It’s so worth it though, as the views are breathtaking.

You can do this trip on the cheap, too. Access to the park the Falls are located in is quite low, and you can camp overnight for a small fee, too. If you’re on a strict budget you’ll want to check this place out. There’s nowhere else quite like it.

These are 10 of the best road trip destinations that you can plan as a student. They won’t break the bank, so you can really make the most of your trip, even if funds are tight. After all, you need to make the most of the time you have as a student.

We hope you liked this article. Now you can continue reading our article about the differences between Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Payless, Sixt, Thrifty, Dollar, Alamo, National, or our ranking of the Top Car Rental Companies in the US.

Emily Henry is a travel writer, working with Write My Essay and Academized. She’s also a tutor working with Custom Essay service.

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