Travel USA with $5000
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Nov 9, 2012 7:37 AM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
Nov 8, 2012 1:55 AM
Travel USA with $5000Greetings from Namibia (Africa)!
I have just received a wonderful opportunity to take a break from the working world and I GOTTA GO SEE THE STATES!
I am deeply in love with music and would like to see Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans (optional) and New York/Boston. Yeah sure very general, but it's a foreign affair and that's why I'm posting this!
Now I've read and researched lots and I think it's both informed and confused me more. Never-the-less, I'm looking for some expert advice from fellow travellers on taking North America on a shoestring budget. I can get out $5000 after buying a return ticket and I am busy building up some contacts in America.
I am ping-ponging between volunteering and JUST travelling, because of budget concerns. Another thought I have is to build up contacts according to where I wanna go and only pay for accommodation when really necessary.
I am really counting on some expertise from the Lonely Planet out there! Looking forward to your responses....thank you
TO RECAP: 3-4 months • $5000 • travel • bunk • Coast-to-Coast
Nov 8, 2012 2:16 AM
1The best thing for you would be to register on "Couchsurfing" . www.couchsurfing.org This will allow you to write up a profile, explaining your needs( eg. your views on music) and I think you'll find that your accommodation will often be covered and you'll meet a great bunch of people. You have the ability to read other's profiles to choose where to stay, or offer up your profile and they will send you an "offer to stay"
For getting around......get on www.craigslist.org...... You can log on by state and city and area, and then go under RIDESHARE..... This will allow you to find very easy, cheap rides from Seattle to Portland to SF, and beyond.
For big journeys, for example Heading to the EAst coast, look up Southwest Airlines. This is one of the really good, fun cheapie airlines that gives free luggage!!
Nov 8, 2012 4:24 AM
Good luck with that. Many music vencues will charge at least half that.
Work visas are not easy to get.
Nov 8, 2012 5:38 AM
3OK, you like music and want to travel in the U.S for 3-4 months, from coast to coast, on $5,000. However, you don't say what dates you plan to travel which is important and will impact your budget.
First the budget: $5,000 spread over, let' say three months, works out to about $420 per week. I'm afrraid that would be impossible even for the stingiest of budget travellers. And that doesn't even include travelling costs between destinations. For the type fo trip you describe, you may ba able to stretch your $5,000 to last you about five to six weeks and even then if you limit your destinations and stay out of expensive places like New York.
Interests: Music is a big one for you, but are you particular? Indie rock, bluegrass, country, symphony orchestras, hip-hop? In summer thaere are many music fetivals around the States also. So, please narrow that down some.
Volunteering: Where? Do you have a lead on that? And why do you want to volunteer on such a short trip. IF ti is to earn some money along the way - forget it. Opportunities extremely limited, pay extremely low.
Please come back with more information.
Nov 8, 2012 6:31 AM
4Thanks TravellinAndi that really helps me plenty! You giving me some great insights there...! So you think I can do it?
Thanks for the suggestions of places bzookaj
Maybe I got a tad carried away with the LOVE OF MUSIC topic. I do love music like the next guy, I just mentioned those cities as inspirations, it's not a musical edutainment trip I'm looking for. But if I have to narrow it down - I would probably say alternative rock, indie, and anything new in terms of hip hop, old school blues, bluegrass is also great, I'm a music lover, but it will definitely not decide my travelling arrangements.
Timewise I'm looking at beginning of 2013 January - departure to US - and then take it from there.
Look this is my initial thoughts and I'm throwing things up in the air for discussion - that's what this is right? So I'm looking for some "Wow okay that's not a lot of money, but here's what you can do...." comments if possible...I may be slightly optimistic, but hey, I wanna see that side of the world and I really really hope that the money I have will make the cut....
looking forward to your thoughts - thanks so much for spending the time on my topic!
Nov 8, 2012 6:48 AM
5Do you hold a passport other than a Namibian one?
If you only have a Namibian passport, your first challenge will be to get the tourist visa. There is a $160 fee for this. You must prove that you have such strong ties to Namibia that you will want to return. This could include a job waiting for you when you return, owning property, being part of a family business, having a bank account, etc. Having other ties like family, friends, a church, a band you play in, etc. are also good.
You will need to convince the US official that you will be able to travel in the US without working.
If you want to leave in January, you should begin the visa process NOW. It takes about a week to get an appointment for an interview. Most visas are processed a few days after your interview, but it can sometimes take weeks.
Once you get the visa, you are not guarantee admission to the US. That is up to the immigration official on arrival. If the official thinks you don't have enough funds for your trip, you can be denied entry.
As noted, you cannot accept pay for volunteering. If you volunteer with a charity or a church, you can accept lodging, food or a transit pass. If you volunteer with a private business, such as working on a farm, you cannot be given anything, not even a place ot sleep. You cannpot legally get free admission to a club in return for cleaning the floors, or exchange labor for a stay at a hostel.
Nov 8, 2012 7:26 AM
Nov 8, 2012 7:40 AM
7I only have a Namibian passport.
Tourist Visa I have enquired about yeah, it takes about 2-3 days according to them and interviews are pretty slim pickings so I'll hopefully get one soon!
Thanks for the advice, I will then take some documentation with me to explain why I would definitely come back. That's good stuff there thanks.
Yeah thanks it seems more and more that US is very strict custom-wise. I will therefore only depend on contacts I'm building right now, in terms of accommodation and guidance through cities. As well as some couch surfing where need be!
Is Hostels International a good bet for low-cost living while I'm there, if I become a member? http://www.hiusa.org/
So I can accept food/lodging when volunteering at charity or private person's home? That's all I need when push comes to shove hey!
I was thinking of just doing the West - but I cannot go to America without checking out New York - I know it's a cliché, but it's the mecca of America from my perspective. I'll walk if I have to, pff! So yeah - I'll skip Austin, but I have to see NY - I'll take a bus or something....Craigslist lift!?!
Thanks so much for all the feedback - really helping me plan it out in my mind.
Keep em coming
Nov 8, 2012 7:41 AM
Nov 8, 2012 8:47 AM
Beds will usually be $20-$45 per night, depending on location.
That latter number is over your 4 month per diem.
At a private person's home? No.
Nov 8, 2012 8:57 AM
At a private person's home? No.
To clarify. If a private person offers a room or a meal, as a gesture of friendship, that is fine. If they offer you a room or a meal in exchange for specific work, that is not allowed. An example would be "I'll let you stay for the night if you cut the grass on my lawn."
Nov 8, 2012 1:02 PM
11Wow, okay, that's not a lot of money, but here's what you can do...
You won't be able to travel for 3-4 months on a $5,000 budget. Let's forget about transportation for a minute, and just focus on your daily costs. Generally, you'll probably average about $40 a night for lodging. (Less in some places, more in New York, etc.) You can probably get by on $20 a day for food if you are eating fast food and grocery stores. If you want to see a tourist site or museum, you're looking at $10 each, maybe more. Local transportation will probably add at least a few dollars per day. And if you want to go out and see music on occasion, and maybe some drinks, that can add up quickly. Let's just say $100 a day, which is a very low budget that won't leave much room for expensive concerts or too much nightclubbing. (Even if you use Couchsurfing, you will usually not be staying in the center of town, so public transportation costs will go up.)
Now, let's deal with transportation. If you focused just on one coast, or one region, you can significantly minimize your transportation costs. But doing New York and the West Coast will add at least a few hundred dollars in cost. Let's say you can find a $300 ticket coast to coast (not always possible), and maybe add in another $300 for bus travel between cities for a total of $600.
Now, let's do a little math: your $5,000 budget, minus $600 for transportation is $4,400. If you were able to get by on a very small budget of $100 a day, you could survive for 44 days in the United States. Obviously nowhere near your 3-4 month desire.
Keep in mind that in many cities in January, you will want to find indoor pursuits, and those aren't always free. In the summer, you can do a lot of walking and exploring outside, but many northern cities will be very cold in January.
Nov 8, 2012 1:34 PM
Nov 8, 2012 3:55 PM
13Not to discourage volunteering, or to deny that we have poverty and other needs here, but wouldn't it make more sense to put your volunteering time in while you're still in Namibia?
Nov 8, 2012 6:28 PM
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