eVisa: Traveling to the United States on a Budget

The statue of Liberty shot from underneath surrounded by sky

Embarking on a trip to the United States can be the adventure of a lifetime. The sprawling and diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and melting pot of cultures make it a bucket-list destination for many travelers from around the globe. Whether you’re dreaming of photographing the majestic Grand Canyon, exploring the historic streets of Boston, or soaking up the sun in Miami Beach, the US offers something for everyone. However, travel can be expensive, and it’s crucial to find ways to make the most of your journey without breaking the bank. Luckily, with strategic planning and practical tips, you can enjoy the wonders of America while maintaining a budget-friendly itinerary.

Before you set out on your American holiday, ensuring you have the right documentation in place is essential. For many travelers, this includes obtaining an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which is a requirement for citizens of VWP Countries planning to visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program. This convenient online system enables you to receive travel authorization without the lengthy process of applying for a visa. With this in mind, let’s delve into some budget travel tips that will help you enjoy your US trip to the fullest.

Planning Your Trip

With a country as vast as the US, carefully planning your itinerary can make a significant difference in how far your travel dollars go. Consider these tips:

  • Research and Compare: Look for deals and discounts on flights, accommodation, and attractions. Prices can vary greatly, so use comparison websites to find the best offers.
  • Travel Off-Peak: Visiting outside of high-season periods can result in cheaper flights and hotel rates, and also there are often fewer tourists.
  • Consider Alternative Airports: Sometimes flying into a smaller airport can save money, then you can use local transport to reach your destination.
  • Public Transportation: Utilizing buses, subways, and trains can be a more affordable alternative to renting a car or using taxis.
  • Pack Smart: Avoid extra fees by packing light and being aware of airline baggage policies.

Accommodation on a Budget

Accommodation can eat up a significant part of your travel budget. To keep costs low:

  • Book in Advance: Often, the earlier you book your accommodation, the better the price.
  • Stay in Hostels: Hostels are a budget-friendly alternative to hotels and are a great way to meet other travelers.
  • Consider Vacation Rentals: Renting a room or an entire place can be more cost-effective, especially for longer stays.
  • Loyalty Programs: Sign up for hotel loyalty programs that can offer discounts, upgrades, or free nights.

Eating and Drinking Economically

The US is home to a fantastic array of cuisines, but dining out can quickly add up. To save money:

  • Eat Like a Local: Seek out where locals eat for authentic and usually less expensive meals.
  • Cook Your Own: If your accommodation allows, shop at local markets and prepare some of your meals.
  • Lunch Specials: Many restaurants offer lunch specials which can be a cheaper option than dining in the evening.
  • Water: Drink tap water when possible; it’s free and safe to drink in most parts of the US.

Attractions and Entertainment

The US is brimming with attractions, and the costs can vary widely. To save on these expenses:

  • City Passes: These can offer significant savings for multiple attractions within a city.
  • Free Activities: Take advantage of free attractions such as museums, parks, and historic sites.
  • Student and Senior Discounts: Always ask for discounts if you’re a student or senior adult, as many places offer reduced rates.

Applying for an ESTA

Before embarking on your budget-friendly adventure, ensure you have the necessary travel authorization. Here’s a simple guide to applying for an ESTA:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.


How long does an ESTA last for multiple trips?

An ESTA is generally valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and allows for multiple short visits to the United States.

Can I extend my stay in the US with an ESTA?

Unfortunately, an ESTA does not permit extensions. You can stay for up to 90 days per visit.

Is it possible to work in the US with an ESTA?

An ESTA is strictly for tourism, business meetings, and transit purposes. Working in the US requires a different type of visa.

What should I do if my ESTA application is denied?

If an ESTA application is denied, you may need to apply for a US visa. For more information on the visa application process, you should consider consulting with immigration experts or attorneys.


Traveling to the United States on a budget is very feasible with the right planning and a little ingenuity. By following these cost-saving tips and ensuring you have your travel authorization with an ESTA, you’re set to explore the vast and varied experiences that the US has to offer. Start your adventure today by securing your travel authorization, and enjoy the trip of a lifetime without overspending!

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