Cheapest Way to Travel Across America

#cheapest way to travel

Cheapest Way to Travel Across America

Flying coach is perhaps the cheapest option, but upgrades quickly add up. (Photo: Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images )

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When you’re ready to make the journey of more than 5,000 miles across the United States, you have more than one option to make the trek. Choices include flying, taking a train or bus, or driving your own car, but which one is the cheapest depends on how many people you travel with and how many stops you want to make. It also depends on where you want to start and end your trip. But for the sake of comparison, we’ll compare the costs of getting from New York City to Seattle, Washington.

Flying: Quick and Cheap

It might seem counterintuitive, but flying can be the cheapest option — especially if you’re only flying one way. As of November 2013, it can cost less than $200 to fly from New York or Newark, New Jersey, to Seattle. Flying is also the fastest way to get from point A to point B — but if your intent is to stop and see the sights along the way, this might not be the option for you. Also, flight costs can vary greatly depending on the time of year, baggage fees and where you’re starting from. If you’re not starting from an area near a major airport, expect to pay a lot more.

Bus: Cheap but Long

The second-cheapest option is to take the bus. Greyhound buses stop in nearly every major and midsize town in the United States — and many smaller ones too. As of November 2013, it costs you close to $300 to take a bus from New York City to Seattle. The ride takes nearly three days, meaning you have lots of time to see the scenery outside of your window. It also means you spend a lot of time in a cramped space, and you have to pack food to bring with you or buy meals whenever the bus stops. You can also arrange to stop off for a day or two in one of the cities where Greyhound stops and then take the next bus that comes — but that means you must book hotels or campgrounds, which costs you more money.

Train: Long and Sometimes Expensive

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