Tour USA Thrifty Style

Have travel trailer and want to tour USA with 2 sons, 12 and 9. Will home school on the road. Would appreciate any thrifty tips re:where to stay, inexpensive interesting historical, entertainment, outdoor/indoor museums, etc, that won't eat up our budget. Any tips appreciated. Husband is retired and I will retire before we start out.


By Debbie F.

May 11, 20010 found this helpful

Several suggestions:

1) If you are not a member of the Good Sam Club, see if anyone you know has back copies of their monthly magazine, "Highways". There is a wealth of ideas in there of places to visit. Also "Trailer Life" is available at most public libraries. That magazine will be helpful. Just look at as many as you can for ideas.

2) Call 1-800-555-1212 for the toll-free numbers of the state tourist information centers that you plan to be traveling in. The US Corps of Engineers as well as the US Forest Service have campgrounds that are either free or nearly free. Ask for this information as well as anything else you want to know. They will send you anything and everything.

3) Check out the various camp ground directories that are available at your public library. You will find listings for all kinds of public and private campgrounds with rates.

4) Ask your reference librarian to help you find books on free campgrounds. Also ask him/her to help direct you in finding sources for all the things you want to see. Libraries have tons of very useful information and it is all free.

5) Some people research the area nearest them for cheap camping spots and museums, etc. and then make it a point to visit the tourist information places in that area and just ask anyone they deal with for more ideas. Once you have done everything and seen everything you want to in that area, move on to another and start the process all over again.

6) Use the Web. Start with and start checking out all the links.

What you wish to do is our dream when my husband retires several years from now. In the meantime we make use of our 5th wheel frequently for vacations and weekends away. It would be nice if you could get in touch with another family that home schools as they travel in an RV. I know they are out there, but other than contacting home school organizations, I don't know where to direct you. Good luck. - Betty in Oregon

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May 11, 20010 found this helpful

Your answer: WALMART! Walmart will let people in

campers & RVs stay in their lot for free overnight! Also try state parks for an inexpensive place to

stay & camp. - Alekscat the frugal feline

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May 15, 20010 found this helpful

Some of the spots that we have visited for 'very little' money are:

Grand Canyon - if reservations made far in advance you can walk/ride down into the canyon - Boulder dam - Nevada (good tour and museum)

Little Big Horn - Montana have interesting speakers with different points of view on the action.

The Arch at Saint Louis - Missouri good movie on the building of the arch - fun trip to the top of the arch - beautiful museum at the base of the arch.

Mt. St. Helens - Oregon (Editor's Note: It's in Washington State) good movie of the eruption - interesting speakers with different points of view on the volcano.

Mount Rushmore - South Dakota interesting movie on the carving of the faces - good camping areas. You can see about as much of the Crazy Horse monument from the road as paying to get up close. They do have a small museum and on occasion an Indian performing. For an outing you might go to the hot springs pool at Hot Springs, S.D.

Scott's Bluff monument - Scott's Bluff, NE - interesting museum and view. Be careful if walking down the monument, rattlesnakes in the area. There is a new "ARCH" at Kearney, NE. I have heard mixed reviews. It demonstrates transportation across America. There is the Sthur Museum at Grand Island, a museum and planetarium and IMAX theatre at Hastings, Harold Warp Pioneer Village at Minden, Chimney Rock near Gering, Carhenge north of Alliance, Boys Town at Omaha, State Capitol building at Lincoln, Nebraska State Fair at Lincoln (over labor day), Buffalo Bill Cody Ranch at North Platte ( museum, movies, etc..), Homestead National Monument near Beatrice, visit Nebraska City around Labor Day for the apples - watch them make cider. Information call 1 - 800-228-4307

Rocky Mountains of Colorado - camping, mountain climbing, old mines, - Lookout mountain where Buffalo Bill is buried - Pikes Peak - Phantom Canyon Road , near canon city - Trail Ridge Road - north of Denver. Royal Gorge bridge, near Canyon City - Seven Falls at Colorado Springs - also Red Rocks Monument, Cave of the Winds, a pottery factory, the Air Force Academy and a very good zoo.

Wyoming - Devil's Tower, Yellowstone - helpful rangers, wildlife, geysers, mud pots, if you have the time a trip over Bear Tooth Pass is breathtaking.

I write to the state(s) we plan to visit and ask them to send:

a current road map, accommodations (motels, camping, etc.), events, points of interest. They usually are very accommodating. You might try looking them up on the internet by typing in the individual states and see where that gets you.

Hope this gives you some ideas. - Judy

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May 20, 20010 found this helpful

Camping memberships like coast to coast make camping in Great Parks very affordable. Good luck! We have the same plans except we have 3 more years to wait. We are making our plan though!

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August 22, 20040 found this helpful

Try Salem, MA. I went there in High School and loved it! It educational from the historical view and entertaining for those uninterested in the history of the Witchraft trials, which actually didn't take place in this town but in the wone currently known as Andover. Salem has it's own museums, memorial to the innocents executed, shops, inns, fortune tellers and even it's own official witch. Plan for at least two days to take it all in, three if you've got them. Your kids will love this place as much as you.

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