It’s no secret that the United States is a big place, and there’s a lot of territory to cover if you want to visit the whole country. It may not be possible to see every knock and cranny of the US, but it is possible to at least visit every state.
For those who are interested in undertaking this journey and building up their collection of travel stories, here are some tips to help you visit all 50 states in an efficient and cost-effective way:
- Make Use of Credit Card Points
There are now a number of credit cards that offer great rewards points once you spend a certain amount within the first few months of use. These many travel cards will give you tens of thousands of airline or hotel points that you can use to subsidize the cost of flights and lodging. You can find a list of travel reward cards sorted by airline and hotel at The Points Guy.
If you have decent credit, apply to a couple of these cards in advance of any upcoming trips. With some planning upfront, you can apply to a number of cards within a single year without lowering your credit score if you space out applications to banks that pull from the same credit reporting agency.
- Avoid Peak Travel Times
This one is a bit of a no-brainer: don’t travel during peak holidays, such as Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. You won’t be able to use your points during these times and prices are higher. Travel during the off season to major tourist centers to the greatest extent possible. Yes, Yellowstone may be cold in the winter, but you won’t have to wait 20 minutes to see Old Faithful!
- Be Smart About Stacking States
Again, another no-brainer, but if you map out your plan for visiting all 50 states in advance, you can hit them all in 12 trips. If you’re aggressive, this means you can make your goal in four to five years!
- But Don’t Miss the Must-See Places
Stacking states means you will be traveling to specific regions within the US rather than one state at a time. You may be tempted to simply hop across the border of a few states, but make sure you don’t miss the must-see places in the United States.
- Take a Great American Road Trip
Of course the fastest way to see the 48 continental US states is to take a Great American Road trip across the country. It’s quite an undertaking, but it can be done in just a week if you don’t linger in any one place. For those who really want to savor the trip, you will need to take time off from work unless you can work remotely. Done right, this could be the least expensive option and is also a classic one. So head on out to Route 66.
Americans love to travel domestically. Many of us take at least one domestic trip a year, so why not try to visit all 50 states? Whether it takes you a single year or 20, you’ll be glad you did.