Getting Around in North America
With so many means of transport to travel in the US, you may discover that some of them are quite expensive. Flying is your best bet if you are in a hurry, but might eat your money really fast. While train routes in the USA cover all popular destinations, there are spots that will require bus or car to reach them. Besides, trains are almost always more expensive than buses. To reduce your transportation expenses in the US stick to bus services like Greyhound or hire a car that is usually a worthwhile investment since you can share fuel cost and gain a freedom when your destination is difficult to get to.
Mexico can be best seen from the window of the bus. You can use them at any time, almost everywhere. With a large network of bus routes, the only thing you should do is to pick a destination and the bus class. First class buses are equipped with A/C, TV and a WC and offer long distance bus services. When traveling over-night first class buses can get really cool. Have a pullover handy. Second class buses with the windows wide open and music playing normally connect cities and villages, use bumpy side roads and generally cheaper. These buses are great if you want to feel the spirit of Mexico. Major cities have subway systems. Flights are widely available in Mexico and sometimes costs less than long-distance buses.
Canada is a big country and getting around can be tough. Youth backpackers and students can take advantage of their age and get a discount for bus or train. Buses are great value but they don’t always stop near the place you need outside big cities. They are still comfortable and noticeably cheaper than trains, however. Buses are usually the only option in less densely populated areas. You can find bus companies ranging small family-run businesses to large international subsidiaries. Greyhound runs most of the long-distance routes. If you rent a car, try to share fuel costs. Hitchhiking is available almost everywhere (except some highways) but usually practiced near ski and hiking resorts.
Food In North America
Mexico is a food delicious destination. After Asia, Mexico has the nicest street food in the world. To get authentic Mexican food like tacos, enchiladas, tamales and guacamole stick to small family run eateries. Tourist restaurants are usually quite expensive by comparison. The set menu and meal of the day allow you to cut some food expenses. Mexico has plenty of fast food restaurant chains, both Mexican and American and supermarkets, which offer excellent bakeries, so eating cheaply on the move is easy.
Meals in the USA can be quite cheap if you stick to fast food or ethnic cuisine. Major cities like New York or LA will offer the complete blend of food ranging from cheap eateries to decent mid-range sit-down restaurants. In tiny towns, you can find roadside diners with deep-fried fast food. Portions are immensely large. Most restaurants (except for some fast food) offer complimentary water and soft drinks, which are often free in bars if bought with alcohol. You may expect your final bill to be higher because they add 15-20 percent and local sales tax. Cooking your own meals would always be cheaper and allows to save some extra money.
Food in Canada can be cheap if you prefer street vendors and homemade foods. Falafels, hot dogs, pizza slices and doner kebab come for less than 5 USD. Food beyond the Arctic Circle is more expensive. Supermarkets in major cities are omnipresent, providing possibilities to cook your own food. Expect to pay around 60 USD per week.
Accommodation in North America
The US has plentiful accommodation options, but not always they are cheap. With high standards even in hostels, dorm rooms cost between 25-40 USD per night. Hostels usually have free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Hotels and motels are usually the only options outside major cities. In motels expect to pay around 40-70 USD. Budget hotels range from 70-100 USD depending on your location.
You can find both cheap hostels and campsite accommodation in Canada. Staying at a hostel will cost you on average 22-27 USD per night in a dorm room and up to 50 USD for a single room. You can expect to pay 35-40 USD for a night at the campsite. This price will usually include food that you have to cook on your own. Larger cities set their price higher than smaller ones. In tiny towns, you won’t find an abundance of good accommodation but generally, family-run hotels allow to save greatly on accommodation. Airbnb is widely available throughout the country.
Hostels in Mexico are really cheap. Thus, you can find some cozy hostels for around 8-15 USD per night in a dorm room. Privates come between 18-30 USD. Hostels usually have free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Budget hotels start from 17-20 and go up from there. Some really cheap hostels in Mexico might be noisy and sometimes dirty, so a more expensive option usually solves this problem. Shared rooms through Airbnb can be found for around 13 USD, while studio apartments start from 35 USD.