North America is characterized by its breathtaking scenery that stretches far beyond the imagination. Yes, there are the bustling cities of New York and Toronto that come to mind when we think of North America, but it has so much more to offer too. Explore the rain forests of Puerto Rico, relax on a tropical beach somewhere in the Caribbean, organise a road trip, dance with the dead on the streets of Mexico. Whatever you’re looking for, North America has an answer. It may be one of the most expensive continents in the world to travel around, but budget travel around North America is certainly possible. Read on for some of our tips!
There’s never been a better time to visit Cuba; a country that has been shielded from much of the garish mass culture of the north, whilst also experiencing an awakening of sorts. Beaches, forests, plantations and a fierce historical heritage.
Few continents have such an exciting and varied cuisine as North America. Our utopist idea of the perfect food tour of North America goes something like this:
Start the tour off in New York with the obligatory bagel and corn dog on a stick. Heading west through the United States, grab a burger somewhere between Kansas and Arizona. Take a quick detour up into Canada for a poutine - a plate piled high of fries, cheese and gravy. Keep going south, straight into Mexico. When you reach your first Mexican pueblo (any will do), make a beeline for a rickety taco stand that’s sure to have a large pot of cochinita pibil slowly cooking, ready to be stuffed into a taco. Lather it with a spicy hot homemade salsa and be on your merry way. No time to hang around as El Salvador’s mouth watering pupusas, corn tortillas stuffed with meat and cheese, are calling your name!
Breakfast today is in Costa Rica - a typical, hearty Gallo Pinto made of rice and beans with scrambled eggs, chopped beef, fried plantains, and tortillas. Phoar! Full already? Don’t worry, a light lunch is next on the menu. Tangy ceviche from Panama prepared al estilo panameño to awaken your taste buds. Just the fuel you'll need to keep you afloat while you swim your way across the Caribbean sea and into Jamaica for the ultimate comfort-food dinner. Yes, you guessed it, jerk chicken for the soul - everyone's favourite spicy-sweet explosion of flavours.
For the last stop on this whistle-stop food tour of North America, something special to go out with a bang. You can make your way over to Cuba or Puerto Rico for this last dish. It’s a typical holiday food to mark a celebration which makes it all the more fitting to mark the end of our tour! Feast your eyes (and belly) on a lechon asado, a whole milk piglet cooked on a spit until the skin is crispy and the meat inside so tender it can be pulled apart with a spoon. It takes many hours to cook so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island while you wait!
Travelling around North America is notoriously tough on the bank balance. However, as seasoned travellers ourselves, we’ve made this list of nifty tips to help you keep costs down and travel around North America the cheap way.
Whilst many sights and activities in North America are expensive, there is a vast array of things to do for free. Do your research to find out what days of the week you can visit the museums for free. Parks, beaches and markets are always free, and don’t forget that most festivals and street parties are open to everyone.
For some, the idea of sleeping under the stars requires no persuasion. For others, camping may be synonymous with a bad night’s sleep, creepy crawlies and an unhygienic bathroom. If you fall into the latter category, don’t give up on camping just yet. Especially for visits to the US. There are some truly wonderful campsites situated in the country's National Parks that range from 20$ to 30$ a night, including hot showers, laundry facilities, convenience stores and swimming pools. That sounds like a good deal to us!
It may not be the most glamorous mode of transportation, but it’s certainly one of the cheapest. In the United States, travelling by Greyhound bus is a simple way to keep costs down. Students get 20% off, whilst groups of friends or family can get up to 50% off! For Canada, try out Megabus
So you have your heart set on a Caribbean beach destination? Instead of choosing some of the more expensive islands such as Barbados, St. Barts or Anguilla, choose to visit places that have much of the same culture and beauty, but without the price tag. Cuba, Dominican republic or Santa Marta in Colombia are great alternatives.
This is especially true for destinations in the southern part of the continent. Street food is not only cheap, but a fantastic way to truly experience the soul of a country through your taste buds.
Meeting new people while travelling has so many benefits. Not only do you get the chance to be exposed to new cultures from around the world and make lasting friendships, you can also split expenses amongst you. Whether it’s a taxi ride back to your accommodation, a bottle of wine shared on the beach or a guide to take you from one island to another.Travel with low-cost airlines where possible
You know the ones. Overpriced sandwiches on the main strip; taking a taxi ride without confirming the price before or using the meter; overpaying for crowded tourist attractions.
Do your research and seek out the cheaper no-frills airlines, especially for short haul flights. Did you know you can go around the world just with low cost airlines?
Plan your route and book as much as you can in advance. Often the cheapest deals are found when you book flight, hotel and car as a bundle!
Petrol prices vary depending on the petrol station you stop at. It might seem relatively small, but if you’re road tripping across a large country it’ll soon add up. In Canada, for example, always choose to buy your gas from native reserves. Prices are significantly cheaper thanks to lower taxes - and you’ll be supporting the community of Canada’s First People.
If it’s spectacular outdoor experiences you seek, you’ve come to the right continent. North America is a showcase of mother nature’s best work. Deep, cavernous canyons, soaring forests, red-rock deserts and tropical rain forests. From the geographical extremes of Death Valley in California to the ice caps of Alaska. What’s your terrain of choice?
The dry season in Mexico is the best time to visit and takes place between December and April. In the south of the country, the wet season starts in May and lasts until October. Most tourists will avoid the wet season, but it can be a great time to visit without the crowds and tourist prices. Hurricanes are most likely on the Caribbean coast between June and November.
Canada has very distinct seasons throughout much of the country. Temperatures peak at 35°C during the summer and can go as low as -25°C in the winter. If you prefer more moderate weather, a good time to visit is during the spring or autumn. It’s worth bearing in mind that Canada is very well equipped to deal with the cold and there are many activities to do during winter time.
California has hot, dry summers (June-September) and mild, rainy winters (January-March). July and August are the best times to go for beach weather. May and June have pleasant temperatures, but are known for being notoriously foggy, with a low lying cloud that sits on the coastline for much of the day.
New York has very seasonal weather - cold and often snowy in the winter, hot and very humid in the summer. The most pleasant times to visit New York are during the spring and autumn. Not only are the temperatures more mild, but the nature in the city comes alive, especially in the autumn where the whole city gets covered in a layer of orange/brown leaves!
Florida is subtropical with mild winters and hot, sunny summers. During the height of summer, temperatures can reach 38°C, making the day time quite unbearable. Winter temperatures range from 11°C to 20°C depending on the geographical area.
The Caribbean has a tropical climate and is sunny for much of the year. There are two main seasons in the Caribbean - rainy and dry. The rainy season usually runs between May - December but can change depending on the island. Not many tourists visit the Caribbean during the rainy season, and many hotels don’t even open at this time. The most pleasant time to visit the Caribbean is during the dry season - between February and June.
Cuba has a semi tropical climate, with average temperatures hovering between 21°C - 27°C, making it pleasant to visit year round. The rainy season runs from May to October, with much of the rainfall occurring in the mountain areas. The eastern coast of the country are often hit with hurricanes from August to October.
We know how important travel is, so we’re here to make sure you have everything you need for your trip of a lifetime. When it comes to travel documents and visas, the law differs from country to country across the continent so make sure you plan for every stop of your journey. Once that’s done, all that’s left is to enjoy your trip!