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A British couple have explained how they saved up and quit their jobs in the UK to go and travel across the United States for months – visiting cities, national parks and monuments along the way.
Megan Barrett, 27, and Mikey Rudak, 28, always wanted to travel, but initially thought they’d head to South East Asia or South America like many other people in their twenties.
However, social media persuaded them to journey across the pond instead where they travelled from Seattle to California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida and finally New York.
READ MORE: 10 weird and wonderful places in the US as it drops Covid tests for Brits
The Leeds couple saw incredible landscapes at various national parks like the Olympic, Redwood, Yosemite and Joshua Tree parks, and shared their journey on their Instagram page, @Wandering_Fools_.
They gave followers plenty of wanderlust too, ticking a host of vibrant cities off the list including Nashville, Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, LA, Portland and San Francisco.
Megan told the Daily Star: “We started to be more exposed to how varied the US is in terms of landscapes and places through social media.
"I mostly assumed it was like LA or NY big cities that were over commercialised, seemingly dangerous and just overrated.
“But, Mikey is a nature boy at heart who is really into climbing and Yosemite National Park ft El Capitan was a dream.
“Once we started to look delve into the national parks it opened up a whole new perspective of the US and we got to work planning our adventure.”
The duo packed their incredible journey into 10 weeks having applied for an ESTA Via waiver – and budgeted for hours by looking for cheap hostels and hostels.
Megan explained: “The US is no cheap affair even when you're trying to be a sensible backpacker.
“We set a budget of around $100 per night maximum between us so $50 each including tax, so we roughly needed around £2,500 for accommodation. Then renting a car, flights, trains and buses we budgeted around £2,000.
“Then £4,000 for spending money roughly about $80 a day. In total £8,000 each.”
“We both quit our jobs which felt like needed for us to truly switch off and indulge in the travelling lifestyle without worry about customers and/or projects we would be coming back to.”
The pair saved up their cash over a year putting any spare money into a pot and were conscious to cut out things like takeaways.
Megan added: “0% interest credit cards are great for the bigger costs such as flights, experiences and car rental.
"We're told to avoid credit cards by parents etc but actually they're a great way to build your credit score and used responsibly they reduce the saving burden.”
They recommend using Monzo’s round-up pot to scrape extra cash off of your spending.
When they arrived in the US, Mikey and Megan used planes, trains, cars and the Greyhound bus service to get around.
They noted: “Road-tripping is super expensive and time consuming but totally worth it on some routes. We drove for most of the West Coast (Washington, Oregon and California) because the route is incredible. From the views of the ocean to mountains to desert, the West Coast really has it all.
“But a lot of US land is also super barren, boring and takes forever to get anywhere. For the price of hiring a car and fuel, flying is so much cheaper and quicker.
“We braved one Greyhound coach which we had been advised to be wary of, it had some interesting character but an all round ok experience for us. It's not something we would advise for long haul trips.”
But, the trip was worth it all for the experiences the young couple enjoyed.
They explained the places they most enjoyed during their travels.
Best 5 USA destinations according to Megan and Mikey
- Yosemite National Park, California: "Utterly breath-taking views with hikes for all abilities."
- Redwood National Forest, California: "This place is literally pulled from a fairytale, you will feel like you've entered a Lord of the Rings style dream."
- Austin, Texas: "Texas in general blew our minds with how beautiful it is but Austin is incredible. It's like if you took Shoreditch, London made it more vibrant and lively then added some gorgeous sunshine."
- Nashville, Tennessee: "If you enjoy live music Nashville is the place to be specifically Broadway Street. A huge street with over 32 bars all playing live music from country to rock."
- Joshua Tree National Park, California: "Joshua Tree National Park is so unique it almost feels like a landscape from a cartoon. We stayed in Desert Heights, a city on the outskirts of the park which gave off serious Mad Max vibes."
And, their favourite sights were totally free.
Megan said her top experience was: “100% the starry night in the desert, after around 10 minutes your eyes adjust to probably millions of stars. It was a dream moment and core memory that will stay with me forever.”
While Mikey noted his was: “Walking up Clifton Rock at Yosemite National Park looking out over half dome when the most American thing happened. A bald eagle flew straight across the landscape. Unbelievable.”
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