US Through the Back Door

January 21, 2008

I’m a big fan of Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Back Door and Asia Through the Back Door books. These books opened up a whole new world of travel for me, when I was a starving graduate student, letting me know that travel didn’t have to be expensive and luxurious to be fun and broadening. Through these books I’ve found little cheap hotels in Paris, and managed to learn my way around that city long before I could afford a room with a shower.

Inexpensive travel is something I’ve also loved in Paul Theroux’s travel books. But why does travel have to be foreign? Of late I’ve enjoyed driving cross country, rather than flying, to visit family. It takes a little longer, but flying in the post-9/11 world has become an ordeal. The only drawback are the sterile, expensive hotels that one is limited to. There must be a good guide to travel in the US, a place that points one to colorful and cheap hotels in interesting cities.

For example, some time ago, $70 became the default price for hotels in the US. Are there decent hotels less expensive than this? Or, by trying to save money, does one fate oneself to lumpy beds and rooms that smell of stale cigarettes? Maybe it’s the graduate student mentality that never went away, but $70 seems a great deal of money for a bed and a shower.

If anyone knows of such a guide, please leave a comment below.


One Response to “US Through the Back Door”

  1. So, if you want authentic, small town experiences, we are building a site to share information about small towns that have historic and artistic charm, called So far, budget traveling has not been one of our considerations. In addition to being authentic, our towns are walkable and have a good concentration of locally-owned merchants downtown. You’ll find locally-owned lodging downtown at one of our towns, but we can’t guarantee it’ll be cheap.

    Have fun traveling.

    John Delconte

    P.S. If you happen to make it to one of our towns, we’d love your feedback on it.

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