If there's anything I want to know before a trip, it's how I can do it for less money. In the beginning of June, I set out to Wyoming to visit some of the coolest national parks in the country. During my trip, I learned some of the best ways to save a dollar while national park hopping. This week I'm talking about the greatest ways to save in Yellowstone. Whose ready to do Yellowstone on a budget? Here's Five Money-Saving Tips for Yellowstone You Need to Know...
1. Where to stay:
To save money, I would definitely consider camping inside the park or staying at a hotel in a nearby town. Lodging inside the park starts at $200 a night on weekdays and this is booking one year in advance.
Camping would be the cheapest route. Their nightly rate starts at $25.25 on a weekday and this is booking a month in advance as well. As much as I love camping, I went to the park alone so I wasn’t gonna try to do that lol!
Although, my hotel was SUPER close to the park and BEYOND what I expected. I stayed at Sawtelle Mountain Resort in Island Park, ID for $191 (with tax), which is about 35 minutes from the West Yellowstone Entrance. I did choose the deluxe room option because it wasn’t much more! Damn though, it was the perfect room to relax and crash. AND HOW ABOUT THIS BATHROOM?! Kinda felt like I was at a Ritz.
If you plan on visiting three or more national parks this year, I’d purchase an America the Beautiful pass. The pass is $80, so if you think about it, you’d spend $90 to visit three national parks for full price. With this pass, you have access to ALL national parks. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a better deal.
*I bought mine with cash at the Moran Entrance Station in Grand Teton.
3. What to eat:
If you’re camping, try to bring as much food as possible. The park does have a few general stores, but buying the bulk of your groceries here may be overwhelming and expensive. If you’re staying outside of the park, I would bring along a few meals as well.
There isn’t a super great selection of hot food, unless you can live off of hotdogs and cold pretzels. Inside their lodges, they have a few restaurants, so eating one meal in the park could be manageable.
4. Map out your itinerary:
If you only have 24-48 hours, map out your day’s itinerary. I GET IT. Let’s just show up and be flexible. Trust me, I thought that too. I JUST WANNA GO WHERE THE ROAD TAKES ME. If you have a week to spare, go ahead, do that. If not, you need a plan. This isn’t a theme park, everything is spread out. And by spread out I mean MILES apart. Therefore, collect your “must sees” and form an itinerary based on every site’s location. I wasted SO much gas. Don’t be me.
*Click here to download the map.
5. Skip Tower Fall
Skip Tower Fall if you aren’t ready to hike. I arrived here around midday (after been hiking since 6am) and I was not about to use the rest of my energy to walk to the bottom of this thing. I walked to the observer deck and after the hourish drive, I was kind of disappointed.
If you’re in town for 24 hours, don’t waste gas on the drive there, it’s pretty out of the way. For 48 hours, decide if this is gonna be your “hiking” site, because going to get a glimpse, isn’t worth it.
Whose ready to go to Yellowstone and NOT BREAK THE BANK? All y'all better be raising your hand. I hope these tips help you plan a crazy fun trip that's REASONABLY priced! :)
*If you have a money-saving tip I didn't mention, DROP IT BELOW! I know I'll be going back.
*What's your favorite Yellowstone site and WHY?
Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11