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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip vacation conundrum

    My wife and I were planning to take a roadtrip from southeast Texas to New Mexico for twelve days for vacation and our first anniversary. We've been looking forward to the trip for ages -- in fact, some days that's what really gets us through the BS at work!

    The highlights were Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell (her grandmother lives there, so it's not *all* about the UFOs), Trinity Site and the VLA, a stop at Ruidoso, a spa at Santa Fe, and maybe a few hours in Albuquerque. Add to that a few things from on the way and on the way back, and we had a good plan.

    I had budgeted about $3,400 for hotels, gas, food, petsitting and costs for events and sightseeing and a few souveniers, plus whatever it cost to rent a car to go since our cars were aging. Then, reality set in and the transmission on my car gave up the ghost on the way to work one morning about two weeks ago. Since then we shopped around and I bought a brand new car since my old car was starting its ninth year, so it didn't make sense to pump that kind of money into it. However, I put five grand down on the new car, so there went our road trip money!

    I have looked at our finances and I hate the idea of dipping into our (now smaller) savings for this roadtrip since in the last year we've bought a house and now a car, but we're both really bummed at the prospect of spending our vacation time sitting at home watching repeats of "Without a Trace" and doing chores around the house. Does anyone have any suggestions to help us make this dream come true, or should we sit it out this year and save our pennies to do it early next year?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Old Man Murphy

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forum!

    Congratulations on the first year together, too!

    Budgeting can be a tricky issue, especially if you have your heart set on seeing a lot of different events etc. Here is an article on saving money with a lot of good tips.

    While only you can ultimately decide what your priorities are regarding money, here are some other tips in no particular order should you decide to head out this year:

    A possibility you could look into is staying with her grandmother, if that is an option for a night or two. Lodging and food costs tend to take up the majority of our trip budget, and I'm sure many others as well (see this link for more on this).

    Another option is to cut back on the number of days for your trip. This not only will cut costs, but will give you some time to unwind from your vacation (I know it sounds silly, but experience says this can be a good idea).

    You could also take some shorter, local trips. Maybe there's something near your home that you've always wanted to see but never have had the chance to? Now's the time. The best part is, you won't absolutely have to get a motel/hotel room.

    That Murphy and his law seem to get around...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Budget trips are fun, too!

    I don't know when you plan on doing this trip or if you like roughing it, but you can bring your costs down significantly by camping and eating out of your cooler for most meals. I typically tent camp for about $20/night and then eat out of my cooler most days. This means that it really doesn't cost anymore to eat than it would if you were eating at home. Re-stocking at full-size grocery stores is cost-effective. And then, when I do eat out, I typically only do it once every 2-3 days and then kinda splurge on someplace either really nice or quite memorable in some ways. No boring Denny's type meals. I've done roadtrips of 4,000 miles, and for up to 2 weeks, for about $1000 this way.

    Of course, this meals doing as much free stuff, or as close to free stuff, as possible (hiking and sightseeing are free and always fun) and limiting the more expensive types of activities (theme parks, spas, etc.) from my trip. But it's a great time, nonetheless. I will, however, still do things like Carlsbad Caverns and other things that are really worth spending the money on.

    Just a though.

    Of course, either shortening up the trip and/or staying with grandma and doing more daytrips from her home (but buy her a some groceries and take her out to a nice dinner at least once while you're there in return), are other options. Or exploring closer to home are also good options, too. None of those places are going to go away and you can do them in a few years once you've built back up your savings account again.

    Don't let this blow things for you. Just find some fun alternatives to get away and have a good time within your budget. There's lots of good options.

    I've never been there but many folks here really love Big Bend in Texas. Maybe some camping and exploring there will cut down on the gas but still be a good getaway?

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