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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3

    Default Toronto, ON to Victoria, BC

    Hello all! My name is Brian and I'm a brand-new forum member and road tripper. You seem like a friendly lot, so I figured it was time to stop trolling the forums for information and finally make a post of my own! As these things usually go, I'm planning a road trip...

    Since I was old enough to want to drive a car (not that long ago, at the young age of 22!), I've dreamed of taking a solo road trip across Canada. Well, I won't be accomplishing that lofty adventure, but I have a pretty sizeable trip planned for July 2009. I'm planning on departing from my hometown near Toronto, Ontario, Canada and making the trip out to Victoria, British Columbia. Well, rather, the end point will be Victoria. The trip itself is the adventure! I'm planning on taking some time out in every province along the way to see the sights and take in some local culture. Not to mention the writing and photography I'll be producing along the way!

    If I'm totally off-base on anything, feel free to let me know! That's why I'm here, after all. Assuming I don't lose my job between now and then, I'll have roughly $13,000.00 saved up. Some equipment I need may be borrowed from friends, but I've tried to assume that help won't be available while figuring out my budget. That said, here are my estimates in Canadian dollars:

    TRANSPORTATION:
    - I'm going to be buying a vehicle specifically for the trip, which means paying for only a month's worth of insurance. I don't have a need for a vehicle otherwise. I've estimated roughly $5000.00 for a road-worthy, dependable vehicle. Of course other costs, like emissions-testing and checkups/repairs could be added on here.

    - Those I've spoken with who have taken the trip estimated their gas spending to be about $600 for a one-way trip. That said, their trip was a few years back and prices have risen since then. I was thinking roughly $2000 for a round trip, give or take based on sightseeing. Is this a reasonable figure?

    ACCOMODATIONS/CAMPING:
    - Since I plan on camping for 99% of my nights, I've been thinking about purchasing a new tent. The one I currently own won't stand up to more than a light drizzle and certainly not any high winds. According to my research, I'd be looking at about $200 for a decent one-person tent.

    - I've found some decent camping stoves for about $150. Of course, this doesn't include the price of fuel. Is it worth it to buy one of the multi-fuel types?

    - LED Lantern, roughly $40-$50. I'd really like to pick one of these up so that I can use it inside my tent.

    - Finally, a first-aid-kit is something I'd definitely like to include. It's a necessity, even if just for my peace of mind. I've found some great kits for about $50.

    FOOD/ENTERTAINMENT:
    - How much should I budget per day for food? I don't eat much and would mostly be relying on grocery-store food and my cooler. I took a guess and used $50 per day and came to a rough trip-long estimate of about $1000.

    - Considering I want to do some sightseeing and whatnot, I figured another $1000 for entertainment wouldn't hurt.

    Obviously there are some items I've left out of this list, either because I own them or have already considered them. The items I've listed come to a grand total of around $9440, which should fit easily into my budget.

    Speaking of budget, it's worth mentioning that I'm a student living rent-free with easy, cheap transportation at home. Saving the money isn't going to be a problem.

    Phew! That was a lot of typing. Do any of you experienced road trippers have any tips/budget suggestions you would like to share with me? I hope to be a regular presence on these forums as I plan my trip, and long after!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default You've put a lot of thought into this!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums! We're glad to have you aboard. It should be a wonderful trip.

    How long do you have for this trip? The whole month of July? If so, you should be able to have a fairly leisurely trip. It looks like your trip is going to be about 10,000km roundtrip. I have to conver to miles to work with this (6200 miles). We generally recommend limiting driving to 500 miles (about 800 km) per day. Figure this to be about 8-9 hours per day. This allows time for brief stops for food/fuel/bio breaks but not long times to linger or explore. This means you're looking at driving roughly. So you'll need roughly 12 days just to drive this leaving you 18 days or so to play along the way. Sounds good to me!

    Of course, you need to pad those miles a bit for side-trips, etc. Add about 25-30% to that for closer to 1250 or 1300 km roundtrip when it comes to figuring your fuel costs.

    I think it's great that you'll have so much money saved. I'm not sure that you'll need as much as you think you do.

    - I'm going to be buying a vehicle specifically for the trip, which means paying for only a month's worth of insurance. I don't have a need for a vehicle otherwise. I've estimated roughly $5000.00 for a road-worthy, dependable vehicle. Of course other costs, like emissions-testing and checkups/repairs could be added on here.
    Are you planning on selling it after you return? If you're not in a hurry to sell and can earn a good price back, this might work for you. Unless you trash it, if you swing a good deal when you buy it, you should be able to sell it for not too much of a loss, if any. Just make sure you deal well when you buy it and have a trusted mechanic look it over before buying.

    But I did play around and National will rent you a compact with underage driver, insurance, and other coverages for about $3900 (I assume this is Canadian dollars since I was at the Canadian site). Since you will have a lot saved, it might be worth the piece of mind to have a car that you don't have to worry about breakdowns and maintenance for.

    - Those I've spoken with who have taken the trip estimated their gas spending to be about $600 for a one-way trip. That said, their trip was a few years back and prices have risen since then. I was thinking roughly $2000 for a round trip, give or take based on sightseeing. Is this a reasonable figure?
    You can't go by that. You might have a car that consumes more or less fuel. You might drive differently and go on different roads. And, of course, the price of gas is a big factor. And who knows what will happen between now and 2009? Gas Buddy is a great place to find out about gas prices before you leave to finalize this expense. But you could play around there now and get some better estimates.

    - Since I plan on camping for 99% of my nights, I've been thinking about purchasing a new tent. The one I currently own won't stand up to more than a light drizzle and certainly not any high winds. According to my research, I'd be looking at about $200 for a decent one-person tent.
    I'll be talking in US dollars for all my comments. I have to say that you have expensive tastes.

    It's up to you. I don't know Canadian prices. I bought a dome tent in 2000 for $35. It's still in great shape and has performed better, and in some pretty bad weather, too, than my $250 REI-brand dome tent purchased in the 1980s. The tents are virtually identical in size, shape, footprint, weight (backpacker's tents). Unless you're going to be doing some mountaineering, I just don't think you'll need a 4-season tent. But if you don't like your tent, might as well splurge.

    - I've found some decent camping stoves for about $150. Of course, this doesn't include the price of fuel. Is it worth it to buy one of the multi-fuel types?

    - LED Lantern, roughly $40-$50. I'd really like to pick one of these up so that I can use it inside my tent.

    - Finally, a first-aid-kit is something I'd definitely like to include. It's a necessity, even if just for my peace of mind. I've found some great kits for about $50.
    I have done extensive roadtrips and camping with an inexpensive Coleman 2-burner stove, typically found for about $50. When I'm traveling solo, I typically take the 1-burner Coleman that cost about $30. I see no reason for a more expensive, lightweight backpacking style stove for car camping. They're usually a bit more finicky and they can take longer to cook food, boil water, etc. But if you really want one for future backpacking trips, go for it. Unless you're going to be taking it on foreign travels in the future, especially more exotic countries, you might need a multi-fuel. But you really won't need that in North America.

    I have a cheap flashlight (sorry I can't find it on the web to show you) that is a regular flashlight or it can be set sideways to use as a spotlight. You can also slide a lever that can either dim the light so it's more like a nightlight. Or you can diffuse it so that it spreads out in a way that acts more like a table-lamp. It's great for reading in your tent. They sell 'em at just about any big box store. (It's bright red and kinda fat and short). Anyway, I think it cost about $5. I have quite a few of 'em around the house and in the cars. For that price, who cares if you lose it or break it? But, then again, if you really want the fancy LED one, go for it.

    Buy a little inexpensive pouch, like a woman's makeup bag for her purse. They sell 'em in masculine colors or clear, too. Various shapes and sizes. Usually just a few bucks. And buy a few first aid items to put in it. It should cost you about $10-12....maybe $20 maximum. Or splurge on the fancy kit.

    My point? You don't need the fancy stuff for car camping. If you're mountaineering or going on a long multi-day hike, yeah, these things are great to have. But you don't need them for this trip.

    - How much should I budget per day for food? I don't eat much and would mostly be relying on grocery-store food and my cooler. I took a guess and used $50 per day and came to a rough trip-long estimate of about $1000.
    If you're going to be eating from grocery stores and out of your cooler, I can't believe you're going to spend anywhere near this. Unless, of course, you're cooking up filet mignon every night and other, similar goodies. I could feed my whole family plus a few of their friends on far less than $50 per day! Of course, you will want to budget for a few meals out, too. You'll need a break from cooler/campground food once in awhile and it's nice to splurge on a nice one when you do.

    - Considering I want to do some sightseeing and whatnot, I figured another $1000 for entertainment wouldn't hurt.
    You could do it for less if you needed to. But, gosh, if you have this much to play with, enjoy it!

    Here's a few posts that should help you walk through what you need to know:
    Bucks for the Basics - this will walk you through steps to help you come up with your budget
    Eating out of your Cooler - will give you ideas of food you might want to buy that are inexpensive, healthy, and easy to prepare
    Car Camping - here's a lot more tips about what to pack, how to pack it, etc.

    Hope this gives you some ideas. Now, how about your route? Do you need help planning that, finding good places to stop, and so on?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks for your quick reply, Judy!

    Since this is my first trip of this kind, I figured it would be best to make broad estimates and then (with the help of experienced roadtrip enthusiasts such as yourself) drill those down as much as possible. Like any else, I wouldn't mind saving as much as possible ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    How long do you have for this trip? The whole month of July? If so, you should be able to have a fairly leisurely trip. It looks like your trip is going to be about 10,000km roundtrip. I have to conver to miles to work with this (6200 miles). We generally recommend limiting driving to 500 miles (about 800 km) per day. Figure this to be about 8-9 hours per day. This allows time for brief stops for food/fuel/bio breaks but not long times to linger or explore. This means you're looking at driving roughly. So you'll need roughly 12 days just to drive this leaving you 18 days or so to play along the way. Sounds good to me!

    Of course, you need to pad those miles a bit for side-trips, etc. Add about 25-30% to that for closer to 1250 or 1300 km roundtrip when it comes to figuring your fuel costs.
    Indeed, I had planned on blocking out three to four weeks for this trip. Judging by your numbers, and keeping in mind that not every stop will be for multiple nights, it looks like I'm on the right track.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Are you planning on selling it after you return? If you're not in a hurry to sell and can earn a good price back, this might work for you. Unless you trash it, if you swing a good deal when you buy it, you should be able to sell it for not too much of a loss, if any. Just make sure you deal well when you buy it and have a trusted mechanic look it over before buying.

    But I did play around and National will rent you a compact with underage driver, insurance, and other coverages for about $3900 (I assume this is Canadian dollars since I was at the Canadian site). Since you will have a lot saved, it might be worth the piece of mind to have a car that you don't have to worry about breakdowns and maintenance for.
    That's definitely something to consider! Being 22, I had figured most car rental companies would be way of renting to me. Part of me is still leaning toward buying, simply because I have the ability to wait and sell it when I'm back or park it for my future use if need be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    It's up to you. I don't know Canadian prices. I bought a dome tent in 2000 for $35. It's still in great shape and has performed better, and in some pretty bad weather, too, than my $250 REI-brand dome tent purchased in the 1980s. The tents are virtually identical in size, shape, footprint, weight (backpacker's tents). Unless you're going to be doing some mountaineering, I just don't think you'll need a 4-season tent. But if you don't like your tent, might as well splurge.
    Again, I was just looking for some rough guesses at pricing online. Obviously I would like to buy a tent that is fairly sturdy and weatherproof, but it's been such a long time since I've had to purchase a new one. It will help a lot to have a sort of "base" price, based on your experience, to gauge my purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    I have done extensive roadtrips and camping with an inexpensive Coleman 2-burner stove, typically found for about $50. When I'm traveling solo, I typically take the 1-burner Coleman that cost about $30. I see no reason for a more expensive, lightweight backpacking style stove for car camping. They're usually a bit more finicky and they can take longer to cook food, boil water, etc. But if you really want one for future backpacking trips, go for it. Unless you're going to be taking it on foreign travels in the future, especially more exotic countries, you might need a multi-fuel. But you really won't need that in North America.

    I have a cheap flashlight (sorry I can't find it on the web to show you) that is a regular flashlight or it can be set sideways to use as a spotlight. You can also slide a lever that can either dim the light so it's more like a nightlight. Or you can diffuse it so that it spreads out in a way that acts more like a table-lamp. It's great for reading in your tent. They sell 'em at just about any big box store. (It's bright red and kinda fat and short). Anyway, I think it cost about $5. I have quite a few of 'em around the house and in the cars. For that price, who cares if you lose it or break it? But, then again, if you really want the fancy LED one, go for it.
    Again, great! It sounds like I can save a little bit of money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Buy a little inexpensive pouch, like a woman's makeup bag for her purse. They sell 'em in masculine colors or clear, too. Various shapes and sizes. Usually just a few bucks. And buy a few first aid items to put in it. It should cost you about $10-12....maybe $20 maximum. Or splurge on the fancy kit.
    The only reason I had begun thinking about buying one of the "fancy" kits is simply due to peace of mind, really. This will be the first time I've done a solo trip of this kind and knowing that I have a proper medical kit will go a long way to feeling prepared. I know in the end I won't need half the stuff in it, but who knows, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    If you're going to be eating from grocery stores and out of your cooler, I can't believe you're going to spend anywhere near this. Unless, of course, you're cooking up filet mignon every night and other, similar goodies. I could feed my whole family plus a few of their friends on far less than $50 per day! Of course, you will want to budget for a few meals out, too. You'll need a break from cooler/campground food once in awhile and it's nice to splurge on a nice one when you do.
    Again, it's great to know my original estimates were on the high side. At least I know I should be able to pay for the "expensive" trip without problems, now I can focus on saving money where possible. I suppose my thinking was that I'd rather estimate more and need less than the other way around!

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Now, how about your route? Do you need help planning that, finding good places to stop, and so on?
    Well, route-wise, the plan at the moment is to work my way through Ontario up to the Trans-Canada Highway. From there, I'll follow the TCH the entire way, pulling off to do sightseeing and find accommodation every night. If my goal were simply to get to BC, I'd consider taking the US route, but this trip is about seeing some of Canada ;-)

    Planning the driving portions isn't so hard, but if anyone has any suggestions on things to see along the way, any favourite campgrounds or places to eat, I'm more than happy to hear them! I really do appreciate all of the help.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Default General Info

    In general, things cost a LOT more in Canada then in the US. To give you an idea, a Car which cost 21,000 in US will generally be selling for 35,000 in Canada. A pair of jeans which will be $20 in US will be approx $35 in Canada.

    Also, as of right now (March 18th 9:10 am) Canadian dollar is worth 1.075 US.

    I thought I just put this out their so it helps people in conversion and put things in perspective.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonjohn83 View Post
    In general, things cost a LOT more in Canada then in the US. To give you an idea, a Car which cost 21,000 in US will generally be selling for 35,000 in Canada. A pair of jeans which will be $20 in US will be approx $35 in Canada.

    Also, as of right now (March 18th 9:10 am) Canadian dollar is worth 1.075 US.

    I thought I just put this out their so it helps people in conversion and put things in perspective.
    That's certainly something to keep in mind. With the dollar being so close to parity, it's been easy to forget that many companies are still gouging Canadians when it comes to pricing. Many of my cost estimates were based on the lowest Canadian prices I could find...perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to assume they were off-the-mark?

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