I've been doing a bit of lurking (especially in the travelling on a budget section!) in plans for a roadtrip a friend and I are taking to the Lollapalooza music fest in Chicago in August. We are going into our third years of university, hence the relatively low budget of around $1250 each (we're poor students!) and she's 19 and I'm 20.
We are looking for spots that our budgetting is unreleastic, or holes in our time management, or additional stops to make that aren't too too far off of our route. Sorry in advance if the trip description sounds like a novel, I do like to ramble and this is a fairly detailed itinerary. All of the activity costs are for two people.
July 29th: We are leaving and driving 2 hours down island (we live near Nanaimo, BC on Vancouver Island when we're not in school) to catch the 6:00am ferry ($71) from Victoria, BC to Port Angeles, WA. From here we're driving through Seattle to the suburb of Issaquah, WA. We're staying with a friend overnight here. We spent 2wks in Seattle two years ago, so we feel like we covered it pretty comprehensively. We will be getting in at 11am, and just visiting for the day and taking it slow.
July 30th: Our goal is to hit a Chimposium in Ellensburg, WA at either 9:15 or 10:45am for $34. It's an hour forum on chimpanzees that know sign language. Then we will drive to Spokane, WA and check in at the KOA campground ($34), the drive from Issaquah to Spokane should be 4.5 hours, with the chimps as a break in between. We will have the night in Spokane, any advice on nice scenic places to go or things to see?
July 31st: Drive 450 miles from Spokane, WA to Big Timber, MT and check into the Big Timber KOA ($29). Any advice for stops to break up the 7 hour drive?
August 1st: We're going to stop in Custer, SD to see Flintstones Bedrock City: we're not planning on stopping there long, it's mostly a photo-op. ($20). Then it's off to Keystone, MT to see Mt. Rushmore ($11 to park). At night we will check into the Rapid City, SD KOA ($35). The drive from Big Timber to Rapid City is another 7 hr 450 mile one, but we have a lot to break it up.
August 2nd: A slight detour to the Cosmos Mystery Area. ($19). We're going to stop to seen the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD for FREE! We plan to arrive at Wild West Water Park after 4pm so we can get in for $30. Then it's a 20 minute drive to Sioux Falls KOA for check-in ($24). This is yet another rough 400-450 miles from Rapid City to Sioux Falls.
August 3rd: Drive from Sioux Falls, SD to Madison, WI. Here we're treating ourselves after all the camping and staying in a hotel ($65). That drive is 430 miles. What is there to check out in Madison?
August 4th: Leave Madison relatively early for the 150 mile 3 hr drive to Chicago, and actually to our hotel in Evanston, IL ($364 for 4 nights). Park there, and catch the train into the city. This is where the budget gets foggy. We have one day and want to see the bean at Millenium Park, go up to the glass balconey of the Sears tower, there's Navy Pier and Lincoln Park... if you were doing Chicago in essentially one day, what would you do?
August 5th, 6th, 7th: Lollapalooza. See approx. 20 of our favourite bands. The festival is from 11am - 10pm each day, so we aren't planning any sightseeing on those days. $370 festival pass fees. We are taking the L-train from our hotel each day and not driving at all within the city.
August 8th: Hour drive to go to Six Flags Great America rollercoaster park ($74). Half hour drive to camp in Zion, IL at Illinois Beach State Campground ($40).
August 9th: 400 mile drive from Zion, IL to Minneapolis, MN. Check out the Mall of America, and check into the Minneapolis Northwest KOA. Any stops along the way? 450 mile drive.
August 10th: Minneapolis, MN to Winnipeg, MB. We're going to stop in Fargo (we both love the movie... even though we know it wasn't actually filmed there), see the Fargo Walk of Fame and eat at the Space Aliens bar and grill. Check in at the Winnipeg West KOA ($20).
August 11th: Winnipeg, MB to Indian Head, SK. There's a Folklorama festival going on in Winnipeg, so we might be checking that our. Any stops along the drive? 300 miles.
August 12th: Major 2hr rerouting off the trans-canada from Indian Head to Roulou, where they filmed the Canadian show Corner Gas. Then 5 hours to Medicine Hat, AB where we check into the Gas City Campground ($34).
August 13th: 3.5hr 180 mile drive from Medicine Hat to Calgary, stay with my aunt and uncle for FREE! at long last, a free night. Visiting time. Been to Calgary pretty extensively as well, no need to go do anything touristy.
August 14th: Drive from Calgary AB, stop in Revelstoke to go to the Enchanted Forest park and stay with family in Vernon, BC. This is an 8hr drive through the rockies but I've done this route once before minus the Revelstoke stop so I know that it is do-able. 350 mile drive.
August 15th: Vernon, BC to Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to catch the ferry home. 5.5hr drive, followed by a 2 hour ferry ride ($73) and HOME!
Also in our budget is the $58 I spent to renew my BCAA (good as AAA in the states)
My friend who added this all up put it at $1300 (or 650 each) before gas and food.
We're bringing a cooler and grocery shopping in Issaquah, WA because we are unsure on what food can be brought over the border or not. We already have all the camping supplies we will need like tents, portable grill, sleeping bags etc. We're planning to leave at 6am/7am on most mornings when the sun is up to get started on our route. I'm a morning person so that's the best time to drive for me. We really want to avoid driving in the dark as much as possible. We both have GPS's on our phones (she has an iPhone and I have a Sony Experia Arc and Rogers said both our phones will work in the states), as well as borrowing a real GPS from my mother. We also have our route marked out on regular paper maps should technology fail.
We really don't want to spend much on food at all, except for at Lollapalooza because while you can bring small snacks in we don't want to carry that much around at a 3 day musical festival. We will only be drinking water and gas station coffee so that should cut down on expenses (turns out to be a good thing to be underage in the States, won't be tempted to drink at the concert!)
We already checked and both hotels we will be staying in (Madison and Evanston) are NOT 21+, just 18 which is absolutely fine.
We have never been on toll roads so we're not sure where to expect them, or what to budget for them. Do they only take cash/only credit? Sorry if that's a dumb question, I want to make sure we're prepared with our method of payment.
My car is a 2002 Mercury Cougar, it has a fuel economy calculator in it and realistically gets 35/mpg on the highway, and 24mpg in heavy city driving. We calculated our fuel expenses with an average of 28mpg, and gas at $1.25/litre which would be about $4.60/gallon using a gallon being 3.7litres. Gas is cheaper in the drive through the states from what I understand due to less taxes, what should I expect gas to hit a gallon? Though obviously this will vary greatly from area to area. I know when we initally calculated we had gas at $800.
So $1300 for camping/hotels and attractions minus the one Chicago day plus $800 gas puts us at $2100. $400 for food, basically.
Is this do-able? Budgetting at all accurate? Any replies are MUCH appreciated, this is the first time I've planned anything of this magnitude.