Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. Default International travellers on a roadtrip

    So next year July ish, four of us are flying into Chicago from the UK. We're going to drive around the country for three months - Chicago to Toronto, to Maine, down the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, up through the Rockies, Pacific Northwest, down the West Coast.

    We'll have around $22,000 to spend.

    We're unable to buy a car (being foreign) but will rent. Hertz etc offer reasonable deals on SUVs with unlimited miles - around $5000 for three months, insurance included (call it $7000 in total for the car, once you take into account extra drivers).

    We're buying two tents, and using campgrounds. Rough estimate is $1500 total for gas for the trip, if our calculations are right.


    Will $13-14,000 left over be enough for four people for three months on the road? For food, beer, odd bits of tourist stuff, campground accomodation? Or do we need to shorten the trip?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I think you could.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Whereas $150 a day for four people to live on isn't a lot of money, I think you could possibly make it work, but that will depend on certain factors. If you want to drink Lot's of beer and eat out in restaurants a lot that will eat into your budget real quick. If you are happy to eat around the camp fire and have a couple of beers in reasonably priced campgrounds [State parks, National parks Forestry lands etc] then it's a different ball game. Eating out of a cooler and enjoying the natural sites like National and State parks can be quite reasonable, nights out in the City can become quite expensive. You can buy an annual National parks pass for $80 that will allow all occupants of the car entry into the parks for a year, as many times as you want ! Of course with a few 'cheap nights in' you might be able to splash out here and there a bit, but you need to work out which would suit you best, less time with more money per day or a longer trip where you will have to budget more carefully. That's just my opinion and I will be interested to see what others think. The first saving could be on your car rental, I'm sure you will get a better price on a good size sedan than you will an SUV, plus better mpg return.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    One clarification: the National Parks pass is a great idea, but it just covers entrance to the park(s).. campground fees will be extra.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default So we all thought....

    Quote Originally Posted by rob_one View Post
    We're unable to buy a car (being foreign) ...
    It may pay you to have a chat with Don, you could be surprised. At least you will have something to compare. I spent quite some time chatting with him, and was not disappointed. I am not able to recommend him, but am seriously considering him for my next trip. Then I will be able to speak from experience.


  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by rob_one View Post
    Will $13-14,000 left over be enough for four people for three months on the road? For food, beer, odd bits of tourist stuff, campground accomodation? Or do we need to shorten the trip?
    I'm still in the middle of my trip around the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, so can't give you a final answer on cost, but I've certainly topped up my currency card a lot more than I thought I would. By the time I'm done I'll probably have spent around $4,000 dollars = £2,500. Before leaving I'd roughly calculated on spending £1,500 or so. Some of the difference is just me not being disciplined enough with eating out, something to do with mouthwatering restaurant reviews I stacked up during my planning phase :).

    I'm also doing a lot of mileage which translates directly to fuel costs. Again during planning my google maps route came out around 4,500 miles. In practice at the half way stage I've actually already done that distance with all the detours and interesting diversions I've found. Doubling distance for unplanned adventures will add straight to bottom line.

    Over a 50 day trip, I'd planned to do a lot of sleeping in the SUV I'd hired which is actually working out really well. There are so many quiet and beautiful places to park up off the beaten track all for free. With 4 of you it may not be such a hot option, but if you can afford a larger SUV and are friendly souls, definitely do it as it becomes free accomodation as well as your transport. Plus - as a 4x4/SUV you'll have the ground clearance to go places a standard rental sedan can't.

    I added a cheap sleeping bag I picked up in a Walmart + a sleeping mat and I'm good to go. With the seats folded all the way down in the back of the car I can easily stretch out.

    I knew that after a few days of living out of a rucksack I'd need a break so every 4 / 5 days or so I'm booking into a motel for a bed, shower and shave. (Rest of time, go find the nearest lake or stream and jump on in - saves on laundry bills too + no need to carry around loads of spare clothes!).

    I did pre-booked hotels in key places and times like my week in San Francisco, plus nights on arrival in Denver and before departing. I also pre-booked a few campsites in key places like Yellowstone and Jackson for cheap staying.

    Other than that, to keep costs down, try for only one big meal a day and then just live out of a cooler, buy fruit, drink loads of water.

    Hope that helps.

    ps. I don't think I'm allowed to post links yet, but my profile homepage points to where I'm blogging about my road trip experiences.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default A Word of Warning

    Quote Originally Posted by brotherharry View Post
    Plus - as a 4x4/SUV you'll have the ground clearance to go places a standard rental sedan can't.
    Welcome to the RTA Forum, Brotherharry!

    Thank you for joining in the discussion with your experiences right off the bat.

    One big word of warning to you, is that when you are in a rental SUV, you really can't go anyplace that a standard rental can't, because it will invalidate your rental contract. If you were to do any damage, have an accident, or simply have a mechanical breakdown on such a road, the repairs would be 100% your responsibility and your insurance would be invalid.

    Nearly all rentals vehicles also include GPS tracking, and the rental agency could issue you a major fine for violating the agreement if they take note that you've taken a rental SUV off a paved road.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, Mn


    Hi there folks,
    I saw the thread and felt like I should recomend a destination. With all the time you have to spend I would hit up the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. It is overlooked by many travelers and is an amazingly beautifull place. I also highly recomend the Gunflint Trail in Northern Mn. It is a dead end road but it goes through some of the most untouched wilderness in the U.S. There are numerous waterfalls and day trip options along the way if you are looking for that sort of thing. If you are interested let me know and I would be happy to help route you through the area.

Similar Threads

  1. Novice Travellers
    By Dawn Julie Keleher in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-11-2011, 12:46 PM
  2. First time travellers to USA
    By sanbart in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-04-2010, 08:26 AM
  3. NZ to US Travellers
    By NZ Girl in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-11-2004, 04:33 PM
  4. Kilted travellers
    By Paul Moir in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-06-2002, 06:41 AM
  5. british travellers
    By sambo, ross and dave in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-24-2001, 05:35 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name