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  1. Default From TX to NY - 3 days

    My family and I are planning to drive from Central/North Central Texas to Buffalo, New York this summer. My wife's family lives up there and we plan on attending their annual family reunion this year. The last time we visited was five years ago when we flew with a <1 year old baby.

    We plan on leaving early in the morning and driving to Memphis, TN where we plan on staying the first night. This is a very familiar trip (home to Memphis) that we have made multiple times in a decent amount of time. From Memphis, TN we plan on driving to Cincinnati, OH, where we will stay for the second night. We should arrive in Buffalo on the third day of travel where we will stay for a few days before heading back to Texas. We are looking to take a slightly different route back from New York and are open to suggestions on which way to go.

    Also, we plan on breaking each day of travel up into 2 sections. We plan to wake up and leave around 8 am each day and driving for approx. 4 hours. After stopping for a few hours for lunch and sightseeing/shopping/etc. we will continue our drive for another 4 hours before stopping for the night.

    I drive a small sedan that gets 40-45 mpg. We are budgeting about $300 for fuel. We plan to stay in cheap hotels that we either book online or find along the way. Budgeting approximately $50 per night for lodging. We will stay with family in Buffalo. Total budget for fuel and lodging is $500.

    Does anyone see anything here that I am missing? Does this seem doable to those of you that are experienced road-trippers? Any suggestions or advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    The trip certainly looks doable, but your budget looks a bit too tight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I really have to ask, what kind of car are you driving that is getting 40-45 mpg, especially when fully loaded with a family? Even most hybrids struggle to do that well on the highway. If you can get that, then your budget could be ok, but if your calculations are off, then it could quickly be a problem.

    For a different route home, you could look at working your way south through Pittsburgh/Knoxville-Smokey Mountains NP/Birmingham. Or you could go farther west, through Indianapolis/St. Louis/OK City. You could start that trip by heading across Canada to Detroit, but remember you'll need passports for adults and birth certificates for kids under 16.

  4. #4


    If you can indeed get 42 MPG, you should be able to get by on $300 for fuel even @ $4.00 per gallon.

    You're going to have to work very hard to find $50 lodging and even if you can, you won't get much. I'd say you should figure on at least $75 per night. That would put your total budget for fuel and lodging at around $600.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'm with Charlie. It's very difficult to find lodging for a family of 3 (or 4) for $50. The coupon deals may say $39.99, but those say "for 1-2 people" and they add for each additional person, and then add the local taxes. It usually ends up way over $50.

    Hubby and I usually over-budget for fuel. We don't use the optimal mileage -- we go for something mid-way. If fuel is running $4.25/gal at home, we budget for $4.50.

    Also, don't forget to budget food. We budget $60/day for two. Add $10-15 for a small child. Carry lots of snacks and drinks in the car and you may be able to get by with less than that.

    Finally, sightseeing does cost money. If you stop at an attraction or museum, you may have to pay a fee. Shopping is hazardous to ones' wallet, too. :-)


  6. Default

    Thanks for the input so far!

    @glc - The budget is not so much a cap on what we can spend as much as it is a general idea of what to expect cost-wise on fuel and lodging.

    @Michael - I drive a Ford Fiesta. We routinely use my vehicle as the family (we are a family of 3) car and I consistently get 40 mpg highway. I have gotten as much as 45 mpg on the highway.

    @charlie - As for hotels, I have already looked on for hotel prices. I have found hotels in the cities we are stopping in for about $40/night. Hotwire has worked well for us in the past. My only concern is that once we get past Memphis, I will not be familiar with the towns to know if the area is safe.

    @donna I wasn't sure what to expect on food. $60/day sounds pretty reasonable. I do know we are planning on bringing our own snack foods, breakfast items, and sandwich stuff for lunch. We will probably dine out for dinner. And we will of course be making at least a couple stops per day so I need to figure out how much shopping/sightseeing/musuem admissions/etc. is going to cost.

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