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  1. Default SFO - NY Honeymoon, 60-90 days - budget advice appreciated

    Hi there,

    I've spent all day browsing the forum but I haven't found an answer to my question on existing posts so thought I'd start a new thread... sorry if you've all answered this question a thousand times before!

    I spent a lot of time on a South East Asia forum before our big trip there a few years ago so I know that these 'how much will it cost?' questions can be both difficult to answer and annoying but I would really really appreciate some help!

    We're hoping to embark on an American road trip adventure next year for our honeymoon. The rough itinerary would be as follows:

    San Francisco > Carmel > Los Angeles > Palm Springs > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Monument Valley > Dallas, TX > New Orleans > Memphis, Tennessee > Nashville > Miami > Orlando > Washington DC > Charleston > Philadelphia > New York

    Please forgive us if we've got any of the places mixed up! We're in the very early stages of planning and unfortunately our knowledge of the geography of the USA isn't up to scratch! I would imagine we would stop off at places in between but those are the key places we want to hit.

    We don't want to camp but we don't want to stay in luxury hotels either. We are more than happy with motels or other budget accommodation as long as it's clean!

    We're not sure what works out cheapest in terms of eating, but we're happy to buy food from grocery stores or eat at cheap buffet places most of the time if that's what you would recommend.

    We do want to be able to visit some attractions like aquariums or zoos, visit the occasional theme park, national parks, museums etc.

    We have also considered dropping the car off in Miami then taking the train the rest of the way up the east coast to NY... but we're not sure how that works either :/

    Basically, the costs that need to be taken into account are car hire (and maybe train), accommodation, food and then an activities budget on top... depending on the costs, we would do this trip over 60 or 90 days. We would obviously rather do 60 days and be able to do lots of fun things than 90 days and barely have enough to eat - but at the same time we'd love to stay longer if we can.

    Oh, forgot to mention we don't smoke or drink at all so we don't need to factor that in!

    Any help you can give would be so very much appreciated and I promise when we get back we'll use all our knowledge to help other newbies like ourselves!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-12-2013 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Removed duplicate post and cross-refference

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Fixed and Variable Costs

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You are absolutely right that this is an impossible question to answer because everyone's travel tastes and expenditures are different. Nevertheless, it is possible to get a good handle on what any trip is likely to cost by simply considering the basics. Let's start with the fixed costs of your trip. These are things like airfare, car rental and the like that you will have to know beforehand (assuming you make reservations and don't just show up at counters expecting a seat on a plane and a car on the lot to be waiting for you!). Then there are semi-fixed costs such as gas/petrol for the car. You should be able to make a reasonably good guess at your total fuel cost by determining the number of miles you'll be driving, which you can do with pretty much any computer mapping routine, adding 20% or so for side trips and driving within cities that you'll be visiting, and the like. You can then assume round numbers such as 20 mpg for fuel efficiency and $4/gal for the cost of fuel and our fuel cost calculator to get a good first-order estimate of your total fuel cost. OK, that takes care of plane, car, and the actual driving.

    Next up are the more variable costs such as food and lodging which will depend on the life/travel style that you are comfortable with. I tend to prefer staying in motels that are a step above the lowest rung on the budget ladder, and to eat two meals a day out at local restaurants. One of the perks of the 'mid-range' motels is that they often come with complimentary continental breakfasts. When I'm traveling alone, I allot $100/day for those items, $150/day when I'm traveling with my wife. You can of course keep these costs down a bit by being a bit more frugal.

    Finally, there are those items that are wholly dependent on your wants and peculiarities of your specific route. The first are things like visits to amusement parks, aquariums, museums, and the like which you will just have to account for as you decide what to visit and what can fit within your budget. The second includes things like toll roads and bridges, as well as fares for side trips by bus and train, and similar excursions. Taking all those items together should give you a pretty good idea of what your trip is going to cost you and where it might be possible to start trimming if you have to.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-12-2013 at 05:42 PM.

  3. Default

    @AZBuck thanks for the reply!

    We've found a 4x4 to rent for the 60 day trip for £1186 inc insurance. Then the fuel calculator for our 5600 mile journey (we rounded up to 6000 to be safe) was $1200/£780.
    By these calculations fuel and car hire per day is approximately £30/$46.

    Research has told us to allow an average of about $75 per night for accommodation and $40 for food. Taking this into account we would need about $160 a day, so $9600/£6250 for a 60 day trip. To this we would try to add about £2-3000/$3500-4600 for tolls, side trips and other activities.

    So for a 60 day trip including car hire, fuel, food, accomodation, tolls and activities we would need $13000-$14200?

    Apologies, I'm doing quick £-$ conversions and the figures are a bit weird!

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