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  1. #1

    Default Road Trip on a Budget

    Hey all,

    I got some really good suggestions on my last thread. So i need some more help. We're tent campers on a major budget getting ready to leave for a three week road trip from NYC to Cali and back. We've got about $2000 between us for food, places to sleep, etc. We've got a gas card so that'll be taken care of. Any suggestions on ways to keep to a nice budget while we're travelling? Recipes for campfire cooking, cheap campsites, etc. It'll be pretty much a week on the road going, a week coming. We'll be spending a week in Cali with family so a place to stay and food will be a bit easier then.

    Thanks so much for all your help,

    Angie :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Been there, done that, but no t-shirt....

    Food will cost you roughly what it does at home, except that you'll probably have to shop for it more often. One favorite camping meal was beans-n-wienies: a can of your favorite baked beans (or pork-n-beans) and some cut up hot dogs. We also enjoyed, like many others, grilled hot dogs, grilled burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches. However, admittedly, we carried a campstove and some pans with us! (It's best NOT to rely on campfires: sometimes it rains, or you pull into a campground that has a "no fires" rule due to fire danger, or it has recently rained and all available wood is wet, or you just aren't allowed to pick up wood anywhere for your fire.)

    Cheaper campsites are usually found at city parks, county parks, state parks, and national forest campgrounds. Unfortunately, most of these aren't right on the side of the road. You've got to go off the highway a bit to find them. Many of the state parks and national forest campgrounds are marked on state maps and atlases with a little green triangle and the name of the campground (which then allows you to look it up on your smart phone or tablet, assuming you're carrying one). Commercial campgrounds such as KOA and Jellystone Parks are more expensive and usually don't have many tent sites anyway -- they cater to trailers and motorhomes.

    WRITE DOWN your expenditures. Everything, from the money you spent on ice, to the gas you put on the credit card (you can annotate it CC, that's what I do), to the money you dropped in a soda machine or at the convenience store. It makes you think before you spend, when you're on a budget. I keep our expenditures in the same journal where I write down the day's experiences -- which is another helpful thing, as years down the line, you'll wonder, "where did we stay when we were near XXX?" and there it will be, in your journal.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default a few more.

    Besides all the good advice above, there is one other convenience I use from time to time. You will find that most truck stops have a microwave - often two. I will heat up something for lunch/snack, etc., if I happen to be getting my fuel etc. I always ask if it is OK to heat up XXX. Have never been refused. And definitely keep track of your expenses. It is an eye opener. If you have a gas card, you will find that the statement will have all the transactions on it - place, galls and $$$.

    You might also like to read through the Saving Money on a Roadtrip forum. Some good ideas in there as well.


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