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  1. #1

    Default Budget???

    We are 2 swedish guys which planin for a roadtrip in usa in october 2004... Our hope are to stay in 8 month... We will start up in Seattle, were we will have a car for loan up to 8 month...
    We will have as much info as possible, how much money will we spend each day?, Can we sleep in the car?, How much cost the gasolin?
    We heard about o ferry from seattle to alaska, is that true??? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    Wow! Sounds like a great trip and I hope you have a great time exploring this country. You should be able to see a lot in 8 months.

    Yes, there is a ferry from Seattle to Alaska. I've never had the pleasure of doing it but folks who have tell me the scenery is awesome. The cost isn't too bad if you just backpack on. I think about $150-200 each way. And lots of people just sleep in the open without paying extra for a cabin. My daughter did that last spring going up and last fall coming home and thought it was great fun. You can sleep in the enclosed public areas right on the floor or you can pitch a tent outside on the deck itself. If you take the car, the price is far more expensive so I couldn't bother with that if I were you. If you do a search on Alaska Marine Highway you will find websites with more info.

    As for the rest of your questions, I suggest you read through the various threads here. Also check out the information under the "road trip planning" tab. Lots of good stuff there. Budgets vary tremendously based on how many miles you plan on traveling each day, where you will stay, and what kind of activities you like to do, etc.

    If you are planning on taking it slow, camping, eating out of the cooler or at the campsite, and doing a lot of low-cost activities like hiking, etc., you can travel pretty cheap. National parks are great places to stay and you can buy an annual pass that will save you a lot of money on entrance fees. will take you to a website with lots of information on camping and explore the national parks.

    If you are planning on doing lots of partying/clubbing, staying in cities a lot, and doing high-priced activities like theme parks, etc., and staying in motels, eating in restaurants, well...then we're talking about a whole other lifestyle and budget.

    And the gas mileage the vehicle gets is important to factor in, too.

    Camping, eating foods you prepare yourself, and traveling just a couple of hundred miles per day, would probably cost you around $20 for gas, $15 for a campsite, and $5-10 for food for about $50/day. Of course, if you're splitting this, you're looking at about $25 each daily.

    Staying in hotels, eating restaurant food, clubbing, and admission fees could easily run you a $200/day. Quite a difference.

    Why don't you explore this site a little more and then tell us more specifically what you plan to do. Then we can all provide you with better advise.

  3. #3

    Default more details

    Thanks Judy for your replay...
    We will travel with a Ford Explorer and do it on backpacking way... We have travelled a lot before but not in the U.S.
    We haven't planned that much yet but we hope to see the hole U.S in 8 month... But we will see when we get there...
    Our budget is in your eyes quiet high... We are planing to spend 10,000 swedish crowns (1250 $) each month... We want to see as much as possible but will not hurry up, it will be slow and easy!!!
    Thanks for the advise about the boat!
    How's the weather in Seattle in october-november???

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    $1250 each month should give you a nice trip. However, you will still need to budget yourself.

    I believe an Explorer gets around 20 miles per gallon. So traveling 500 miles a day will cost you about $40 or so, roughly in gas. Add in camp fees averaging about $12-15 a night and groceries of $5-10/day if you cook most meals. Then you are still talking about $1800/month in travel expenses. Definitely above your budget without doing anything expensive during your trip.

    Obviously, you may not be planning on traveling 500 miles each day so this will cut down those expenses dramatically if you only travel a couple of times a week and explore the other days.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that it is doable but still watch your budget. Also, you will need to plan emergency expenses for possible car problems, etc. Towing can be extremely expensive. Especially in parts of the West where you may be a hundred miles from a tow-truck service. I recommend you look into getting AAA coverage. And, don't forget that you will still need to have regular vehicle insurance coverage somehow even though you are borrowing a car. I'm not sure how this works for a foreigner using a car owned by a US citizen so you will have to do some research on this. Maybe someone here will pop in with some help on this matter.

    Weather in and near Seattle in October/November really varies. Typically we have periods of sunny dry weather with cool temperatures alternating with periods of heavy rain. You can catch more of the sunny, cool days in October with lesser days of rain. As we move into November, there are more rainy days with less of the nicer days. By late November, we are usually into continual rain or overcast days.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip and ask more questions here for help as you think of them.

    BTW, another good resource is where you can write emails to people who have signed up to provide advice to people traveling in their areas. That way you can direct questions about Washington to people who live in Washington, Oregon to those who live in Oregon, etc.

  5. #5

    Default The budget

    Hi again!
    The budget is 1250 $ is per person... Than we have to pay at least 3000$ for borrowing the car. We also planing for emergency expenses with 2500 $ and another 2500 $ for funny things to do... This is for both of us...
    When do you think it's the best time to go with the ferry to Alaska? Is it to cold to go in oct/nov and then taking the car on (what ever it costs)... We have a plan of going snowboarding and skiing in the rocky mountians in canada when we going from alaska back to the U.S.!!!
    Then when we are back we will start up our american roadtrip!!! Which way is best to go, east or south from seattle??? We are hoping that we will manage to go the hole way around!? Is that hope too big???
    Thanks again for your quick replay and for all great info!
    I'am really imprest of the site!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    If that is per person, then you're in great shape!

    Personally, I would head south from Seattle and do the coast route which is quite beautiful. If you do this to Santa Monica, CA, then you can do I-40 (the new version of the old Route 66 Highway) east. But there are so many possibilities and things to see that you really need to research what you want to see and then plan your route. If you start another thread with specific questions about route ideas in different areas, you will probaby get more responses.

    I have no idea what to advise about your trip to Alaska since I've not had the pleasure of going there. I don't think it will be too cold in Oct/Nov as the southern part of Alaska along the coast isn't all that much colder than Seattle at that time of year. At least that's what a friend of mine who lives in Sitka, Alaska, tells me. I don't know for sure.

    Also, unless you are planning on driving back (which I would not do that time of year), I really don't think you would need to take the vehicle with you. I don't think you'll need it most places. For example, Juneau is completely bound it and there are no roads leading out of it. It is only accessible by boat or plane. Sitka and various other stops where you can get off and explore are just islands where you wouldn't really need a car.

    I really think you should check out for another venue of getting answers to these types of questions. This site is great and the people give great responses but the other site has a section called "Insiders" where people have signed up to have their email listed to answer questions for travelers. It's set up by different geographic areas. So, for example, you could email directly to a person living in the parts of Alaska you want to visit to get their feedback on this.

    And it's an international site so you can sign up to be an "insider" for your area and help others. It's kinda fun to do. I'm an insider for parts of Western Washington.

    This country is so big that 8 months will not allow you to see the entire country. However, you will get to see a pretty big chunk of it. Enjoy!


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