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Thread: Budget Question

  1. #1
    swainsam Guest

    Default Budget Question

    Hi All,

    No matter how hard I try I can't seem to make my Roadtrip from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA via NY & FL inexpensive.
    I'm not sure if this is the type of thing you can help with but for a 90 day roadtrip I can't seem to get it cheaper than $21000!!

    That is with car hire of $3000 (not inc fuel), average accommodation (mainly Motel 6) of $50 a night and living expenses (food etc) of $150 a day.

    There are two of us doing the road trip.

    Can you help????

    PS By the way this sight is absolutely brilliant, I wouldn't have got as far as even sorting out my route let alone as far as working out my budget if it wasn't purely for this sight!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by swainsam; 07-24-2005 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Just wanted to add a PS

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest


    Taking into acount that my trip from Washington to Arizona cost nearly $550 for 2 days, without a car rental, I don't think you can get much lower for a 90 day roadtrip, unless you axed out the rental car (if possible).
    Living expenses of $150 a day though??? Me and my younger brother could both eat our weight in just about anything, but we did really cheap in this department. We spent maybe $75 for two days. We had our large meal for breakfast at a dennys or similar establishment, and the rest of the day hit the $1 menu at fast food joints or $1 gas station hot dogs. This might be an area you can ease up on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    There are some great suggestions on this website about cutting expenses. You might want to read "The Art of the Cheap Roadtrip" for some ideas.

    There's not much you can do about the vehicle expenses. If money is an issue, I would suggest getting the smallest, most fuel efficient vehicle you will be comfortable in. Saving a bit on gas can make a big difference on such a long trip.

    I can't add much to the advice in the article I've pointed you to above. I'll just say this...last summer I did a 2-week roadtrip for about $1000. I travelled about 4000 miles so my gas was a big part of the expense at about $350. Most nights, I camped. Camping fees averaged about $20/night. I did spend a few nights in hotels. One was about $50 but the others were around $30.

    As for food, I only ate out once every 2 days or so. Most meals were from the cooler. I would stop at a grocery store every 2 days or so and re-fill the cooler, with a swing through the deli. I had some great salads, lots of fruit, cheese and crackers, and other good stuff to keep me going. When it's hot, I tend to eat less and lighter so this type of eating suits me fine when traveling in the desert. Especially fill up with lots of water at grocery stores. You will need it in the heat and it's far cheaper in a grocery store or a superstore like a Wal-Mart than it is to buy it at mini-marts and truck stops.

    Since I only ate out sparingly, when I did, I tried to make it a good one. A couple memorable dinners were filet mignon in one place, and some great authentic Mexican food at another. I also attended a couple of dinner shows where the food/entertainment bill was a bit pricey but worth it for the fun! (Note: It was just me on this trip so these expenses would have been higher if there had been two of us and the trip would have cost me more like $1200, as best as I can figure off the top of my head).

    Most of my activity expenses were covered by my National Parks Pass as I explored several of these along the way.

    A 90-day roadtrip is going to be expensive no matter how you do it but I really think $150/day for food for two is way more than you need to budget unless you're a gourmand and plan on lots of very nice, expensive meals along the way. Personally, I would need to buy a new wardrobe during the trip if I ate that much because nothing would fit after awhile. LOL

    Even if you don't eat out of your cooler, you can eat cheaper than $150 for 2 if you have 2 meals per day at places like McDonald's, Subway, etc. You can get a full meal deal at McDonald's for $4 plus change. A decent full-size Subway meal deal is about $7 (I think? It's been awhile). So if you did McDonald's for breakfast that would be about $10. Subway for lunch would be about $15. That's only $25. You could eat a fairly nice dinner and still spend a LOT less than $150/day total.

    I can sure understand you wanting to splurge on nice restaurants when in gourmet-delight areas like Chicago and New York. But, even in those places, there are lower-cost eating options that still serve yummy food.

    Only you can decide what areas to scrimp on. You should never cut out the things that will make your own trip fun and memorable for you if you can help it. But I hope this gives you some ideas to go on.

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