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  1. #1

    Default From California to Virginia and back

    The farthest I have ever driven is from California to Washington and that was quite a long time ago. We are thinking about driving from Windsor, CA to Williamsburg, VA arriving in VA around July 1st. Well, actually it would be me driving with the 3 kids ages 16, 14, & 9 and my husband flying out to meet us there. According to Mapquest it is about 2,958 miles. It also says it is abut a 43 hour drive so I am thinking it should take us 7 days to get there. This is what I am thinking my costs would be: $250 in fuel each way, $100 a day for 4 of us on food, $40 a night for a motel. We just want a clean bed and shower for the trip when we get there we will have nice accomodations to stay in. So a total cost of $2,380. Does that sound right?

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

    Default's low

    I don't know what kind of car you drive, but $250 in gas for 2,958 miles means that you would have to average 25 miles per gallon for your entire trip (if the average gas prices stay at the current $2.23 per gallon). And, don't forget, that you will be driving more than the 2,958 miles. That doesn't include any miles leaving the freeway for gas, lodging, food, or other stops. Those miles can really add up. If you tell us how many miles per gallon your vehicle averages, we could probably give you more accurate advice on this but I would add at least $100 each way for a least.

    $100/day for food for you will work if you eat some of your meals out of a cooler and any restaurant meals are at places like McDonald's or lower-priced places like Denny's (or the local equivalents). 4 people x $5.00 (typical McD's value meal price) x 3 meals = $60.00. Personally, this isn't healthy and I'd get sick of it. When you consider that a sit-down meal at a place like Denny's, with beverage, probably averages $10 per meal, sometimes more, then you can see that you could easily go over $100 if you ate all meals out. However, if you do eat most of your meals out of a cooler eating healthy things easily picked up at grocery stores along the way like fruit, cheese, crackers, granola, protein bars, nuts, etc. and then just supplement it with one restaurant meal per day, than $100 should suffice. This varies so much on how you plan to eat that only you can control this.

    $40 per day for motels is very low. I don't think you can do it. I typically camp but, when I do stay at motels, I choose the lowest priced options I can. Yes, you can find some Motel 6 and Day's Inn (and a few other lower-priced chains) for $35-45/night. But those prices don't include taxes. And those lower prices aren't always available. Sometimes you have to get them by reserving over the internet. And, quite often, these lower priced chains will have higher rates like $50-70/night. Especially if you are in a metro-area. I think you should budget more like $80/night for lodging and then, if you budgeted high, you can use the excess funds to play with.

    Anyway, I always pad the budget, budgeting high, so I don't find myself 80% of the way home and out of funds. I think your food budget is do-able but your gas and lodging budgets are both too low.

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