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  1. Default Europeans in need of help... :D

    Hello everyone!

    My husband and I are planning to do a cross-country roadtrip in 2009. We are from northern Europe and as you maybe understand we need all the help we can get from you, friendly american folks. ;) I have no idea where to start.

    Our route plan is approx. New York - Washington - Nashville - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas-Los Angeles in two weeks.

    WeŽll probably rent a car.

    My questions are.. (for now)
    * we are about to start saving money for the trip now, what kind of a budget could be reasonable considering that we are two persons, renting a car, sleeping on budget motels for two weeks, eating mostly supermarket food, and visiting sights? I know this is a tough question but it is SO hard to count the costs when youŽre not American and everything is new... any help you could give me would be soo great. I fear that 4000-6000 euro is probably the maximum price that we could pay for this trip, (flights tickets included) should we forget the whole thing?
    * we have never thought about sleeping in our car, because we want to be safe. I know this would be a good thing considering the budget, but IŽm still not very into it. is it possible to find motel prices like 20-30 dollars/night for two persons?
    * is it difficults to find your way through big cities like new york, washington, tulsa, vegas or are there lots of signs to follow..?

    aaaahh.... I donŽt know where to start. but this IS my big dream so I better give it a try...

    big hugs.. please help us.. thanx

  2. Default

    i'm planning on traveling from Seattle, WA to South Bend, Indiana (2200 miles) on a 5-$600 budget alone by myself. I think you can make it with your budget. I don't know how much it costs to rent a car though. Maybe people will be able to help you with that.

    food $50/day
    gas $70/day
    motel $60/day
    two tickets from europe from Helsinki [just picking a random european city] to NYC is around 900$/person so $1800 for both

    14 days X (50+70+60) + 1800 = $4320 (w/o rental cost) hehe
    throw in another thousand dollars for contigency. For 6000 euros ($8000 USD), i think you can make it!

    you're looking at $5320 + rental cost. I think you can make it :p
    Last edited by arboreal; 06-27-2007 at 04:32 PM.

  3. Default Some rough numberrs...

    Budgeting for a road trip is something that has been discussed many times on this board. Do a quick search and you'll get several different threads which cover this..

    As a rough rule of thumb, your daily road trip costs will run into 4 or 5 categories.

    Fuel -- Gas in the US is somewhat less expensive than in Europe. The costs of production are about the same, but the taxes placed on gas in the US tend to be somewhat lower. Check the fuel cost calculator on the left side of this page, and it will give you some estimates of about how much this will cost. However, no one knows what fuel costs will be a year from now. Prices currently are running around $3.00-3.50 per gallon (for regular gas). And of course, it depends upon what mileage your vehicle gets, and how far you drive it in a day. Taking 300 miles (500 km) as a reasonable day's drive (about 5-6 hours driving time), and a car getting around 25 miles per gallon, and gas costs of $4.00 per gallon (to be conservative in budgeting) you'll need to buy around 12 gallons of gas per day, or around $50 per day.

    Lodging -- You have 2 basic options here -- hotels/ motels or camping. Hotels/ motels run a variety of costs from several hundred dollars per night (for 5 star resorts) to around $50 per night for 2. A reasonable rule of thumb is that you can get a good quality hotel, possibly including a continental breakfast (cereal, rolls, coffee, fruit) for around $80 per night for 2 persons.

    If you camp, you'll need to bring or purchase basic camping supplies -- tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, etc. However, a typical camp site cost for tent camping will run about $20-35/ night -- possibly including showers or other amenities. A basic camping setup will run you from $200-300 for reasonable (but not super great) quality camping equipment for 2.

    Food -- A simple fast food meal will typically run from $6-8/ person. A family-style restaurant meal will run around $15/person. And of course, a high end gourmet meal may run you $50-100 per person. If you pick up up food in supermarkets and focus on making your own meals, you can typically keep costs down to $12-15 per day per person. However, many motels discourage guests from cooking or making food in their rooms, since this can really make the rooms messy and harder to clean.

    Rental Car Fees -- These can vary all over the map, depending upon the specific agency you use, and the type of vehicle you rent. For a price estimate, you can get an estimated price from one of the several large companies which rent cars in the US. Some of these include Hertz, National, Budget, and Alamo -- all of which have web sites you can check prices on. Just also remember that car rental agencies may tack on a "destination fee" if you rent a car and return it in a different location. This is to recognize that they may to pay to shift the cars from one location to another to reblance their fleets if all the cars are (for example) driven from Florida to California.

    Entrance fees, trinkets and souveiners -- This cost is really dependent upon your specific trip. Some places like Disneyland may have a high per day entrance fee, whereas others may be very low cost or free. And some folks may buy a lot of things to bring home like t-shirts, hats, posters, etc -- and others content only to bring home digital snapshots. As a rough rule of thumb, budgeting for $10-20 per day per person for this may be reasonable. For other folks (myself included) I almost never spend this level. (Hint: If you're going to viist several US National Parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Death Valley etc -- you might want to invest in a $80 Annual National Parks Pass. For $80 it will give you entrance of your car and passengers to any national park or national monument for a year. Camping fees or specific tours within the park will be extra, of course.)

    Other Miscellaneous Costs -- I always set aside some additonal money for those unexpected but needed expenses. This can include buying that jacket I forgot to pack, or new batteries for the camera, or a new hat for the one which blew off my head, or running laundry in a pay laundry machine, etc. Good planning will minimize this, but if you figure a few dollars per day as margin, you can't go wrong.

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