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  1. #1

    Default Los Angeles to Boston & Back for an Australian Chap! Help!

    Hi Guys,

    Just a little bit of background on myself - I'm 21 and I live in Melbourne Australia. I'll be traveling to Los Angeles with 2 high school mates in late December 2008 to February 2009 (7 weeks in total). Through a travel agent here in Melbourne, we chose a package consisting of the flight, first week hotel stay in Anaheim, and car hire for the entire 7 weeks (it was about $4,000 each). We intend to travel up North to San Fran, Vancouver, around to Montana, Chicago, then head straight to Boston and back - we've yet to decide which way we want to go, though we don't intend to go back north to Canada.

    The thing is, we don't know how much to save. Since the first week we're based in Anaheim, we'll be roadtripping for the remaining 6 weeks and we really intend to travel all the way to Boston and back to Los Angeles where we're taking our trip back to Melbourne.

    My assumption is that our budget between us three should be at least $8000 each, since we've paid about half of that on the package, we have $12,000 in total for spending, fuel, hotel, food and emergencies/amenities. We don't exactly want to go camping - we wish to stay most nights in average hotels, $70 minimum. And food, I suppose we'll be a bit generous with that ...

    Does that seem do-able? And another thing .. i really don't have any clue on how passing country borders work since i live in Australia where we have nothing but ocean around us, lol. Can you give me help with that?

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Good Shape

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First off, I think that if you arrive on these shores with $8,000 each for 7 weeks, you're pretty well covered for all normal expenses at the level of trip that you've described. And then some. I would plan on occasionally booking two motel rooms so that you each get a turn at having a night to yourself. Seven weeks of togetherness is going to get old after a while. Still you can afford that too. If you don't need a visa for either the U.S. or Canada (check with the local embassy, consulate or website well before leaving) then the matter of crossing the border between them is a simple matter of driving across, showing your passports to the customs officers, perhaps answering some questions (They'll want to hear your accents!) and continuing on your way. One other bit of preliminary work you'll need to do is to check with your travel agent and make sure that the car you've rented will be allowed to go everywhere you want. Some rental agreements, while they say they are for 'unlimited miles', carry geographic restrictions. Make sure that yours has none and that the rental company knows you plan to take it to Canada and provides paperwork saying that such a thing is acceptable to them.


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

    Default $12,000 or $24,000 total

    I read the post as saying you have $12,000 left in total for your expenses while on the road. I assume this also includes any expenses for meals, admissions, etc. while in LA.

    I'm going to guess that you'll be spending about $2,000 of that on gas. So that leaves you $10,000 for the rest, which comes to about $1400 per week.

    If you do average $70/night for motels that comes to about $500 per week, leaving $900 per week for meals and other expenses. Hmmmm...if you are big eaters and eat most of your meals in mid-priced restaurants, you can figure easily $10-15 per meal, so let's use $12 as an average. $12 x 3 meals per day x 3 people is $108 per day x 7 days = $756 per week, leaving you less than $150 per week for all other expenses. Tight. (With a tip and beverages, your meals could easily be $15 or a tad more per person so this means using some restraint on what you order).

    Of course, if you stick to fastfood for most meals, this expense will be lower but still a significant portion of your budget.

    I think you're going to have to plan on saving money on food to make this work. Consider eating out of a cooler. You might want to limit eating out to one meal per day. Lunch is usually cheaper and just as filling.

    Your budget doesn't look so tight that you'll have to scrimp to make it work. But you will have to make some good choices. I suggest you know how much you have per week to spend and track your spending each week. If you go over one week, you'll either have to take it out of the next week and travel more cheaply or reduce your budget for the rest of the weeks left on your trip. You don't want to run out of gas money a state or two short of Los Angeles.

    Hotels for $70/night is a reasonable expectation unless you're in the heart of a major city. Double that would be common in many cities. Triple that in the more major cities like New York, Washington DC, and a few others. However, you will likely sometimes find lodging a bit cheaper than that while on the road outside of major metro areas so that would help offset the more expensive lodging in cities a tiny bit.

    Check out Bucks for the Basics to get an idea on how to figure your budget. And keep asking questions. Happy planning!

  4. #4


    wow thanks guys!

    one more thing, i'm worried about snow .. is there a way i can avoid snow? are the major highways crossing the american/canadian border covered in snow? ..


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