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  1. Default California to New York

    Hello Everyone!

    I have never been on a roadtrip before, let alone planned one. I have been left in charge of figuring out the budget for the trip. Please let me tell you a little bit about what I have planned.

    Our trip starts on Saturday, May 9, 2009 and will be ending on Monday, May 25, 2009.

    My boyfriend and I live in Orange County, California. We are renting a eight passenger van locally a the estimated cost of $1,610 for the trip. We are driving straight from Orange County to Southeast Nebraska to pick up my parents and my sister and her boyfriend.

    We can make it to Nebraska in two days, stopping along the way is not important to us.

    From Nebraska, the six of us will be driving as far a New York, with many stops in between such as Philiadelphia, New Jersey, Washington DC, etc. The total length of the road trip is 13 days, as we have to be back in Nebraska by Saturday, May 23, 2009 in order to make it back to California in time.

    I am completely lost on how to budget for this trip.

    This is what I have so far...

    Gas budget (only for the 13 day trip, not including driving to and from Nebraska): $1,026, which is approx. $171-$200 a person for the trip.

    10 nights in cheapy motels @ estimated $75/night, two rooms, $150 a night. $1,500 for ten nights = $150 per person.

    Plus... two nights in a nice hotel in New York, I have estimated $300 per room per night, so $1,200 total = $200 per person.

    Total Lodging for twelve nights = $450 per person.

    I have no idea how to budget food and entertainment. Our only big expense we plan on is seeing a Broadway play or musical while we are in New York. Also, I think we are planning to eat out maybe once a day. Most days we will probably do breakfast on the run, cereal, fruit, breakfast bars, etc. Lunch will probably be sandwiches plus chips and road trip snacks, so we will most likely eat dinner out, but maybe a few days we will grab a good breakfast and cook hot dogs for dinner.

    Can someone give me pointers, any advice will be greatly appreciated? Anyone have sample budgets?

    Also, my mom is a sucker for tourist traps so we really don't have any planned destinations, its more like... lets see where we end up tonight type of roadtrip.

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default experience

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    We can make it to Nebraska in two days, stopping along the way is not important to us.
    Even without stopping, that really is a more intense pace than we recommend. You're looking at 14 hour days on the road, which is possible, but it is pretty grueling. You're setting yourself up to be exhausted before you even start the rest of your trip. If you've never done a roadtrip before, and don't know your own limits, I'd try to give yourself some more time for these legs.

    In fact considering that plan, plus the extra costs for the extra days of van rental, plus fuel, lodging, and other expenses, it might be more economical to fly to Omaha and rent the van there.

    I am completely lost on how to budget for this trip.
    Budget wise, I think your costs are reasonable, except you made a math error. For your hotel costs $1500/6 people would be $250 not $150. I'd estimate $20 a day for food per person if you are planning to eat out most every day. Your other costs are hard to judge simply because it is so dependant upon what you actually do. I would figure at least $100 for Broadway tickets, and you probably want to try and reserve those in advance to have your best pick of shows, times, and seats. You should probably factor in some extra money for tolls and parking. Parking in NYC will likely cost you at least $20 per day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO

  4. Default

    Thanks Midwest Michael!

    We have driven to Nebraska in that amount of time once before and it wasn't that bad.

    I will check about the renting the car in Nebraska and flying out to start the trip.

    Thanks for correcting my math =)

    We obviously don't have all the details down but I really appreciate your advice!

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