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  1. #11

    Default NE WI to Yellowstone in July/Aug $$$ ?

    Hi Everyone,

    I've posted before regarding routes, etc. but decided that a roadtrip this year was out of our monetary range. I was budgeting $2,000 for two adults in a 2009 Honda Fit from Northeast WI to Yellowstone roundtrip. I've heard from a few folks that I'm estimating high. Is that true? Any ideas on how to accurately budget for a sizeable roadtrip?

    Thanks in Advance!!
    Jenny
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-01-2009 at 08:12 AM. Reason: M<erged with previous discussion. Please do not start new threads for the same trip.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,123

    Default It's All Guesswork, But...

    For my own planning purposes, I generally figure out 'fixed costs' such as plane tickets, car rental, and fuel costs. I then budget about a hundred dollars a day for food and lodging, and that gives me a pretty good handle on the cost of the trip and whether I'll be able to afford it. For a more detailed breakdown of expenses and where you might be able to save, look through this post by Judy. Gas costs are, of course, a guesstimate, but you can at least use our Fuel Cost Calculator to do the repetitive math for you and figure out a range of possibilities.

    AZBuck

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,733

    Default perhaps a bit

    I'd say you might be a little on the high side for a 10 day trip, however, it really depends upon your approach and how much you like to spend on your trips. If you eat at lots of restaurants and want to worry about doing what you want to do more than watching your wallet, then it would be easy to spend that much or more. On the flip side, you could certainly do it for less than that.

    I would figure out a budget that works for you, but having $2000 available is never a bad place to start. If you don't use it all, you'll just have that much money available for your next trip.

  4. #14
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jfogarty View Post
    Thank You!!! I thought that we may have to make it a 10-day trip. Sounds like that may be the way to go to avoid crabby spouses!!! Thank you everyone for your advice!
    Well, I *JUST* did from Seattle to Madison and back in 10 days, and since Wisconsin to Yellowstone is a pretty comparable distance (more or less), you should have no problems at all.

    Having just done it, I fully endorse Highway 14. It's a pretty trip going thataway and it's not all that much slower than doing I-90.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfogarty View Post
    I know this is probably a very vague question but my husband and I just not scheduled travelers. We'd rather wing it and relax. That being said is lodging available along the way from Wisconsin to Yellowstone without a reservation, or is that a bad idea? Thanks!
    While I don't know about staying in and around Yellowstone (the crowds might be an all different beast there), but I tend not to book hotels ahead of time on my roadtrips, and as a rule, I'm free and clear. This last trip I ran headlong into a rodeo, causing me an hour drive past where I wanted to stay for a new motel - but all other motels, I had no problem driving up and getting a room, even late in the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    What you might want to do is visit hotels in several chains before you go and pick up directories. That way you can call in when you have an idea about where you want to stop each day and find out if there are rooms available and inquire about rates. I have a Motel 6, Super 8, and Best Western directory in my truck.
    Man, stay away from the big chains! If you want to save some cash on the trip, find the mom-n-pop motels. Most of my stays were in the 35-45 dollar range when I was staying at the smaller, non-chain motels. The two or three nights I had to stop at a chain? The cost of my lodging doubled to 60-80 bucks a night. My stay at the Sunshine motel in Wall was 95 bucks for two nights. My previous single night stay at the Super 8 in Huron? 85.99

    If you HAVE do do chain, stay away from Super 8 and Motel 6. Those were consistently the worst priced motels I found. Econolodge was a bit more expensive than the non-chains, but not by a huge amount.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default This surprises me

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony J Case, Super Genius View Post
    If you HAVE do do chain, stay away from Super 8 and Motel 6. Those were consistently the worst priced motels I found. Econolodge was a bit more expensive than the non-chains, but not by a huge amount.
    I don't think anybody is a bigger tightwad than me. I really research prices. I seldom find any place cheaper than a Motel 6, even mom-and-pop locations. Super 8 and Day's Inn are the other two chains that are usually in the same price range, sometimes a bit lower but usually just a tad higher. I have stayed in Econolodges only if the other three didn't have space or a motel in the location I needed because their prices have always been a bit higher. Go figure. Odd that we have such vastly different experiences.

    Anyway, those three tend to give me a room that is nothing fancy, but clean, for the lowest price. I rarely stay anywhere else if I'm using a hotel.

  6. #16
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Judy View Post
    I don't think anybody is a bigger tightwad than me. I really research prices. I seldom find any place cheaper than a Motel 6, even mom-and-pop locations. Super 8 and Day's Inn are the other two chains that are usually in the same price range, sometimes a bit lower but usually just a tad higher. I have stayed in Econolodges only if the other three didn't have space or a motel in the location I needed because their prices have always been a bit higher. Go figure. Odd that we have such vastly different experiences.
    Man, I must have gotten the unlucky Motel 6 or something. I think my final bill was 65 or thereabouts - and that was before I got hit with the nickle-and-dime treatment for shampoo and internet. The Super 8 across the street was 80 bucks (at a "special rate", no less), so perhaps that area of Montana was just more expensive than the rest of the world?

    Still, I'll prefer the mom-n-pop motels over The Big Chains just because I like giving my money to the local businesses. The Big Faceless Conglomerates can survive without my 50 bucks, but the little guy? Not so much. Besides, they always seem to have way more peronality and color than the Big Chains do.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default OH, agreed!

    I have had wonderful experiences in mom-and-pop's. Like the lady who brought my kids an Easter basket somewhere around Redding, don't recall exactly where, when we were traveling on that weekend. And the old guy manning the cabin-style hotel near Ruidisio NM who told me stories for an hour or so that were hysterical about growing up in the area (wish I'd written them down)...not to mention that the place was clean but the decor was straight out of the 1940s, seriously, it was a hoot. Not retro, just never redone.

    But, before I learned to ask to see the room first, I've also stayed in mom-and-pops where the shower was so moldy I ended up bathing in the sink, in another that was wall-to-wall fleas, and in one where drug deals appeared to be happening in the parking lot, people had wild parties all night, and I think some of the rooms were rented by the hour. (And this was before I learned, from experiences of people in these forums, that truck stop overnights in your car are safe or I probably would have hit the road and stayed in one of those instead.)

    You do have to be more careful with independent hotels, I think. Much more careful as there aren't standards set by a chain that the establishment has to meet to maintain their relationship with the chain. This is because most motels in the various chains, especially the more inexpensive ones, aren't corporate owned but are, rather, franchises. As such, they do often have local ownership and the money does stay in the local economy. You can't presume that most profits go to a head office somewhere as that isn't always the case. I have a friend who just bought a local hotel and fixed it up and it is now part of the Econolodge franchise, yet it has local ownership. Yes, some are corporate owned but not all.

    Anyway, if you find a good mom-and-pop motel to stay in at a price you're willing to pay, go for it. I have nothing against them. I've just learned to check them out closer before plunking my money down for the room.

    I should add, you can get a bad, dirty, or even dangerous chain hotel, too. I just don't think the odds are as common.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,122

    Default

    $65 Motel 6 and $80 Super 8 is not common except in resort areas in season and during special events. The Motel 6 in Moab is $49 in March and $99 in July.

  9. #19
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest

    Default

    I just checked my credit card, and it seems I was misremembering my numbers just a bit. Here's the breakdown, listed from cheapest to most expensive:

    Mo Rest Motel, Mobridge - $43.20
    Sunshine Inn, Wall - $47.52 (95.04 for both nights)
    Econolodge, Lewiston - $49.90
    Westgate Motel, Eau Claire - $50.63
    Hoilday Motel, Prairie Du Chien - $54.15
    Motel 6, Billings - $54.24
    Comfort Inn, Huron - $75.59
    Super 8 Motel, Big Timber - $84.75

    So as a rule, the mom-n-pop places were cheaper overall - but not by as wide a margin as I was remembering. It's not until you get to the Comfort Inn and Super 8 where the price takes off like a rocket. I guess the Motel 6 only FELT expensive because in order to get shampoo and internet, it would have cost me another 8 bucks above and beyond the cost of the room.

    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Judy View Post
    I've just learned to check them out closer before plunking my money down for the room.

    I should add, you can get a bad, dirty, or even dangerous chain hotel, too. I just don't think the odds are as common.
    Actually, that's probably pretty good advice for any room - do a bit of digging before setteling in. From my last trip, I had my AAA guidebooks close at hand and my laptop ready to check out the listings on tripadvisor.com. Between those two, plus my uncanny ability to pick up the general vibe of a motel, I've yet to go wrong.

    Well, unless you count those four consecutive nights with the trains roaring past. But that could have happened to ANYONE! :)

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,122

    Default

    Looks like you were a captive audience in Big Timber. My mapping program shows that the Super 8 is the only hotel in town and hotels.com doesn't show anything.

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