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  1. #1

    Default Chicago-LA Summer 24

    Looking for some thoughts on approximate budget needed for a LA to Chicago R66/Yosemite/Colorado RT during August, and really do acknowledge this is a open ended Q!!

    35 nights, four adult family. Budgets for flights, car hire, fuel, hotels/airbnb already worked out. Meals are a social thing for us - Would appreciate an estimate of costs of other spends (food being the primary one). Would hope we would do a decent meal each evening most nights, but want to cover all estimated subsistence spends.

    I have $100 per person per day in my head - but picking a place like Big Texan Ranch menu I wonder if I am being a bit short!! I want this budget to include everything from Breakfast (most hotels we use hopefully will do breakfast), lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. Like I said, other budgets already worked out - this is purely for food/drink.

    Thanks all!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    When I'm starting to figure out whether a trip is financially feasible, I figure out the following:

    Lodging - $100-125/night for a room for 2, as an average

    Gasoline - how many miles we'd drive, divided by vehicle's mpg average, and then I start looking at the prices per gallon. I also add in about 25% more mileage as "sightseeing miles".

    Rental car - not an expense we usually have, but you can actually go online and see what you can get without actually making a reservation

    Food - here's where it's variable, because it's what you want to make of it. My husband and I tend to go out for two meals per day, either breakfast/dinner or lunch/dinner. Sometimes we take advantage of the motel's "free breakfast".

    Souvenirs - once again, it's what you make of it.


  3. #3


    Thanks Donna

    We are similar you you…… two meals per day.

    What would you budget per person per day?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Up to You

    As Donna noted, your cost per person per meal depends on where/what you plan to eat. If you go to a sit down diner type place, you're probably looking at $15-20 per person or so with tip. If you're happy with a fast food place, you might get by with $8 or $9 per person. If you bring a simple cooler with your own food, you can to do even better.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Pretty comfortable I'd say.

    If you are budgeting $100 per person per day for basically spending money including food I would say you're in good shape. Sure its easy to spend big bucks but generally your in good shape, that's if you see £100per person per day in the UK a good budget as the spending power is comparative. If you're planning on visiting more than 3 National parks buy an annual pass at the first one you visit, it'll save you money.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    $100 per person per day for food is a pretty massive budget. You certainly could spend that, if you're eating high dollar items at high dollar restaurants and/or getting lots of alcoholic drinks, but there's no reason you can't eat well for well under that number.

    The Big Texan, that you mentioned is a really good example of this. Yes, you can spend $80 their 72oz challenge or on a 3 pound tomahawk steak, but most of their steaks are around $30. If you start throwing in drinks, appetizers, or dessert you could have a $50 per person dinner bill, but that would be a big meal. Even if you were doing that for dinner on a regular basis - presumably you would be doing smaller meals for breakfast or lunch where even a fairly expensive meal should under $20.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    At the end of my current road trip report, you'll be able to see our full expenditures.

    We travel with a cooler and our own beverages, which saves a lot of $ on convenience store stops.

    We also pack a bag of snacks, also saves those convenience store stops.

    We usually go for mid-range accommodations, such as Quality Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Best Western. You can save more with Motel 6, Red Roof Inn and Budget Host, but we went away from them for several reasons.

    This is the link to my current trip report. As of right now, I haven't finished posting it yet.


  8. #8


    Thanks all. I appreciate the responses.

    Hotels….. yeah have clocked the same as you suggest. We don’t intend going till summer 24 (coincide with wife’s 50th and our 10th anniversary) so plenty of planning time left.

  9. #9

    Default Chicago-LA Summer 24

    Hi All

    Have a broad plan coming together for a road trip on Rt66 with a couple of loops/diversions off. Trying to bring it together and just wondered if I am missing anything spectacular - I recognise this is "a lot" - approx 5000 miles in the maximum of five weeks between early July and early September we are allowing for the trip. Definitely in the boat of the journey is the experience - which I am not sure the youngsters quite get just yet - but this is predominantly a bucket list holiday for the Mrs 50th and out 10th wedding anniversary.

    The basics: As yet, unsure whether our daughter is committed to doing this - me and the wife definitely are, daughter is 17 and is undecided - also unsure whether her best friend will accompany - so it could be us two, us two + a 17YO, or us two + two 17YOs. If we take the youngster(s) we will need separate rooms/suite or suitable AirBnB/VRBO.

    The route and timings are basically as follows:

    Day 1 - Leave Heathrow, Arrive Chicago, Downtown hotel.Deep Dish Pizza!
    Day 2 - Willis Tower, other city sights.
    Day 3 - Start Rt66 and head to Springfield Il. Overnight.
    Day 4 - Head to St Louis on Rt66. Gateway Arch. Overnight.
    Day 5 - Head to Springfield Mo on Rt66. Overnight.
    Day 6 - Head to Oklahoma City on Rt66. Visit National Memorial. Overnight.
    Day 7 - Head to Amarillo on Rt66 - Big Texan Steak Challenge (maybe!). Overnight.
    Day 8 - Head to Albuquerque on Rt 66 - Follow Breaking Bad locations.
    Day 9 - Albuquerque. Rest Day!
    Day 10 - Head up to Canon City - visit Las Vegas NM (Longmire locations). Overnight.
    Day 11 - Day at Royal Gorge (bridge/train etc). Head to Colorado Springs. Overnight.
    Day 12 - Pikes Peak. Overnight @ Colorado Springs.
    Day 13 - Independence Pass to Aspen (afternoon wander and dinner, , then probably onto Snowmass (cheaper accommodation). Overnight.
    Day 14 - Head to Durango via Million Dollar Highway. Overnight.
    Day 15 - Head to San Juan - visit 4 Corner Monument, Forrest Gump Point. Sunset @ Monument Valley. Overnight.
    Day 16 - Monument Valley (possibly sunrise), self drive loop tour. Head to Gallup (back on Rt66) or Holbrook for Wigwam Motel. Overnight.
    Day 17 - Head to Grand Canyon South via R66. Helicopter Tour on arrival at Grand Canyon Junction/Tusayan. Overnight.
    Day 18 - Grand Canyon - head west on shuttle rides. Driving rest day. Overnight.
    Day 19 - Grand Canyon East self drive - heading to Navajo Bridge and on to Bryce Canyon. Overnight.
    Day 20 - Head to Vegas (arrive dusk) via Zion NP & scenic routes. Overnight.
    Day 21 - Vegas. Driving rest day. Overnight.
    Day 22 - Head to Barstow via Hoover Dam. Back on Rt66. Overnight.
    Day 23 - Head to Death Valley via Rt66 as far as possible before heading north. Sunset @ Death Valley. Overnight.
    Day 24 - Death Valley - Driving rest day (ish) - sunrise. Overnight.
    Day 25 - Head to Alamo via Tonopah and Extra Terrestrial Highway. Overnight. (Concern here as seems very barren and little places to stay/eat).
    Day 26 - Head north to Ely or Eureka (to make Day 27 drive shorter) via scenic route. Overnight
    Day 27 - Head to Reno via Loneliest Road. Overnight.
    Day 28 - Head down to Yosemite via Lake Tahoe, Moon Crater Lake, Tioga Pass. Overnight.
    Day 29 - Yosemite. Minimal driving. Overnight.
    Day 30 - Yosemite. Minimal driving. Overnight.
    Day 31 - Head to San Francisco. Overnight.
    Day 32 - San Francisco. Driving rest day. Alcatraz. Overnight.
    Day 33 - Head to San Simeon via PCH and Big Sur. Overnight.
    Day 34 - Head to LA via PCH. Stay near Hollywood sign! Overnight.
    Day 35 - LA - Universal Studios. Driving rest day. Overnight.
    Day 36 - Head to Santa Monica Pier via Hollywood Blvd, Rodeo drive. Then to LAX, return car, fly home overnight to Heathrow.

    Some chunks of Rt66 missed out but it does tick the boxes of things/places we want to see. Youngsters not really expressed too much insight except for Royal Gorge zip wire and Universal Studios!

    If it's just me & the Mrs - Mustang/Camaro is the vehicle of choice. If we bring the youngsters - SUV purely for the space!


    Thanks as always.


    Moderator Note: To ensure everyone has a complete picture of your entire trip, please keep all questions about this trip together in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-15-2023 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Merged Threads

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Your driving times are just fine -- nothing too far. In some places (like St Louis to Springfield MO), you've got only a little mileage to cover and not a whole lot of sightseeing. There are a few things to do in Springfield. Venture down to the town of Ozark and eat at Lambert's Cafe II -- home of the "throwed rolls".

    Bear in mind that "Route 66" is no longer signed in that fashion. You are going to drive Interstates 55 (in Illinois), 44 (in Missouri & part of Oklahoma), and 40 (once at Oklahoma City). There are some parts of old 66 that the interstate did not take over, and those generally are marked as "state route 66", such as AZ-66 up to Peach Springs and through Oatman.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-15-2023 at 06:57 AM. Reason: fixed link to Lambert's

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