How much money???
My girlfriend and I are planning a roadtrip, starting in San Francisco in November 2003 and ending up in Miami by April 2004. We have arranged a car plus insurance, tax and liability cover for $3,000 through a leasing company - how much money do we need to live on for our 5 months???
There are way too many variables to answer your question, such as:
*Are you staying in hotels or camping?
*Are you planning on fixing your own food most meals via cooler/campstove or eating in restaurants?
*Are you planning the simple pleasures like, for example, hiking in national parks or are you planning on participating in more expensive pleasures like nightlife, theme parks, guided river rafting, etc.?
*What kind of gas mileage does the vehicle get and are you driving in a fairly straight path or are you zig-zaging across the country? The total miles driven and the mileage of the vehicle could have a significant impact on your total fuel costs. My trip-planning software says that the shortest route between these two points (that doesn't include any sidetrips for exploration) is 3,050 miles. I am sure you will be easily doubling that with sidetrips, etc. Going 3,050 miles in my vehicle that gets 30mpg on the highway, and if gas averages $1.70/gallon, it would only cost about $175 for the fuel.
I've done roadtrips averaging 300-400 miles per day that have cost me about $40-50 day for gas, camping fees, and food due to preparing all my own meals in camp, eating home-made sandwiches, and only doing inexpensive activities like hiking, beach-combing, etc.
I have also done roadtrips averaging the same amount of miles per day that have cost me about $200+/day when hoteling, eating in restaurants, partaking in nightlife, theme parks, and other tourist attractions.
As you can see, you have to define your plans better to get a better idea of costs. Hope this helps you make some estimates.
Thank you for your reply - I appreceiate it was a bit vague, but we found your guide helpful none-the-less.
In terms of costs, over the 5 months of our trip, how much would you say would be a sensible budget for both of us overall, based on:
* If we were to spend 2 and a half months using campsites and the other 2 and a half months using cheap motels or hostels
* Mainly bought our food from supermarkets, only occasionally eating out
* Not much nightlife at all
* The occasional trip to a theme park
If it would be no trouble, we would much appreciate any more advice you could offer,
Well, here goes...
I would really encourage you to sit down with pen and paper to figure out your budget. It's not that difficult. Here's what I figured:
Gas: $200 minimum
Campgrounds: 75 nights x $15/nite = $1125 (you could pay far more than $15 in private campgrounds so this is a low-ball estimate).
Hotels: 75 nights x $60/nite = $4500 (again, this figure will be low depending on what types of areas you stay in. Touristy and city areas will probably be much higher so, again, this is a low-ball).
Groceries: I would think you could do it for $10/day for groceries for a total of about $1500. But this is again variable depending on if you're planning a diet of hamburgers/hotdogs/ramen/mac n'cheese/bologna/oatmeal or are you planning a diet of steaks, etc. Also, if you are heavy pop drinkers, $10/day may end up being a little low.
Dining out: 3x week @ $20 each = $1200 Another low-ball as I'm sure many meals will be more than $20 for the two of you unless you stick with fast-food and inexpensive chains. Remember that breakfast is often the cheapest meal of the day to eat out so you might want to do that more often than dinners in order to save $$.
Nightlife/themeparks: Well, this could be $200 or $1000 or $5000. You are the only one who will know what you are planning on doing.
Total for all these is $9025.
Remember that this budget does not allow for auto-maintenance so you will want to budget for at least an oil change along the way and have a way to pay for more serious auto problems if they occur. AAA is a good option for towing if you get their upgraded membership package.
Also remember, there is more to a roadtrip than nightlife and themeparks for entertainment. Museums and other tourist stops are half the fun of a roadtrip but can get pricey as well.
And, other personal expenses aren't in here as well, such as buying souvenirs, cigarettes (if you are a smoker), replacing clothing items if needed, replenishing personal toiletries, etc. Those expenses don't stop when you travel.
Good luck. Hope this gives you some ideas on how to go about creating your own budget.
Thank you very much for all your help, it has certainly given us a good idea of what we will need and has helped make our planning a lot easier
$$ for the Laundromat
Don't forget money for the laundromat!