NEED HELP ON BUGETING $$$
me and 3 friends are planning a trip come july/august this year. but we cant decide on what the general cost will be. as in how much money we should all have saved before hand. our rout is to go all the way around the usa, startign from jersey to florida, cali, washington, nyc, jersey. im thinking on gas, food, aveage hotel cost for a night's stay (flea bag or not). thanks for any help!!
I allow $26 per day for food (1 person). This is more than enough for me, and I can eat well on this amount. If I'm on a budget, I cut it down to a smaller amount and eat more simply -- like out of an ice chest.
Lodging, you can often find rooms for $40-$60. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the area, the occupancy load of the local establishments at that time, and the time of year. I usually figure for $60, then look for less as I go. Don't be afraid to haggle (respectfully) with hotel staff! You can also camp or hostel. These are cheaper, although sometimes not by much.
Gas, I can only tell you how to figure it. First, figure your total mileage for the trip. Divide that number by the avg mpg of your vehicle, and this is the estimated number of gallons the trip will take. Multiply that result by the projected cost per gallon. Hard to do, when gas prices are fluctuating so much as they are now.
Also remember that highway mileage will be somewhat better than city, depending on the vehicle. (Most of your miles will be highway on a road trip -- but there will be some city miles and you need to consider the terrain -- mountain or plain -- I usually choose a number in the middle of the range for planning purposes. For example, my truck gets from 14.5 to 19 mpg. For planning, I figure my mpg at 17.
Finally, you need to figure your extra expenses (admissions, entertainment, sightseeing, etc) and allow for a reserve of some kind to cover the unexpected events.
I did a similar trip last summer. My major suggestion is to stop at all the visitor centers as you enter each state (they are almost always located off major highways). These places offer major discounts on hotels/motels, restaurants, and attractions. It also allows you to do a little bit of planning ahead. Have fun! Make sure to stop in Santa Fe....ok city, nashville, oh man, and i could go on! so much fun.
Saving on meals
A couple of ways you can save on meals is to plan on eating out only once a day at the most, and make that your midday meal. Prices are usually cheaper during that time and it is good to get out of the car for a while. The evening meal can be simple like meat & cheese with crackers, yogurt or similar things. For breakfast, try to stay at places that have a free continental breakfast. There are a lot of lower priced motels (Super 8 being one) that do have the free breakfast.
Also you can save on motels by signing up for there rewards programs. On a long trip like this you can end up with a free night or two.
saving $$$ on meals
Go to Ebay.com. Click on the gift certificate con. Bicd on gift certificates to restaurants. Some are for $25 off and some are for 50% off. We are planning a major triop this summer with 4 teenagers and have found several certificates for restaurants in placs taht we are planning on staying.
Wow, that is first time I have heard that. Thanks for sharing this tip!
For hotels, use priceline.com
For lodging, if you can schedule your trip so that you will spend the nights at major cities, you can use priceline.com to obtained fantastic deals. For example, for my trip to NYC this July 7th-8th, I was able to get a room at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City (2 Exchange Pl, Jersey City, NJ) for $50/night (tax included). You should start out by going through this discussion web site (http://p071.ezboard.com/bpricelineandexpediabidding) to get some basic bidding strategy first.
Try buying as much non-perishible food as you
can carry in the months and weeks before your
trip. Also, if you can be frugal with your money,
you can figure on one-hundred dollars a day for
yourself, and about fifty to sixty a day for each
of your "crew". If you can share beds and stay in
one room per night, you'll save alot. Example: Motel
room for sixty dollars divided by four= $ 15.00 each,
Gas at forty dollars a day divided by four= $ 10.00
each, Fast Food at fifty dollars a day by four=
$12.50 each, souvinirs and misc. crap at $ 60.00
a day= $15.00 each. A great way to figure mileage
and fuel is to visit mapquest and Rand McNally on the
net. Also, plan on adding two or three hundred dollars
to your total 'cause hey, on roadtrips, sxxt happens.
Road Trip Fuel Cost
Rather than using mapquest's tools, you can use the <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/roadtripamerica_cfmfiles/calculator.cfm">fuel cost calculator<a/> here.
Oh yeah! Ebay has great gift certificates from Restaurant.com! I won a 25 dollar gift certificate for a pricy joint in San Antonio. My date and I had our 30 buck meal for 8 bucks after everything!