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Daily $ Cost of Road Trip Through US

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Jul 14th, 2006, 12:26 PM
  #1
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Daily $ Cost of Road Trip Through US

What would be a very broad estimate of daily travel, accomodation, food etc. budget for two people on a road trip?
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Jul 14th, 2006, 12:34 PM
  #2
GoTravel
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What city?

Including gas;

In New York or San Francisco, $200 per person.

In podunk USA $100.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 01:39 PM
  #3
JJ5
 
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The way I do it, or the way most people on Fodors do it? There are probably about 3 or 4 levels in lodging and in dining that make all the difference in $$$. And how many "entrance" fees are you including?

And also what vehicle you drive? We do a GMC van that is totally different $$ and convenience in comparison to a sedan we might also use for shorter trips.

Those variables make the estimate so broad that it might not fit YOU at all.

I do Priceline for end destinations, and 1 out of every 3 stops/lodgings on a road trip. That's a huge cut.

I did not spend 1/2 as much in NYC or in SF as some others do routinely.

And I am SHOCKED at how podunk now "is" in reality. Especially if it anywhere near a marketed tourist trap, for instance- Branson, Niagara Falls, Wisc. Dells, Mt. Rushmore etc.

We use the lodging coupons that you find in the books at the USA interstate rest stops and have gotten resorts/motels for 1/2 of the rack rates as well. One time in AZ I used a coupon near Montezuma's Well that got us a stay that included meals/lodging at a new, beautiful resort with those ads. It depends how you travel. There are lots of levels.

If you want guaranteed, concisely mapped reservations set in stone you will pay for them. And clearly with added taxes and parking fees some of the biggest cities are going to be far beyond $200 a day right now, I would think.

Keep a record of your car's mileage and at so much a gallon that's easy to estimate.

We find that the Southern continental USA is cheaper than the Northern continental USA in our experience.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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$30-50 for gas, $50-95 for lodging, $40-100 for food, $20-75 for souvenirs & admissions will take you through 95% of the country.

Keith
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Jul 14th, 2006, 03:11 PM
  #5
J62
 
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For a rental car, add $40-60/day, depending on what model you rent, the kind of deal you get, and any added insurance you buy.

Another way to think of travel cost is $/mile. Vehicles range from 15miles/gallon for an SUV to ~30 for a small car. Most are in between. At $3.00 gallon (rounded down here for ease of calculation, that means 10c to 20c/mile for gas. Many places gas is now above $3.20, but you get the point.

How far are you driving? NY to SF is about 3000miles, so it'll cost you anywhere from $300-$600 for gas to drive straight across the country.

If you are on a tight budget, the big variables you use to reduce cost are:

1. meals - buy food at supermarkets & bring along a cooler

2. lodging - you can camp for <$20/night all across the nation (except in cities), or you can spend $200+/night or more at 3* or 4* hotels in cities.

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Jul 14th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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We drive a Prius, so we'd be on the low end of the gas. If you have a igloo type cooler, and buy breakfast and lunch fixings, that helps with food costs. And also the time of year can come into play for costs. If it's peak season, lodging would be higher. I've seen the same AAA diamond motel room on the CA central coast variy from $50.- to $135.- depending on the time of year, and weekday vs. weekend.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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AAA estimates that it costs something like 40c a mile to use a mid sized car. This takes into consideration gas, oil, price of car, how often you need new tires, the whole shebang.

A lot more expensive to drive than most people imagine.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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GoTravel
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My estimation was per person per day BTW.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 09:09 PM
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To save money, one can get the smallest car with the lowest rental rate and highest fuel economy.

Don't sleep in hotels. Drive straight or sleep in the car at a truckstop. [They have paid showers too, if you need them.] Namebrand motels are getting expensive these days, often costing $70-80 or more; stay at the no-name places in small towns.

If you have to stay at chain motels, limit your choices to Motel 6, Super 8 and Econolodge.

Limit your dining choice to items on Wendy's dollar menu.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 10:04 PM
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Unfortunately, a lot more than it would have been a couple of years ago! In 2002 (I know, that's more than a couple of years ago) we drove from Chicago to Frisco, CO for four days and then to a Rockies game and up into Wyoming to Devils's Tower, over to Custer State Park for three days and back across SD, Nebraska and Iowa to Illinois in our Toyota Camry for a grand total of $188 for gas. Tomorrow we're driving to southern Illinois to visit my mother-in-law. It'll probably cost us about $100 for gas, round-trip. I fully understand that, in comparison to the rest of the world, we still have it good in terms of gas prices. But what a change in a relatively short period of time!
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Jul 14th, 2006, 10:12 PM
  #11
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Thanks guys. Gives me a pretty good idea of how much it might be. It will be close to $200 per person.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 05:19 AM
  #12
JJ5
 
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If you go by the actual employee driving reimbursement per mile this year (national) it has changed more than any other year that I have handled travel accounts. I cut these checks for faculty reimbursement when necessary. It was 41.5 cents per mile
most of this year.

After a 44.5 cents per gallon period it went went down just a little, and now is probably at the 44.5 to 47.5 cents per gallon. If you used 48 cents per mile for an average larger sedan, I think you would be very close, on the gas portion anyway, of the trip.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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Sikki, your other thread says you'll be traveling alone. How many trips are you taking? You are all over the Europe forum, too.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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We travel several weeks a year staying in comfortable and conveniently located hotels in the ***/**** range.

In 2003-2004 rooms averaged $120 a night, and in 2005-2006 they are averaging $142.

I note we have compensated by fewer dining splurges. In 2003-2004 we spent an average of $85 a day in restarants; in 2005-2006 we are spending an average of $68 a day.

If you live in Europe, we find traveling in the USA costs about the same as traveling in Spain.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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rkkwan -

That doesn't sound like a vacation - it sounds like the Bataan death march.

I would either do a shorter trip to be able to afford at least the basics - somehwere to sleep and dinner in a decent restaurant - or - to keep the same length vacation find a way to save more money (cut back other places? get a temp second job?).

Really - I would een do day trips from home rather than sleep in my car (isn;t that called being homeless?).
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Jul 15th, 2006, 10:42 AM
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rkkwan,

Thanks for the great ideas about how to save money while traveling.'

I was thinking that, perhaps, by begging I could make enough money to pay for gas and meals at Wendy's. Do you have any suggestions for effective panhandling locations and techniques?

HTTY
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Jul 15th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Yikes, these strategies are making my RV investment look good in spite of gas prices. I just completed a 3-week trip that cost under $100 per day for gas, food, and places to stay.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Hahaha... That was how the other Fodorite yk and I used to do road trips in the old days. Come to think of it, that might be before Wendy's dollar menu. Instead, we go for their Superbar to get all you can eat for a few bucks.

These days, we don't travel together, we want to stay at nicer hotels for cheap. So, the current method is same-day Priceline. Figure out what major city one will be, then call the other to bid on Priceline. It's pretty easy to get Hyatt or equivalent for ~$50 + fees. Cheaper than many motels charge these days, but there may be parking cost and no breakfast.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Anonymous,

If you figured the cost of your RV into the cost of your travel, didn't you spend more than $100 a day?

I have relatives who don't maintain records of how much they spend on the upkeep of their beloved VW Camper because, if they did, they would have to sell it.

But maybe you have more sense than my brother-in-law.

HTTY
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Jul 15th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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I bought the RV after my car was totaled in an accident, it only cost $16,000. So I'll factor that in, if you'll factor-in the cost of your family car on your car trips.
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