80 Day Road Trip Cost: Expense Breakdown


We just finished an 80 day road trip, driving over 10,000 miles through 12 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces and visiting 13 national parks. The single most frequently asked question we get, is how much does something like that cost. I wondered the same thing at the beginning of this big adventure. Before we started looking into a trip of this magnitude, we had no idea what the cost would be. As soon as we began the planning stages, we had an inkling as to the cost of lodging. Since summer is the busiest time of the year to visit the national parks, we had to book most of it in advance. But how much would the rest of it cost like gas, food or activities? We didn’t have a clue.

So, we tracked every single penny so we could share with you the total cost of our epic adventure!


If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.

The Easiest Way to Track Travel Expenses… for Free

Personal Capital is our go-to place to track travel expenses. We actually use it to track all of our expenses, all of the time. It works flawlessly, and does everything we want it to do within a beautiful interface. You can access it on your desktop web browser or phone. They have apps for Android and Apple devices. The best thing about it: it is absolutely FREE. Signup for your free account with Personal Capital here.

Since Personal Capital sees every dollar you spend, whether it’s withdrawn from your bank account, put on your credit card or pulled from an ATM, you don’t have to manually enter anything. It automatically categorizes each transaction. It also has the ability to track expenses within a specific date range, annually, monthly, or however you want to see it. Read here to find out more of what Personal Capital can do for you.

Road Trip Travel Budget Breakdown

Most people that travel only a couple of times a year have the impression that travel is expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it can be. Hotels and airfare add up, but what we are hoping (and finding) is that long-term travel does not have to be costly. There are ways to reduce expenses like buying groceries and camping versus eating out all the time and staying in fancy hotels. When I was working full-time, I would not have necessarily wanted to give some of these luxury items up since our travel was limited and our trips were designed for maximum indulgence. Now that we are attempting to travel half of the year, we needed to rethink the type of travel we do and that includes maximizing our dollar and minimizing our spend.

The total cost of our 80 day epic summer road trip (drum roll please) was $6,233. That’s an average of $78 a day including everything: gas, lodging, food and excursions.



*Lodging: Campgrounds 61 nights, Hotels 10 nights, With Family (for free) 8 nights

*Lodging: Redeemed a free night earned previously with Hotels.com’s Reward Program and used IHG hotel loyalty points to cover two additional hotel nights.

*Excursions: $400 not included in our costs were comped by various tourism boards and $80 not included for free America the Beautiful Park Pass for military.

If you are looking for more travel tips, take a look at:

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11 Responses

  1. so impressed with you bottom line. we normally spend 50-60/day per person. Camping long term can get old and it gets tempting to grocery shop less and eat out more, but you guys did great

    • Thanks Jasmine! It was strange, I thought the eating in would be tiresome but it was okay. We mixed it up and although I might never want to eat ramen noodles ever again we did alright! Lol

  2. What an epic road trip! You guys did an awesome job at breaking down your journey and the costs of the journey. It seems like you really stretched a lot out of your budget!

  3. Wow what a great road trip! And thanks for sharing what it cost you. I am in the US at the moment so this really helps me to plan my travels here!

  4. Looks like an amazing road trip – great job of budgeting too, very impressive!

  5. What a wonderful looking trip, and with 80 days, you had plenty of time to enjoy and not rush.

  6. Chris Travels

    You two did a marvelous job of tracking your expenses. Thank you for your willingness to share that very personal information with your readers. You seemed to combine your tendencies towards frugality with occassional bursts of a little luxury, thus making for an enjoyable, yet financially doable journey that didn’t “break the bank”. Kudos to you!

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