SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAY 80
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Since Personal Capital sees every dollar you spend, whether it’s withdrawn from your bank account, put on your credit card or pulled from an ATM, you don’t have to manually enter anything.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:
- How to Survive an Airport Layover
- Reduce Hotels Expenses with Best Rate Guarantees
- What is Ebates and Why You Should Use It
- How to Travel for Free
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Have any other questions about our trip? Just ask in the Comments Section below!
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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
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!
Thanks Kevin! We managed to do everything we wanted and stay under budget…not too shabby!
Sanne - Spend Life Traveling
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!
Glad to hear it Sanne! Have a safe and fun trip!
Looks like an amazing road trip – great job of budgeting too, very impressive!
Thanks Marianne! We were trying to reach under $100 a day and were excited when when we came in way under!
What a wonderful looking trip, and with 80 days, you had plenty of time to enjoy and not rush.
Thanks Tiana! We had a great time and are already planning the next one!
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!
I wonder what my ridiculously daily rate was in my glory days…..
Always sleep in car, coleman stove, rice, veggies, ride mt bike all day
sleep free in Nat’l forests etc…mostly gas….6-8 weeks = couple 100 $….
Oregon, WA, ID, favorites…
I bet it was super low! Lodging is the most expensive cost so you were rocking it. We’ve truck camped before. I thought my husband was nuts at first, but it’s fun and saves so much money 😆
Hello you guys, I am shocked by the cost of your trip and how reasonable it is. I am planning a motorcycle trip for 50 days all across America and back home to Toronto across Canada. Going alone to really find out who I am or who I am not and then be that person. I have saddlebags and a trailer so lots of room for gear but am hesitant to stay at campsites as after a long day of ridin’ you want some comfort from the heat, rain, cold, dust, wind and all the other stuff you live as you ride. I nice bed, cold beer, shower, and good chow would make the end of the day perfect. Be nice to find a bar to sit and talk to locals and ask about great roads or spots I never knew about.
I am thinking of budgeting $20,000.00 for everything and if I come back with some money left great. If I burn through it and need some more, that is not so great but have some excess funds in the bank to rely on. I am figuring I am only going to make this trip one time in this life, might as well do it right and not have any regrets. Film it with a go pro on my helmet and download each night so anyone who cares can follow along and see the journey
I am leaving from Toronto, Ontario, and heading down thru Lake Placid, NY, and then to the Blue Ridge Pwky. South on that until the end and then work my way west by going on every scenic road I have read about.
Any ideas or suggestions you have would be most welcome and any places to stay away from would be appreciated too. In a car, it is one thing, on a bike, something quite different.
Thank you for posting your adventure and I will let you know when I am going on mine.
Hey Danny, Sounds like an amazing trip! I highly recommend the Finger Lakes area (with Watkins Glen & Corning as must-dos) plus Letchworth State Park in New York. Also short detour to Jim Thorpe, PA (nice bicycle trail in Lehigh Gorge & cool town), Yuegling is open might be a fun stop to hit the oldest brewery in the US and Harpers Ferry, WV (historic & interesting stop), and Luray Caverns, VA. We I have articles on most of these on the site, if you go to the menu and navigate within the destinations tab. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know. So excited for you, itll definitely be a trip of a lifetime.