Monday, October 15, 2018

How To Budget For A Cross Country Road Trip

Now that we all know that Joe and I are doing a cross country road trip, let's discuss the planning! [Also if you missed my announcement, you can hear it all here]. We need to start with the basics: this a five day cross country road trip. There are two adults and one cat. We're driving Joe's car. There will be some pre-trip prep involved [buying car snacks, vet appointment for Nutmeg, and car repairs] but since those are somewhat unique to us, I'm not including those in this budget. Let's breakdown what we're intending to spend!

Joe's car holds 21 gallons and gets 23 miles to the gallon (averaging city and highway driving). Our route is approximately 3200 miles. The average price of gas (currently) is $2.97/gallon. We'll need 140 gallons - $415 for gas. I'm not sure why I included how many gallons his car holds but it means we will have to fill up seven times on the trip! I did some quick research on tolls and couldn't find an estimate for a cross country trip. I'll set aside $100 for tolls!

Luckily two out of four nights we're able to stay with family and friends. While we will, of course, bring a host gift, we will still be saving on hotels. Not to mention it is much nicer staying with friends! Our other two nights will cost us $55.68 and $47.64. We're staying in small towns in pet-friendly motels. Our lodging will only cost us a little over $100 (with host gifts).

We'll be eating all of our meals out. We will purchase car snacks before the trip though. We'll aim for affordable options on the trip. We'll estimate $100/day on food for the two of us. You could definitely do it for less but we are meeting up with some friends for meals along the way. 

Most people do road trips for fun. While this is an exciting trip, it's largely to move ourselves (and our cat) across the country. The only attraction we're stopping at is Mount Rushmore (because when else will we see it!). Entrance is free but we will need to pay $10 for parking. For car entertainment, I already pay for Spotify Premium and we plan to download some podcasts. Otherwise this will be an inexpensive area for us!

Estimated Total: $1125

Have you done a cross country road trip? Am I missing any expenses?

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