Some folks think that domestic travel is inexpensive. I can tell you that it is not. There are certainly ways to cut costs, and the money and language do not create a comfort zone barrier as they can in other countries, but US travel is expensive.
I have been sharing our costs and daily details not only to provide a bit of Jeopardy trivia, but also to give you and idea of what it might cost for YOU to make a similar trip (which I am fully equipped to help you do).
We decided to take the more expensive of our two vehicles (we took the RAV4 which has all-wheel/4-wheel drive instead of our Prius) for comfort but moreso for safety – the Prius is not known to do well in snow and we did have plenty of opportunity to drive in snow during our northern westbound trip.
I packed TONS of snacks and a cooler full of breakfast options for us and every day we either packed our lunch or Char made it for us while I was driving, with the exception of our lunch in Leavenworth. We paid for two breakfasts (at Yellowstone) and had three provided for us at the B&Bs we stayed in and for dinner, one night we ate at Olive Garden, four nights we ate in and cooked, one night (our expensive meal) we ate at Yellowstone, one night we got McDonalds and one night we did takeout. Dinner was by far our most expensive meal since it always required us to get some type of food – but the other meals we really saved.
We did purchase some travel trinkets on the road, but our other non-essential expenditures were our cross country ski trip ($117), the reindeer farm ($42), and a number of gifts we bought for family for Christmas here in Washington.
All told, here is our trip by the numbers.
Total miles driven = 3876
Total hours on the road = 71.5
Total States driven through/in = 16
Gas total = $360.33
Total food purchased = $433.64
Hotel and B&B stays = $1335.07
Trinkets and non-essential expenditures = $608
TOTAL for 10 days of cross country travel for two people = $2,737.04
I know this is not an insignificant sum, but compared to some other expenses we have happily accepted for recent trips, this one is WAY worth it (we loved our stay in Charleston – the Governor’s House Inn was a HUGE splurge for us because our original trip was to Europe, so we stuck with the same budget – and those four nights in Charleston were approximately $2000.00)
This was about $137/per day/per person – FAR less expensive than a nice all inclusive AND the best part?
70.5 hours in the car with my teen age daughter – priceless! (I write about this in another blog coming shortly…)
Take the road trip. LIVE your life. And this has absolutely nothing to do with COVID and convincing people to not be afraid – this is a LIFE thing! How many opportunities do we miss out on because of fear? I will not live that way and I truly hope to instill a sense of responsible adventurism in my kids. One of my all time favorite movie lines is from Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne tells his buddy Red that folks should, “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin'”. I will live.
PS – my sister has a 3 year old and 5 year old and for her, the thought of being STUCK in a car with her little angels for this amount of time is paramount to purgatory – someday, Becks – the road trip will be for you, too. Love you!