Cross Country Road Trip Expenses
I’ve received several e-mails and text messages asking how much the trip cost. My ex-girlfriend and I saved over $2000 each. Combined, we had $4000 to use for the trip. Below you will see the estimates and the actual cost of the trip. The exact amount that we spent will be in BOLD.
Flight from LAX – ATL $200(2) $194(2)
Car Rental $700 $523.03
Hotel $686.94 $633.53
Gas $450 $432
Food $400 $466.82
Totals $2636.94 $2443.38
I estimated that our flight would be $200 per person. We actually saw a cheaper price on Southwest Airlines’ website for $194. People told me I couldn’t get a rental car for less than $1100. I had faith that we would find one cheaper. I estimated that the rental car would be $700. I tweeted if anybody had any rental car deals. I received a message out of the blue from a travel agent. He was able to book my rental car for $523.03 through Hertz. That was the total price for the 13 days. The car we rented was a Dodge Avenger. The estimated hotel price was $686.94. The actual cost was $633.53. Priceline helped me find some cheap rooms. The travel agent helped with a couple of rooms as well. The gas was estimated to be $450. We spent less than that. Food is the only thing we went over. As you can see, we spent $66.82 more on food than I estimated.
There were more expenses, such as souvenirs, parking, and postage. Since we drove, we shipped two boxes of mementos back home. We sent postcards to friends and family as well.
Bring food and water with you. You may not always want to stop at a restaurant, depending on how much you drive.
Bring a cooler with you. I purchased one from Family Dollar for less than $3.
Have a map just in case your GPS freezes or stops working.
You should book your hotel rooms a few weeks in advance.
If you go to a sporting event, use StubHub to get your tickets.
Take a lot of pictures and talk to the locals.
If you have any questions feel free to ask me.
Cross Country Road Trip Resources
Some days you will be driving longer than others. You may not want to get off the exit or go to a store. Bring a cooler and fill it up with food and snacks. You have no idea how handy this will be for you. Here is an example of a cooler that you can use. It’s only $14 and doesn’t take up much space.
If you want another option for lodging, try Airbnb. Many cities have hundreds of homes or rooms for rent on Airbnb. I’ve used the service several times and haven’t had a problem. Get $40 off your first booking when you use this exclusive link.
I used Google Maps to preplan my trip. I’m a stickler for directions, so I’d like to know where I’d be driving beforehand.
Use a GPS if you may get lost. You can use Google Maps on your phone or use an app like Waze.
If you plan on going to any sporting events or shows on your trip, purchasing them in advance is better. StubHub is my go-to site. They usually have tickets to every significant event. In a lot of cases, they are cheaper than Ticketmaster. Check them out here.
Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.