So in approximately 4 months and 22 days from today, my boyfriend and I will be touching down in LA for the start of our seven week US adventure.
**squeezes eyes shut in excitement**
To say I’m looking forward to this trip is an understatement. It’s actually been on my mind for well over three years.
And as the leaving date approaches, my planning is starting to kick into gear. The flights are booked so the start and end of the trip is set. But that’s it. I’ve got seven weeks-ish of travelling to plan and itinerate. And I’m starting to freak out.
The first thing I need to do is really get a good idea about what the whole trip will cost and make sure I’ve saved enough, and then some. Most of the countries I’ve travelled to before have been in Asia, and because the travel costs were pretty low it was easy to travel with a pretty rough budget.
I know that travelling in the US will be more expensive than the type of travel I’m used to, and because this is a long trip I don’t want to run out of money halfway through.
The rough plan for the moment is to spend two weeks on the west coast, then head east for New York and spend a couple of weeks there. Then we’ll head down to Florida for a bit. There’s obviously flexibility built into that, and I still don’t know exactly where I want to visit and what things to do.
Budgeting Travel Costs
I used the site BudgetMyTrip to work out a rough daily cost for each of us. We’re in the budget to mid-range category, so I’m running on a base cost of $100 per person per day, or $5,000 each for seven weeks.
I’m not a high-cost traveller. I like to really get a feel for the places I travel to and ‘live like a local’. No, that doesn’t mean I want to run your errands and go to your job. Just that I like to take things easy and not try to cram in all the sites in one go.
The perfect day for me is to walk-eat-walk-sit in a park and people watch- eat-wander-drink-eat. Not always in that order.
I also don’t want to try and rush through as many cities as possible. I’d rather spend more time in fewer cities and explore those places in greater depth.
Those factors obviously mean that our costs will be lower than someone trying to visit as many places as possible and doing all the tourist (ie expensive) activities.
How I Plan to Keep Travel Costs Down
I’m a big fan of finding new ways to travel and experience places. I don’t really like staying in generic, gray hotels. I like to meet new people, try new foods and experience things that are a little off the beaten track. I also like the idea of shopping locally at markets and delis and being able to cook my own meals.
As a result I plan to utilise share economy sites as much as possible, such as AirBnB for accommodation and RelayRides for local car hire. I’d also like to meet up with as many local guides as possible to get some real insights into the cities we visit, through something like RentAFriend. And of course I want to catch up with the many IRL and blog friends I’ve made.
This is first stage trip planning and I’ve got lots more research and thinking to do before the trip. I love planning almost as much as the holiday itself, so this is going to be a lot of fun.