Friday, December 10, 2010

Budget for 2-Week West Coast Road Trip

Hi Jamie

Great website!

I came across your website after Googling ‘USA West Coast road trip’ and I just thought I’d run a trip my friends and I are planning, with you:

We are 4 South Africans (all in our mid 20’s) planning a road trip on the USA West Coast in January 2011.

We will be landing in Los Angeles (LAX) on Saturday, 15 January 2011 and will depart from LAX on Friday, 28 January 2011. We basically plan on spending a few days in LA, visiting Vegas, San Francisco, etc.

In terms of a rough budget, here are our calculations:

Car hire: $900 for car hire for the 14 day period – taking into consideration our luggage, we are looking at getting an SUV

Gas: $300 for the entire trip

Accommodation: $100 per night/$1400 for the 14 day period. We were thinking of a 1 bedroom/2 double beds kind of set up

We would like to confirm our exact route by (latest) the end of December 2010 and in the interim – we are looking at prices of hotels in the areas that we driving through, ticket prices to theme parks/shows, etc. (e.g. Universal Studios, Disneyland, etc.)

Your thoughts/advice on the above would be great and MUCH appreciated! :o)

P.S. I have been to the USA a few times before as I have family in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles – my cousins up there are drafting up possible route(s) for us.




Hello there Brad --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope you have a great trip. You're lucky to have cousins to help you plan your routes -- there are some fantastic places ahead of you. On your way between Las Vegas and SF, don't miss Yosemite National Park, which is gorgeous in the snow, and Death Valley, which is sunny and warm (but not _too_ warm) in winter.

I think your budget calculations are just about right on the money -- though fuel prices may be a bit higher (especially if you get a big beast of an SUV). To save on accommodation, I would suggest you look for deals before you land -- especially in cities like SF and LA and Las Vegas (in Las Vegas, prices can vary hugely, and the same room can cost anywhere from $75 to $250 a night, depending on when you buy it!) Most hotels will have a "two queen bed" option -- "queen"-sized beds are 60" wide and big enough for two people to share, but in America a "double" bed is about 8 inches narrower than a queen, and can be a bit tight (not matter how friendly you are with your bed-mate!)

Also, look out for the many good "advance purchase" deal out there, for attractions like Disneyland (where January is very much low season -- there will be coupons aplenty, online and in hotel lobbies).

Hope this helps -- have fun!

-- Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Hi Jamie

Thanks for the feedback :)

You are spot on about booking our accommodation before hand! We have been using for this and have come across AWESOME deals – well within our budget for hotels for everywhere from LA to Vegas :)

Also, while hunting online – we also came across super online only specials for attractions like Universal Studios, Disneyland, etc. This is why I’m taking along my laptop so that we an hunt for cool online deals, while we are up there!

Thanks for the heads up about the gas money as well, we’ll definitely budget for more in this respect!


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