Road trip! Outdoor adventure travel can have that added touch of excitement when you have to drive over miles of unfamiliar territory to get there.
A friend and I decided to do as much of California as we could in ten days by road. While suffering the Thelma and Louise jokes of some of our friends, we started on a journey that would take us from San Francisco to Sacramento, to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Diego and finally to Los Angeles.
Sunset in San Francisco
So, challenge #1; driving on the right hand-side of the road when we come from a left-hand driving country! (and who gets to go at a four way stop?!). Short of drawing a big ‘R’ on our right hands, not driving while too tired and repeating the mantra ‘stay right’ seems to work…
Challenge #2; navigating! We opted not to pay a daily hire charge on a GPS unit as we wanted to do the whole trip as low-cost as possible. Getting a local SIM card and making sure you’re on a plan with data did the trick in terms of being able to use map apps on the smartphone.
Challenge #3; did I mention we were doing this on the cheap? We set an ambitious budget prior to the trip that we didn’t want to spend any more than $30 each per day on accommodation and no more than $15 each per day on food. We managed to get a good deal on a rental car (about $36 per day including insurance – and yes, it was a 2012 model), and the car was economical on gas – it cost us about $70 to fill the tank and we only had to do this 3 1/2 times over the whole trip.
In terms of our food and accommodation budgets, we actually did well, managing to come in under or on budget for every night’s accommodation (we’re talking hostels, a motel and a tent cabin). With our powers combined, $30 on food actually went quite far. Buy groceries, including road trip snacks and you don’t need to eat out so much. And, where we had saved on accommodation, we could spend a little more on food (farmer’s markets are also great for good, fresh food at decent prices).
Tent Cabin in Yosemite - Tidy on the budget!
Do you travel on a budget? What tips do you have for the outdoor adventure traveler living on the cheap?