Touring - TransAmerica Trail Costs
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05-14-09, 01:29 PM
I tried searching the forums, but could not find the right search terms to find what I needed, and google has been no help either.
What would you all budget for a self-supported TAT tour. This is just for the tour itself, not for the equipment that I would already have at the start of the tour.
I am planning on a mixture of cheap motel and camping. I have no way to gauge how much it would cost, and food is especially troublesome since I know I would need more calories than on a normal trip.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
05-14-09, 01:36 PM
I averaged approx $25 a day last summer doing the Northern Tier. Eating out some and cooking the rest of the time. Didn't stay in motels though and camped the whole way. I'm sure I could have done it for less if I had to. So I would say it depends.
I spent as much on food as anything.
05-14-09, 02:04 PM
This does come up once in a while here.... but with inflation/deflation/economic-collapse it's worth revisiting.
Two of us on the TA last summer (2008) spent about $35/day average. Some days it was $50, some days $15. I'd guess that $30 of that was for food and camping; $5 went into the kitty for stuff like sun lotion, replacing a broken mirror, postcards and stamps, museums, historical sites, etc. Because camping costs the same (usually) whether it's one or two, I think a solo rider would be more than half that. Most of our expense was for food; our main source was grocery stores, with 4 or 5 restaurants a week.
We mostly camped -- I think we stayed at motels 6 or 7 times. We were pleasantly surprised in the east (VA through KS) because we rarely paid for camping. City parks, churches, fire houses, generous strangers all kept the cost of camping to near zero (although donations are helpful). Camping in the west is in postcard-perfect campgrounds, but the cost adds up; only about 1/3 of the time are there city parks or churches to stay at.
Our biggest expense was M&Ms :) If you're fueled by cold beer or ice cream or megaburgers, you need to adjust your budget. Don't forget at least one Nat'l Park entry fee.
It's always best to be prepared for spending more: bike repairs, dental/medical problems, tornado days in a motel, etc. And of course, you might want to take in a movie, the zoo, or a sidetrip to a national monument, etc. For us, the sidetrips were part of our adventure.... "We won't be back here again."
Not specific to the TransAM, but I started a thread a while back about economics.
You might find it helpful.
05-14-09, 02:50 PM
The costs can vary extremely wildly. If you travel in a group, stealth camp, buy all your food in grocery stores except what is offered free by friendly strangers, never pay admission to anything, never stay in a motel, never drink a beer or otherwise splurge, and never have anything break down, you can probably do it on less than $10 a day. If you go solo, pay to camp, stay in motels often, eat most meals in restaurants, visit the tourist attractions, and spluge on treats, you can probably spend $100 a day. Most normal people are going to fall somewhere in between.
05-14-09, 03:43 PM
The advice you have received so far is good. Cost is so dependent on your personal choices. To get any kind of an accurate estimate you will have to come to grips with the specifics of how you plan to tour. Camping all of the time, part of the time, always camp without paying, etc. Eating only what you buy in a grocery store and cook yourself, eat out always, eat out sometimes, eat out only at MacDonalds, etc.
In any event, have a good trip.
05-14-09, 04:41 PM
Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I am not sure how I want to go about accomplishing this goal, but I like getting the range of costs. I would say that I plan on being in the middle. Part of the fun of it is being a part of the state cultures, so I am sure that I will eat at some restaurants, but not a huge amount. Hotels will be nice some times, but not always necessary.
Keep 'em coming if you have experience with the costs. It is interesting to see how others make it, and it seems like cost is not something that people write about while on tour, so it is nice to get the perspective from people afterwards.
05-14-09, 05:49 PM
I have been thinking about costs since I am going to do the northern part of the Pacific Coast Highway this summer that I haven't already done. When I did the Oregon/Northern California part last year my main cost, as others have said, was food at restaurants. Roughly $10 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $25-35 for dinner totalling $45-55/day and $700 over the two weeks for food! I ate well and discovered some really great, hidden restaurants. Then on top of that, most camping was about $5/night with hotels/motels $55-100. Over two weeks I think my cost for accommodations--probably a motel every other night because of cold and stormy weather that I was underprepared for--was possibly $600 (just guessing). So, surprisingly to me, I am in the $90/day category.
This time I am reverting to my old ways. It's going to be oatmeal in the morning, PBH or cheese sandwiches for lunch and local groceries for dinner.
Costs can add up quickly.
05-14-09, 06:41 PM
It seems like that is one of the unfortunate realities of self-supported touring. Trying so hard to get away from everything, but still having to work to afford being on the open road for a good amount of time.
05-15-09, 07:00 AM
Camping can be cheap I think we averaged under $5 a night (per person) by staying in churches and city parks a lot of the time, with hosts once in a while, in cheap campsites, and in an expensive one only a few times. We paid for a room once, rented a little cabin once, and stayed in a teepee once. We also split costs 3 ways.
I think a semi-reasonable range is $15-30 per day. Some people manage on $10 and some probably manage to spend $100 though. Personally I think that $20-25 is kind of a sweet spot, but I prefer to have twice that available even though I will not spend it. It is nice to be frugal, but less nice to have to be frugal.
05-15-09, 11:45 AM
Bicycle touring ain't cheap irregardless of popular opinion. Figure on $20-$30/day for reasonably comfortable touring, excluding motels and expensive campgrounds. Multiply by 60 for a cross country and throw in the cost of getting home. Lots of cheaper ways to cross the country, but not to have so much fun for so long.
A common mistake - there ain't no such word as irregardless.
05-17-09, 11:46 PM
I've ridden a couple of permanents lately, and was surprised at how much I had spent at convenience stores by the end of the day- it adds up in a hurry, especially if it's hot.
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