#18- 7000 Miles For Under $1000 – Week 3 and Recap

Week 3 Summary: 

Three days of driving west across the country, and I am back! My trip was unfortunately cut short, but I still managed to go over my mileage.  7,300 Miles! 

Mid way through week 2, while I was out in West Texas, I got the call that I would be returning to work at the end of the month.  I got back to Central Texas after a week-long trip in big bend and, I drove straight up to Illinois to see my folks.  15 hours on the road was no joke.  I was exhausted. 

I was planning to spend all of week three with them, but I had to leave a little early due to time constraints of returning to work. 

I had a great time with them. We went out on their boat and enjoyed their little lake community in South East Illinois.  It was super cost-effective being there, seeing that I wasn’t driving or camping.  I was able to just relax for a week and enjoy their company.  

Then, I high tailed it back to Tahoe. I drove 3 straight days to make it back in time for work. 

Overall the trip was amazing.  I got to see America’s natural beauty and reconnect with some really special people.

So….. How did I finish money-wise? 

I spent a total of $1068 on food, gas, lodging, miscellaneous, etc. I feel pretty good about that number knowing that I went 300 Miles over my projected mileage. 

The real reason I went over my mileage was that I decided to head to Central Texas early, and then I drove back out to Big Bend National Park.  This added roughly 900 miles to my trip.  So, even though I cut out the fourth week, my mileage finished roughly the same.  

Lessons Learned From This Trip:

  • Don’t Pay for Camping / Lodging – The most eye-opening thing for me on this trip was the realization that you don’t have stay where you’re “suppose to stay.”  So much of this trip was unscripted.  No reservations, No Spending.  I found so many cool places that cost me absolutely nothing!  Keep an open mind when road-tripping and lose the assumptions on your lodging potentially ruining your trip.  Just go with the flow and the savings will come.
  • Pack Your Pantry – Most of us have a TON of dry goods in our pantries.  Everything from rice, pasta, and lentils to sauces and soups. Bring It All!  I had so much food during my trip, I barley grabbed anything to go.  If you have a bunch of dry goods, it’s cheap to replace other things like: a bag of apples, bread, and sandwich meat.  Use what you have and spend minimally on the small stuff. 
  • The Power of the Baby Wipe – Baby wipes honestly saved my life on this trip.  I can handle dirty feet, but it’s really hard to not get a hotel after a week with a lot of physical activity and zero showers.  Baby wipes were super convenient for daily cleaning of the most important areas.  I didn’t notice too much of a smell.  Pour a little water on your head to wash your hair and you’re golden! 
  • Traveling Solo Saves You More – Through the first week and a half of my trip, I spent very little money.  I was camping for free, eating the food I brought, and enjoying free recreation.  I noticed when I was in a group setting the following week, I was spending drastically more.  I loved spending time with my friends, I just happened to notice this during and after the trip.  On group trips, it can be very easy to re-up supplies daily; such as beer, firewood, food, and gas.  All of these things add up.  So, if you are someone traveling on a really tight budget, you might want to consider rolling solo OR being super conscious of your spending in groups. 

In Conclusion:

This trip was truly amazing.  Not only did I get to enjoy our beautiful country and socialize with people who matter, but I was also able to get a break from the current pandemic we live in.  I was able to mental recharge and return relaxed and with clear intention.  I am a better person for this experience, and I encourage people to get out and do the same. 

Traveling on a budget is possible! You just have to change your expectations.  You will be far better for it! 

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