Utah Road Trip!

road tripToday, we’re starting our cross-country trek to Utah to visit my family for Thanksgiving. What what! We’re both über excited. We made a quick trip to Utah last month for a family thing, but other than that, we haven’t seen my family since we moved to Arkansas last December. I’ve definitely missed everyone, but I’m most excited to see all my nieces and nephews. I have twelve in all, so I’ll be looking forward to swapping poop jokes and playing superhero with my nephews and maaaaybe playing dress up with my nieces. I’ll also be able to compare manly facial hair with my brothers in honor of No Shave November.

And I’m really hoping this stupid sinus infection that suddenly attacked me the other day clears up soon. I usually get a few sinus infections every year and it makes it so I can’t taste food for a week. But if it’s not cleared up before next Thursday, I may freak out. Because that’s the REAL reason we’re going, right? To eat the food!  (Just kidding, mom!) No, it will be just really good to see everyone and chill for a week.

But the real reason I’m writing this blog post is to talk about how we’re planning on keeping this mother as cheap as possible. You see, we were originally planning to fly out there, because after our move to Arkansas, I told my wife that I am never making that drive again. But unless we wanted to fly back in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving, just the return flight alone would be $800 for the both of us. Screw you, airlines! We also flew for our trip last month, so doing it twice in two months just isn’t going to happen.

So guess who’s excited to trek it out for 20 hours over 1,281 miles? This guy! (NOT!) But, the thought about how much money we’ll be saving still fills my heart with holiday gladness, and will definitely make it all worth it. The estimated costs will be as follows:

Gas: $250

I love me some 40 mpg! I can’t understand how people can drive that far in a truck or an SUV, but I guess if you have a ton of kids, the only other choice is to leave them behind. But I’m guessing Child Protective Services wouldn’t appreciate that. The actual cost estimate by MapQuest was less than this, but I added a little just to be safe. The only reason this will go up even more is if Wyoming and Colorado get snowed out and we have to end up driving down through New Mexico and Texas on the way home.

Hotels: $140

I used Priceline and Hotels.com to find the best rates on the way there and back. There were lower rates, but the last time we went for the lowest price, we were greeted with a filthy bathroom, pink pills of who knows what in the covers of our bed, and paper thin walls. No thanks. We’ve actually only booked the hotel there because of the weather issue, so if anyone knows of any other cheap options that are hepatitis-free, feel free to let us know!

Food: $75

We’re already trying to keep this down by packing a dinner for tonight and milk and cereal for the mornings (my wife will be spoon feeding me while I drive). We’ll also try to keep the other lunches and dinners on the road simple and healthy. Sitting in a car for hours full of greasy food is a horrible feeling.

Snacks: $25

I’ve found that the best way to save money on eating out on road trips is by stocking up on healthy snacks. They generally keep you full enough so that you can save time by not having to stop and you can also get something a little lighter when you do eventually stop because you aren’t starving.

Random: $150

This will be for when we’re actually in Utah. It includes a Thanksgiving morning 5k (which I will be walking), gas for possible trips down to Provo where some of our friends live, and going out with friends, as well as eating at my favorite restaurant ever, Café Rio. Sorry for all you people who don’t live in the Mountain West, you’re missing out!

Total: $640

Not bad considering the $800 we’d be spending just for the return flight. However, that doesn’t count the Christmas shopping my wife will be doing on Black Friday, which I will not be joining her on, because that’s already accounted for in our gift budget. You’ll get to read why I’m a Black Friday hater in a few days when a guest post I wrote for Club Thrifty is published. Oh the anticipation! Wish us luck!

What do you do to save on road trips? Does anyone actually enjoy going on road trips?

bt dubbles, here’s another shout-out to all you amazing people who are sharing my stuff. Luvs!

Lisa vs. the Loans’ Links Lisa Likes – 11/18/13
Aspiring Blogger’s Personal Finance Carnival #19
Money Principle’s Carnival of Financial Planning
Digital Personal Finance’s Carnival of Financial Camaraderie
Evolving Personal Finance’s Carnival of Money #6

(photo cred)



6 thoughts on “Utah Road Trip!

  1. Wow, I thought my 12 hour trip was bad =). I'm going down the coast to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately due to no vacation time, we'll be leaving Wednesday night and arriving the morning of. I am making coffee and a quick meal (sandwiches probably) before we leave, and stocking up on snacks for the ride. Even though it's only for three days, family time is worth it. Have a safe and fun trip!
    My recent post What To Think About When Relocating

    1. Yeah, 12 hours is cake 🙂 I actually don't have enough vacation time to do ours too but I planned it before I was sick a few times and used up all my PTO, so they were nice enough to let me go still. You have a safe trip too!

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