~Written by Kayla~
11 days, 12 states, countless beautiful sights.
I spent the first half of June driving from Boston to Colorado, with a destination of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, to see one of my favorite musicians: Tash Sultana [who opened for the lovely John Butler Trio]. Then, I booked it back to New York for Mountain Jam, a 4-day music festival in the Catskills of New York.
Call me crazy but, with two significant road trips under my belt prior to this one, I have never added up all the costs associated with said road trips! I have been asked multiple times how much I spent to go on them, but was never able to give an accurate dollar amount because I didn’t keep close tabs on my expenses. My previous road trips were very different than this recent trip to Colorado, as one was a 5-week solo adventure around the perimeter of the US (+ Canada and Mexico for a few days), and one was a week-long spring break trip from Portland, OR to San Diego, CA with a best friend of mine. Also worth noting, my these trips were focused on seeing major cities, national parks, and tourist attractions, in addition to trying regional foods and planning each day on the day before. During both trips, hotels, motels, and hostels were paid for often. A car was rented, as well as flights were taken to and from the west coast, for my spring break trip.
I have totaled up just about all of my expenses for my trip to Colorado as a reference to anyone curious about costs associated with road tripping (please allow some wiggle room for any missed expenses I may have forgot to write down along the way, I’m sure there’s a few).
This road trip had a mission of getting to and from Colorado with slight haste, seeing what the mid-US region was like, trying yummy vegan food wherever I could find it, and focusing on creating content for social media while organizing my melee of chaotic thoughts of plans for the future. I also spent nothing on accommodations, as I slept in my Kia Soul at rest stops or Walmart parking lots. I got a Planet Fitness black card membership so that I could stay active and shower at many different locations throughout the country. I upgraded my AT&T phone plan to include unlimited data and I also got an oil change before embarking.
Here is a complete list of the expenses:
- Gas: $468.79*
- Food and drinks: $332.45*
- Tolls: $49.50 (subject to change as some small electronic toll bills are still to be received by mail)
- AT&T upgrade: $15 (on top of what I already pay per month, which is $40)
- Planet Fitness membership fee: $32.74
- Oil change + multipoint inspection: $35
- Parking fees: $4
- Misc. purchases: $60
- Entrance fee to Pikes Peak in Colorado: $15
- Ticket to Tash Sultana and John Butler Trio: $67
Grand Total: $1,079.48!!
*pro tip: use a credit card that gives you cash back rewards on fuel and grocery purchases – mine gives me 1% back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas! I claimed those later, so I actually ended up spending less than stated above on gas and food.
So, there we have it! That’s what I spent on an eye-opening, soul-warming, mind-freeing adventure to Colorado. My first time in the state was nothing short of beautiful and liberating. I got to see dear friends of mine who moved there last year and I got to hear my favorite musician play her tunes in the most stunning venue I’ve ever been to. As a cherry on top, Mountain Jam was a crazy good end to my June travels. Over 15 of my friends gathered from all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, camping on a mountain for four sunny days, enjoying each other’s’ energy and an abundance of incredible music.
If you’re thinking about going on a road trip, solo or not, I encourage you to take the plunge and plan one out! It’s the kind of travel that makes you appreciate your home country and its beauty a lot more than you currently do, which is something many of us could really benefit from right now, right?!
Feel free to leave a reply with any questions you may have about traveling solo or road tripping and I will be sure to write more about these topics in the future.