Day 1637 – The Cheap Way (Under $500) To Drive Across The Country (Maryland To California)

A few days before Christmas, we drove out to California to visit Bret’s family. We’ve done this a few times and I think this year was the cheapest so far.

Here are a few tips we learned this year.

  1. Get a rewards credit card to use while you travel AND to build up points before you leave. We use the Capital One Venture card, the lower point one that gives you 1.25 points per dollar spent. We accumulated points to get a $100 ExxonMobile gift card.
  2. Take a fuel efficient car. We drove a Honda Civic. It gets about 30-35 miles per gallon.
  3. Take refillable coffee mugs, at least 2. You can get cheap coffee refills and you can also get hot water for free. You can use the hot water for tea and cup of noodles.
  4. Purchase food and drinks in a grocery store. It’s good to know what you normally get on the road. We purchased energy drinks, sodas and bottled water. For food we got bread and stuff for sandwiches, cup of noodles, sunflower seeds and crackers. We put the drinks and lunch meat in a cooler on the front seat. Then you have easy access to everything when you’re driving.
  5. In the back seat, set up a bed. It’s good to put some bags in the foot room spaces to make the seat a little wider. Backpacks are best in our car. One person sleeps while the other drives.
  6. We only stopped at a hotel once.

Here’s the numbers breakdown:
Gas – $267.68
Mileage – 2,896
Food – $145.76 (note: Some of the food we bought at the grocery store will last us through the return trip home. So I’d say one way would be about $110.00. We also splurged on a sit down dinner when we checked in to the hotel and that was about $40.)
Hotel – $57.98
Total cost to drive from Northern Central Maryland to Central California – $471.42
If we didn’t stop at a hotel and took out a few food splurges our total would have been – $322.78

What have you found that helps to make the trip more inexpensive?

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About 365 days of marriage

I started this blog in April of 2011. At the time, Bret and I were wedding photographers and it was a way to share how marriage is more about the day to day and so much more than the wedding day itself. For about 5 years, I blogged about the joys and sorrows of the Christian walk, marriage, work, family and friends. I’ve blogged every day since a few weeks after I started. In May of 2015, we photographed our last wedding. Now, I have become passionate about simplicity, particularly in marriage, Christianity, business, travel and life. For a number of reasons, we have become minimalists. I’ve found that having simplicity makes life so much deeper, refreshing and joyful. I hope that this blog will help others see the benefits of living simply.

3 thoughts on “Day 1637 – The Cheap Way (Under $500) To Drive Across The Country (Maryland To California)

  1. Pingback: Day 2472 – Cross Country Travel Advice Updated | 365daysofmarriage

  2. Pingback: Day 2769 – You Can Take A Cross Country Trip, No Matter Your Budget – or – Making Progress On My Road Trip Book! | 365daysofmarriage

  3. Pingback: Day 2784- Why You Can’t Afford To Travel | 365daysofmarriage

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