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21 Day trip cost breakdown
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August 30, 2016
2:28 pm
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BM007
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I was doing a rough cost breakdown for my recent trip and thought it might be useful to others in the planning stage.

We flew with British Airways from Heathrow to O’Hare. We stayed in the US for 21 days and did side trips to Las Vegas and finished in San Francisco.
We rented a Jeep Cherokee and paid in advance for the premium package so a tank of fuel was included and also an additional driver.
We had 3 hotels prepaid for but every thing else was booked on the day or day before using Hotels.com or 2 nights using Airbnb.
I dont have good numbers for food as we kinda just took it in turns paying.
These are rough figures from going through my credit card statement, so I may have missed some charges due to not recognising them.

These numbers are per person but there were two of us.

Flights: £1051.55
Car: £504.01
Car OWF: £213.75
Petrol: £84.62
Hotels: £773.91

Total: £ 2627.84

We didnt really have a budget but I was thinking around £3000 would be a nice amount to spend. We probably came in around that figure or maybe just above it what with food, cash, tolls etc.

August 30, 2016
7:04 pm
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daniel.kitchen
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This sounds identical to my upcoming trip and are looking at that exact figure.

We too are taking a side trip to Vegas and then up to San Francisco to take the Grand Sur down to L.A

Where we have spent more on the car (£1100), we have saved in flights (£450):

Manchester – New York

New York – Chicago

L.A – Manchester

We have pre-paid hotels in:

New York
Chicago
Las Vegas
San Francisco
L.A

From your expiernce, do you suggest paying for food, drink and motels on card and keep some cash for tips etc?

Any advice welcome.

Cheers,

Dan

August 30, 2016
8:15 pm
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wanted33
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BM007, what would that be in U.S. dollars?

Dan, ref. your question about money. Yes, that’s a good idea, and exactly what we do when we’re on the road. And a tip, You will not be able to use your credit card when paying for gas at the pump. Most all pump scanners ask for a zip code to verify the purchase. Being you won’t have a zip code you will have to go inside to pay. Have a great trip.

August 31, 2016
7:15 am
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BM007
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Dan

Wow those flights were cheap. I hope you have factored in the one way fee for the car. You will pay this when you pick you car up. Who are you renting from?

Not sure how long before you go but if you can, sign up for a Halifax Clarity Credit card. They have very good rates for using abroad and you can withdraw cash from ATMs for no fee, most cards charge about 3% per withdrawal, so on this one you just pay interest. Although the ATMs normally charge you ($2 -$6 in Vegas)

As I was advised (by wanted33) in other threads, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and sometimes you can even pay your tip on the card. They give you the bill, you write your tip on it, hand it back to them, they give you another bill which you sign and some places you will leave the tip on the table. Its actually a little bit confusing and took us a while to work it out. Small cafes or souvenir shops might be cash only, its not that different from here in the UK.

So we mostly used credit cards but we took cash which we bought in the UK so it made sense to use that up because we had already paid for it.

If you are booking hotels as you go check out Airbnb. We didnt use it until the end on our trip and stayed in 2 really nice places at very reasonable prices and were much nicer than the general motels we were staying in up till then.

As wanted33 said, all the gas stations we used were ‘pump your own gas’, ‘pay at the pump’ stations but I think every time I had to go in first and prepay, either because my card wasnt accepted or a zip code was required. In this case you just go in and ask to prepay and tell them how much you want. $30 was normally enough for us, for a day, but gas gets more expensive the further you go West. If you dont use what you paid for, the remaining will get refunded back to your card.

I hope that helps, if you have any more questions please ask.

wanted33 £2627 works out to around $2000

August 31, 2016
7:15 am
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Bonnie and Clyde
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We have a 21-dat trip starting next Wednesday in Chicago and the cost breakdown has interested me. I’ve not a complete inventory of stuff but roughly the flights (Newcastle to Chicago….the Lax back to Newcastle) plus the hire care is circa £2000. I booked the flights back in December 2015.

We’ve booked some hotels in bigger places: Chicago, Death Valley, LA. which is 6 pre paid nights in total and the rest will be winging it on the road.

I do know that gas now is $2 per gallon so fuel should be cheap enough (compared to the UK that is)

We’ve set aside £6k for everything else, but are expecting NOT to spend it all – best laid plans and all that. There are 2 of us by the way.

We’ll wave if we see you en route then folks.

August 31, 2016
7:25 am
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BM007
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Bonnie and Clyde said

I do know that gas now is $2 per gallon so fuel should be cheap enough (compared to the UK that is)

 

It really varies, we found places in Illinois and Missouri where it was as low as $1.68 but then the last gas station before Yosemite it was over $4 and generally over $2, either way completely filling the tank for under $60 is a nice feeling.
You can search for gas stations with google maps (if you have signal) and sometimes it will say the prices.

August 31, 2016
9:15 pm
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wanted33
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BM007 said

wanted33 £2627 works out to around $2000  

We are usually in the 2K range on our trips also.

Bonnie & Clyde, gas prices have fluctuated recently because of some storms off the Gulf of Mexico where many off shore oil rigs are located.. However, they are still much cheaper than last year at + – $2.10 per US gallon. Gas taxes are different in every state with California taxes being the highest. Hope to see you along the way.

August 31, 2016
11:43 pm
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thepengy
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Gas buddy App (Free) or website was a great help on our trip to plan our fill up’s

June 15th to July 13th 2016
Did the whole thing, Chicago to Santa Monica

September 1, 2016
6:13 am
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daniel.kitchen
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BM007 said
Dan

Wow those flights were cheap. I hope you have factored in the one way fee for the car. You will pay this when you pick you car up. Who are you renting from?

Not sure how long before you go but if you can, sign up for a Halifax Clarity Credit card. They have very good rates for using abroad and you can withdraw cash from ATMs for no fee, most cards charge about 3% per withdrawal, so on this one you just pay interest. Although the ATMs normally charge you ($2 -$6 in Vegas)

As I was advised (by wanted33) in other threads, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and sometimes you can even pay your tip on the card. They give you the bill, you write your tip on it, hand it back to them, they give you another bill which you sign and some places you will leave the tip on the table. Its actually a little bit confusing and took us a while to work it out. Small cafes or souvenir shops might be cash only, its not that different from here in the UK.

So we mostly used credit cards but we took cash which we bought in the UK so it made sense to use that up because we had already paid for it.

If you are booking hotels as you go check out Airbnb. We didnt use it until the end on our trip and stayed in 2 really nice places at very reasonable prices and were much nicer than the general motels we were staying in up till then.

As wanted33 said, all the gas stations we used were ‘pump your own gas’, ‘pay at the pump’ stations but I think every time I had to go in first and prepay, either because my card wasnt accepted or a zip code was required. In this case you just go in and ask to prepay and tell them how much you want. $30 was normally enough for us, for a day, but gas gets more expensive the further you go West. If you dont use what you paid for, the remaining will get refunded back to your card.

I hope that helps, if you have any more questions please ask.

wanted33 £2627 works out to around $2000  

Yeah we did good with the flights, we fly out to New York on Monday morning (5th).

I plan to use my current credit card with Barclays. I didn’t consider getting another one to be honest, I don’t even know what their rates are etc but it’s too late in the day now…my main concern at the minute is if I have boxers and socks!

We have a $500 one way fee to pay like you mention. The supplier is National although we booked it via a third party called “usrentacar” they seemed to have the best deals for what we require, which is:

3 Drivers
Young Driver Frees Included (age 23)
Insurance and all that good stuff

No satnav but I’ve stuffed my iPad with offline maps etc

In regards to Airbnb, we have actually used this for LA

So this pre pay for fuel…is that card you top up or something? And anything you don’t pay gets refunded back to the card that was used to pay for the top up?

September 1, 2016
11:26 pm
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thepengy
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daniel.kitchen said

Yeah we did good with the flights, we fly out to New York on Monday morning (5th).

I plan to use my current credit card with Barclays. I didn’t consider getting another one to be honest, I don’t even know what their rates are etc but it’s too late in the day now…my main concern at the minute is if I have boxers and socks!

We have a $500 one way fee to pay like you mention. The supplier is National although we booked it via a third party called “usrentacar” they seemed to have the best deals for what we require, which is:

3 Drivers
Young Driver Frees Included (age 23)
Insurance and all that good stuff

No satnav but I’ve stuffed my iPad with offline maps etc

In regards to Airbnb, we have actually used this for LA

So this pre pay for fuel…is that card you top up or something? And anything you don’t pay gets refunded back to the card that was used to pay for the top up?  

Yes, if you put $30 on and only fill $26 you only get $26 charged to your account, I was skeptical, but it worked.

June 15th to July 13th 2016
Did the whole thing, Chicago to Santa Monica

September 3, 2016
11:52 am
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ianc
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BM007 said
Car OWF: £213.75
 

Hi,
New to the forum and in the process of planning a Rt 66 trip for next month, Chicago to LA. I’m from the UK as well so can I ask who you got your car hire with? I cannot find anyone charging a Car OWF for less than $500 plus tax (i.e. $537.5 in CA) which at current exchange rates will be approx £410. Your OWF was a really great deal…

September 3, 2016
7:17 pm
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BM007
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That figure was for each of us.

We rented with Drive-USA.de which although are a German company allow users from UK. The rental agency was National who I think change a flat fee of $399 plus tax. I think I read somewhere a claim that they charge the lowest fee.

The one way fee is really confusing as the fee varies wildly even within the agent when getting quotes and I think it is because sometimes it is inclusive of tax and sometimes not.

Both of these companies were good and we had no issues.

September 3, 2016
11:44 pm
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Bonnie and Clyde
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Alamo are the one we went with and it works out roughly £300 for the OWF. We’re going from Chicago to LA next Wednesday 7th Spetember. Safe journey and enjoy. Got ours through rentalcars.com

You’ve probably got sorted by now but worth contacting.

September 25, 2016
4:46 pm
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George Melly
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I read the comments above with interest.
Now, how about travel insurance for oldies (late 70s) in the US?
I’d heard that if you’re over 70 it’s hard to get car insurance, let alone medical insurance.
Comments on both of the above appreciated.
GM

February 3, 2018
11:13 am
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pjtbutchers
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Hi,
Been reading through this thread which is very interesting (we are doing our trip August this year).
Everything booked apart from the car hire which seems to be a mindfield.

initially some of the sites have some great deals then you find out all the extras you have to pay when picking up the car. The one question is what is the advice for the Road Tolls, especially the ‘cashless ones’? We are not expecting to use any tolls apart from maybe around LA. The hire of the unit seems expensive (we are going for 21 days).

Thanks in advance for your comments.

February 27, 2018
9:43 pm
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frank.mo586
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We booked a midsize vehicle through Autoslash.com from LAX to Detroit Metro Airport in September 2017 for $1063.00 USD, unlimited miles for 21 days.
The rental company was Hertz and they up graded us to a SUV no charge when they heard we were driving Route 66.
Never prepay the fuel always fill up just before you return the vehicle. I do not recall any toll roads Santa Monica to Chicago.
If you rent out of California there is no charge for an extra driver. We did not purchase extra auto insurance since the policy I have for my personal vehicle would have covered any issues on the mother road.

October 6, 2018
3:34 pm
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frank
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There are no tolls anywhere on Route 66. In two places, however, the nearby Interstate highway has tolls. These include O’Hare Airport in Chicago and the stretch through eastern Oklahoma.
You can get from O’Hare to downtown without a toll–by taking I-190 then I-90 East. Route 66 in Oklahoma is one of the highlights, so you shouldn’t consider the Interstates.
In both these cases (and in fact EVERYWHERE in the US) you do not need to get a toll tag etc. for a single trip. Attendants or a machine will take payment.

October 23, 2018
4:47 pm
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ben363
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My mother made that trip. It cost around $3000, not that cheap trip, but it’s worth that. I was impressed, she doesn’t like all of those kind of stuff. I have to write about my mother, she is a hero for me 🙂 She booked a vehicle in Chicago, but it broke on the half of way, she had to take another car. Shortly speeking that trip had a lot of “surprises”.

January 15, 2019
2:32 am
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Light Ray
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Have you considered taking the Amtrak train as an option for travel. I’ve heard some folks say it’s a cheap and cool option. You can select various dates and stay longer in places you really want to explore. In my opinion. Chicago, Santa Fe, Arizona and California are the best places to visit. There are a lot of historic rt 66 shops and motels along the way. In AZ there is actually a Caboose train motel from the 40’s right off the 64 fwy to Grand Canyon that you can sleep in. There is also an AWESOME espresso boutique in Seligman- you can’t miss it. When you drive through, it’s the only huge bright blue building in town. Rt 66 pretty much ends at the Santa Monica Pier- which is worth a visit. Oysters on the half shell are BOMB at the restaurant at the very end of the pier. Disney, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills. Rt 66 is great, but you could literally drive it in under a week. Better to add some fun things (VEGAS, baby) – you know what I mean? There’s only so much……. Oh, look, another cow….another tree…..another gas station… a person can pretend is cool before they wished they would have planned better.
As far as cost/
motels 65-100 pr night
gas/ 35 pr day (prices are at 3.50+ right now)
food LOTS of grocery stores have tables to sit and eat. Great deli options. CHEAP alternative to restaurants
Tours/ honestly- skip the formal $99 blah blah tours and just go! The Grand Canyon is free during the Gov shut down right now!
***for a bit of added fun, plan your trips around when car clubs are doing their rt 66 annual runs and rent whatever car the event is around/ ie… Camero/ Corvettes…can’t think of the names of the other ones.
Light Ray

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