|Posted on October 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM|
For my own quiet week of vacation, I am flying to San Francisco for $300 on the red eye. I considered staying in hotels and renting a car. Two star hotels run about $100 per night and a car rental is 250. That would be $1200. I wasn’t in love with this idea because it meant making a reservation and plan in general. I hoped to travel freely without an agenda. If I wanted to stay somewhere longer, I could without penalty. I also wanted to spend time in the redwoods and that meant staying in a national park. Using the maximum guide of $1200, I evaluated my other options.
I considered renting a campervan for rent out of San Francisco. Very hippy dippy. Had a bed and gas camper stove. I also looked into renting a small RV. A small RV for the week without bedding and utilities ran about $600. Campervan was$400. While the campervan had plates, stove and bedding – and the RV did not – I decided on the RV. I took the smallest one available at 19 feet. Why? It had a bathroom. Now I am completely mobile and still well under the $1200 budget even with airfare. Plus I get the luxury of traveling where I want when. I also rented a small enough RV that I can manage it on the narrow coastal roads. I couldn’t imagine renting a 30 footer for that narrow Redwood Coastal Highway!
I also like the idea of a microwave for my own food. A refrigerator for my own drinks. I can pack a sleeping bag in the corner of my suitcase. A plate, cup, knife, and fork don’t take much room. And I save the $150 rental fee.
In full disclosure, I did have to book a pay-for-suitcase-cheap flight. But the cost for a suitcase is only $20 each way. So for $40 I can pack exactly what I need instead of renting for $150.
I calculated all of my costs? Nope, I need to consider gas, tolls, food, and souvenirs as well. I understand gas will be expensive. An RV on the west coast? Of course it will be costly. And there isthe cost of campgrounds. In order tos have cost, I hope to use my national park handicapped pass for a discount or to stay overnight in Walmart type lots as needed. That should help. Souvenirs can be low key and memorable. Lots of pics via cell phone. Magnets and keychains for my daughterscollections. Most of all, junior ranger books for my son. Finally, keep within budget as a present for my husband.
I have been back for almost a week. I hope to a full accounting of expenses by next week. I know that I underestimated gasoline expense. I also underestimated campground costs. So we will see how I did at the end.