Author Topic: How much to save to do the TA  (Read 11397 times)

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Offline inzpired

How much to save to do the TA
« on: March 02, 2009, 02:11:11 pm »
Hey everyone, I am coming from NZ to cycle the TA, and am keen to get an idea of how much I will need to save to ensure I dont run out of money!

I will be camping the majority of the time, and have my cooker with me, trying to do it on the cheap. Thinking 3 months shuould be enough to cross.

Any rough ideas? Thanks in advance!
Scott

Offline dunedigger

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 02:41:33 pm »
When I go I'm planning on having at least $1-3k in savings. For emergencies. But it really depends on how much you eat and stuff. I've never done it before, but it seems like you should have at least that much in case you get hurt and need to get back home fast. Last min AmTrak tickets are real expensive, I'm guessing plane tickets are the same.

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2009, 07:02:18 pm »
$3000 should get you through the country pretty comfortably, which is a little more than $30/day.  There will be some nights in there were you will be camping for free, so you're biggest budget item will be food and beverage.  My advice is to ration it out pretty carefully throughout the early stages, and when you're nearing the end, you can start to splurge on whatever you have leftover.

Offline staehpj1

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2009, 07:13:24 pm »
Hey everyone, I am coming from NZ to cycle the TA, and am keen to get an idea of how much I will need to save to ensure I dont run out of money!

I will be camping the majority of the time, and have my cooker with me, trying to do it on the cheap. Thinking 3 months shuould be enough to cross.

Any rough ideas? Thanks in advance!
Scott
It is really variable depending on your choices.  It is best to have plenty available and just spend what you want/need to.  $2k or so very do-able.  $1k is possible, but you have to watch your pennies.  That said some folks might spend $5k.  I prefer to keep it down to $2k, but like to have a good cushion so I don't have to watch too closely.  Having 1.5-2 times what you expect to spend keeps it laid back.

It was pretty easy to stay for free better than half the time without stealth camping.

Some of the little things tend to add up.  Snacks, energy drinks, sunscreen, and other small items add up.  Food can vary a lot depending on your choices, but it is nice to eat well.  Still if you watch yourself you can keep costs down.

Three months is plenty unless you really want to take your time.  Again it is better to not have a deadline.  We allowed 12 weeks but took 73 days.

Offline valygrl

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2009, 11:55:46 pm »
I think saying you could do it easily on $2000 is a little unrealistic.  You have to be really committed to being cheap to do that.  Not saying you can't, but you're not going to be showering very much, not eating in restaurants at all, not drinking any alcohol, not staying in a hotel even if the weather is really horrible or you're sick, etc.

Note that if you are solo it is more expensive per person, because you can't split the cost of lodging (camp sites & hotels).  Also, food can be a bit more expensive solo, because it's pretty hard to cook a healthy varied meal for yourself and not end up with leftovers that you can't use - so you end up either cooking really boring stuff with only a few ingredients, carrying leftover items which may spoil before you eat them, or eating out a bit more.

3 months is probably a little more than most people take. 

Offline John Nettles

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Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2009, 11:30:35 am »
Could you give more info on your touring and eating style, i.e commercial campgrounds (shower every night) to stealth camping; rice and beans to steak every night; cook lunch and dinner but breakfast in café; only drink water or you drink $4 coffee/beer twice a day; etc.

If you give a more specific question, i.e. how much does a beer, commercial campground cost, pound of ground beef, bread, etc. cost, that might be easily answered also so we can assist you more accurately.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 11:47:03 am by TulsaJohn »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 11:43:52 am »
If you camp, buy food in grocery stores, cook your own food, and are careful how you spend, you could do it for thirty dollars a day. Motels can raise the ante, but they are worth it occasionally. Somebody said about $3000.00 American. Sounds about right. The fact is, within certain limits, it can cost about as much or as little as you are willing and able to spend.

Offline staehpj1

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 12:39:06 pm »
I think saying you could do it easily on $2000 is a little unrealistic.  You have to be really committed to being cheap to do that.  Not saying you can't, but you're not going to be showering very much, not eating in restaurants at all, not drinking any alcohol, not staying in a hotel even if the weather is really horrible or you're sick, etc.

Note that if you are solo it is more expensive per person, because you can't split the cost of lodging (camp sites & hotels).  Also, food can be a bit more expensive solo, because it's pretty hard to cook a healthy varied meal for yourself and not end up with leftovers that you can't use - so you end up either cooking really boring stuff with only a few ingredients, carrying leftover items which may spoil before you eat them, or eating out a bit more.

3 months is probably a little more than most people take. 

Everyone is different.  $2000 is about what I spent and it was probably a bit less.  I am naturally frugal, but did not feel like I pinched pennies much on that trip.  I think I only drank alcohol twice on the trip (a beer with a meal).  No I didn't stay in motels much (one night we paid and one night a friend put us up), but I did eat in restaurants a good bit (usually second breakfast or lunch).  There were three of us sharing expenses and sometimes we saved by splitting expenses, but more than half of the time we stayed for free.  In addition when we did pay a good portion of the time it was priced per person.  So we saved a little by being in a group of three, but I don't think it was all that much.

Additionally there were places we could have cut costs further.  The $2000 included things like shopping at the Patagonia outlet and having stuff sent home, buying some clothing and gear along the way, stopping in tourist traps like the "Sea Lion Cave", a night in a cabin, a night in a tee pee, several stops at expensive KOA style campgrounds, and a day of whitewater rafting.

On the other hand we probably got more invites to stay with folks than I would have gotten if I was alone.  People assumed we were a father and two daughters and I think that made us very approachable.

All that said it is a good idea to allow plenty of extra, just in case.  I had allowed $5000, but still had $2500 in the account at the end.  Bear in mind that airfare, a car rental, a night's motel stay before we started the tour, and a day of sightseeing in Newport before the trip all came out of the $5000 in addition to all daily spending during the tour.

Bottom line...  For me I could see doing the trip for as little as $1500 without being a complete cheapskate or as much as $3000 depending on what the trip was like.  If I went at a good clip, didn't do a lot of tourist stuff, and pinched my pennies I think my daily expenses (not counting airfare etc.) could be as little as $1500.  If I took my time and did more tourist stuff I can imagine it being as much as $3000.

I agree that 3 months is at the longer end of the range and that it would mean higher trip cost because of more meals and campsite fees.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 12:44:34 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Tourista829

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2009, 01:05:16 pm »
Since this may be a once in a life time trip and not knowing a number of variables, and it being your first TA, I would save up 5k U.S. If you are frugal, on your own, willing to camp/stealth you can do it for a lot less. Having the reserve gives you so many more options. The other things I worry about are, if you have a big maintenance issue and if God forbid, you get sick or hurt, to cover medical expenses and transportation back to your departure point to New Zealand. If possible, see if your health insurance would be honored, in America, and if not, see if you could get a supplemental policy, to cover you for 90 days. There are those who might think I am ridiculous but I lean towards the side of preparation so that you can really have a great trip. Come on over, you will love it! I would be curious, what it would cost to tour New Zealand? Appreciate any thoughts and places to visit. Thanks Bob

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2009, 08:37:36 am »
I am working now. One of these days I believe I will again be free to take a long tour on my touring bike. Right now it looks like a toss up between the pacific coast bike route and the TA. People have said many good things about the TA . I consider it an excellent possibility. I have already done the PCBR. If I do the TA I will probably begin in the east. I went over Donna Ikenberry's book on the TA. I saw that many small towns had municipal parks where camping was cheap or free; they also had showers and municipal pools which would be a godsend in summer. There seemed to be many opportunities for stealth camping too. It is a long route, and a tough one in some places, but what to heck; if one cannot take some hardships in life, he/she shouldn't be out there doing that in the first place. If the route can be covered for $1500.00---$2000.00 that is pretty good, though I would expect to pay more than that, but not necessarily. I would be frugal, but not to the point of being stingy and a scrooge with myself. I definitely like to hit Starbucks, have a beer at night, eat in restaurants, and stay in an occasional motel. I will just have to wait and see.

Offline leicrao1

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2009, 02:49:40 pm »
I am doing LA to NY with my wife's brother in the summer of 2010 and am working on about £3000 (currently about $4000). However, this is to include the cost of flying from the UK to one US destination and then back to the UK from a different airport. In addition, we have yet to look carefully at the pros and cons of bringing our bikes with us and paying the baggage charges, buying two sets of bike carriers etc., or buying a new bike in Santa Monica and arranging a buyer willing to snap up a bargain in Battery Park! Then there is a long list of other things to think about including cell phones, insurances, consummables, camel backs etc.

We will be taking 28-30 days to complete the trip, and are planning for $75-$100 dollars per day to cover food and cheap motels. Emergencies will go on the credit card.

Richard

Offline RussSeaton

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2009, 04:33:34 pm »
I am doing LA to NY with my wife's brother in the summer of 2010 and am working on about £3000 (currently about $4000). However, this is to include the cost of flying from the UK to one US destination and then back to the UK from a different airport. In addition, we have yet to look carefully at the pros and cons of bringing our bikes with us and paying the baggage charges, buying two sets of bike carriers etc., or buying a new bike in Santa Monica and arranging a buyer willing to snap up a bargain in Battery Park! Then there is a long list of other things to think about including cell phones, insurances, consummables, camel backs etc.

We will be taking 28-30 days to complete the trip, and are planning for $75-$100 dollars per day to cover food and cheap motels. Emergencies will go on the credit card.

Richard

28-30 days?  Most direct route is 2800 miles between LA and NY.  100 miles a day every day.  Doable.  But less direct routes a bicycle needs would be even more mileage per day.  Maybe not doable with any kind of pleasure.  If you motel every day, which is possible, figure minimum of $50 per night.  Minimum.  More likely figure on $60 per night average.  Your $75-100 per day for lodging and food is about right.  Maybe closer to the $100.  Bring your own bike and take it home with you.  $200 airline cost.  Can't imagine a more miserable way to begin a cross country trip than on an unknown bike.  Thats even assuming you could find a suitable bike in your starting town without days and days of searching.

Offline leicrao1

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2009, 03:49:36 pm »
Thanks for the advice Russ.

100 miles a day is what we are aiming for. For work and family reasons, we can only devote about four weeks to it so that's an incentive to get on with it. We can average a comportable 15mph on middle-distance rides. Given the extra stuff (esp water in early stages) we will have to carry, I think an minimum average of 12mph is easily within our range. Possibly higher. Actual time in the saddle 8-9 hours a day and, other things being equal, we'll do 100-120. We just need to avoid major incidents such as illness, injury, major malfunction and having our bikes stolen, as these could throw our times out quite severely.

It wouldn't be a problem doing some road testing of particular bikes, gearsets etc in the UK and then order the required stuff well in advance. There seem to be plenty of decent bike shops within 5 miles of the place where we are starting. Also, I have read of cyclists being charged $200 each way to fly with their bikes, and then there is the time and money to buy two cases to pack the bike in. However, I am leaning towards taking my own bike. We have no serious hills in my area, and I have a gear-set that is more suited to flat/rolling terrain and not serious climbs. So I will need to get that sorted out.

Thanks once again.

Richard

Offline valygrl

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2009, 05:32:03 pm »
.....and then there is the time and money to buy two cases to pack the bike in....


Pack in a cardboard box, carefully, it will be fine.  Seriously.

Offline rabbitoh

Re: How much to save to do the TA
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2009, 12:56:43 am »
Hey everyone, I am coming from NZ to cycle the TA, and am keen to get an idea of how much I will need to save to ensure I dont run out of money!

I will be camping the majority of the time, and have my cooker with me, trying to do it on the cheap. Thinking 3 months shuould be enough to cross.

Any rough ideas? Thanks in advance!
Scott

G'day Scott, from across the ditch.

Mate, one thing you should check on with the US Consulate, before you go, is how much you will be expected to have when you pass through US immigration. When I did my crossing (admittedly quite some time ago now) I was specifically asked how much cash I had to last me the 3-4 months I was planning to be in the USA.

Enjoy the ride!




Good Cycling
Dennis