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Old 11-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #1
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Seattle , Washington
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Wink Daily Budget? Can I make it on $45 per day?

Hi! I actually have a conversion van, not "self-contained"....but I thought I would join this forum for a bit anyway! After all, I lived in "Silver Slug" at the end of college in 1966!

My question is....can I travel on $45 per day, all expenses included?
I would have to boondock a lot, dry camp at Truck Stops, pay for showers there.

My mileage is about 13-15 miles per gallon, and those gallons are $4 each!!
Thus I would have to limit the miles I go per day.

Food can be simple, or I can find a cheap hook-up, or use my propane stove.

I dream of going back to the SW, or perhaps the the North side of the Grand Canyon, and then to explore Utah's amazing Stone Canyons.

Any comments?

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Old 11-05-2012, 12:10 PM   #2
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I suppose you can get by if you limit your actual road time. Using your figures just traveling 100 miles a day would eat up over half your budget. Everything else would depend on how frugal you can be. Don't forget to facture in things such as entrance and parking fees, insurance and maintenance cost of your van. Many people get by on a lot less per day, but everyone is different and require different comfort levels.

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Old 11-05-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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Nothings impossible. You might have to limit miles travled. On a lighter note, we have an abundance of squirrels this winter. Not bad and easy to prepare. In a previous life I made it on a whole lot less than $45. Good luck. Sal
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Not on $4.00 gas. Unless you plan to travel about 25 miles a day. I would think a 50% to 100% increase in your budget would be required. What happens if you break down or have a flat tire and need to replace it. Do you go without eating for 4 days to pay for a tire?
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:23 PM   #5
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maybe another way to look at it. It is about 3000 miles round trip from Seattle to the area of the Grand Canyon. I would think the cheapest way to do the trip would be to drive to the area destination doing as many miles per day or per stop as is possible. Each night you stop just adds to the cost. Then you get in the area you will find forest service campgrounds, etc. at fairly low rates. So I would look at it as 4000 miles or so at 15 mpg. So I would look at it as about $1600 in gas plus whatever it takes to keep you going. $5-15 a night for forest service campgrounds plus what you eat. probably can eat for 20 a day out and a little cheaper if you cook. plus some propane. out of the $1600 there is enough budged for 1000 miles moving from campground to campground and sight seeing. I think a better estimate would be $40-45 a day for however long you are gone plus gas.

When my wife and I travel to get somewhere on main highways we probably average about $100 for a 350 mile day but we tend to stay at commercial campgrounds that are close to the road and easy to find. No free overnights. Days that are a little cheaper if we eat in all 3 meals. Days that are a little more if we see a nice lunch stop or dinner place close to the campground or go another 100 miles or so.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:39 PM   #6
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I think you could do it.

We have been full-timing for about 6 months. Moving every 2-3 days. Lately its been averaging ~$16 a day on gas and ~$20-25 a night for campgrounds. We have been staying mostly at public campgrounds with good fees and amenities, but you could easily drop that a bit. Especially in a van where it would not be as obvious you are spending the night. Check out To simplify... This guy never pays for parking.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Like others have said, it all depends on your level of comfort. I will add to that your ability to be frugal, to solve problems and your motivation. It would be easier to live on twice that amount (obviously). But it would not be as much of a challenge. It would also be easier to live on $45/day (if that is how much you have) then come up with another $45/day, to make it easier to live on $90/day. I did not say that very well, but I hope you understand what I am saying.

This would not include major outlays that may be necessary to repair your van or medical costs.

I believe that I could do it with my 66 Airstream and my 2008 Tundra. I would boondock 90% of the time. The $45/day amount would limit my daily travel. Talk is cheap though. Someday, I hope to find out.

This would make an interesting blog if you decide to do it.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:57 PM   #8
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Do your homework and plan ahead. This past summer we found Corps of Eng. campgrounds for $8 and even one for $2. That's with the Nat. Park access pass ( if your eligible). It's a great benefit. On the other hand we also paid $33 for some private campgrounds. Keep in mind Walmart as an occasional option. Out west there are a lot of Nat. Forests that will allow dispersed camping for free. Stay in a campground and it will cost $, but reasonable.

Would make for an interesting adventure. Keep a daily log to monitor your progress. Travel and gas are probably your biggest limitation.

Good Luck.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:35 AM   #9
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Dispersed forest camping has gotten a little more complicated.The new plan requires the area to be marked ok for camping.Each individual Forest has been required to devise their own.A stop at the forest headquarters will get you a copy of where their dispersed camping is allowed
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the update Bob. I guess all good things come to an end sometime. I hope it won't be to drastic a change.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:46 AM   #11
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Check out RVSue ( She's a fulltimer and lists all her expenses. She's getting by on much less and yes, she does travel during the warmer months.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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You could always do some Camp Working, usually you get paid a small amt and camp for free. That would be a dream for me.

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