Monday, August 27, 2012

So how much does it cost to drive your house around for a year?

We've been back in Austin for about a month. It's been very nice to have all the comforts of a modern house (A/C, laundry facilities, big fridge, shower, a real bed, small car, dishwasher, etc *thanks Barbara!*), but we are very proud of ourselves for living in a van for a year. And that's a "proud" as in "wow, I can't believe we did that!" 

As you know, we set out with a pretty strict budget. Our goal was $75/day for 365 days = $27,375.
The final tally turned out to be......

Days on the Road, (including time spent in Austin between legs of the trip): 396
Average Amount Spent per Day: $68.77
*Keep in mind, a lot of days we spent nothing, others we spent hundreds if we needed gas, food, lodging, etc.*

= $27,232.92 spent total
$142.08 under budget and we traveled (or at least didn't earn money) for an extra 31 days!

Miles Driven: 29,614
U.S. States Visited: 42
Canadian Provinces Visited: 7
Percentage of Days We Actually Camped: 40%
Number of Times We Stayed in a Hotel: 23

It worked out to less than a dollar per mile, but most of that is because we stayed with so many people throughout the year and had cheap housing when in Austin (thanks Ryders!). We had more than half of our allotted camping budget left over, due to the extreme hospitality of our hosts. Thanks to all our family and friends (old and new)!  We spent the money we saved from not camping on groceries and gas, going over budget in each of those categories by 9% and 18%, respectively.  Fuel really got us, it was expensive all over, especially Canada.  But, since we still came in under budget overall, I think we could've met our $75/day goal even if we had camped every night. We would've just cut back somewhere else, namely, wine...

So really, anybody can do a trip like this. We proved you can do it with very little money and if you stop and work along the way it could last as long as you want.  It's only as physically difficult as you want it to be. It's more about your state of mind and being willing to not have those comforts of modernity. So sometimes you have to take a cold shower because there's no hot water. Or maybe you're warmer than you like to be. Or colder. Or your bed is a little hard. Or your diet gets kinda boring. Or there's no wi-fi or phone signal. But the payback is experiencing stuff like this:

 And that was just the first 5 months of the trip!


  1. Too awesome. That made me a little emotional. sniff!

  2. Nice job Roses, I'm ready to quit my job now... seriously though a great wrap up to a great adventure.

  3. We met you at the laundry in Grand Tetons. Nice job tracking these details...thanks for sharing and inspiring! :)