Lisa and Bryan moved in together and documented the experience. Now they are going on a trip. Let’s see how that works out.
Lisa: Hi there!
Bryan: Do you want to talk about trip planning?
Lisa: Do I?! (Yes.) So I was invited to a friend’s wedding out in Omaha over Labor Day weekend and we’ve decided to make a whole road tip out of it. We’re taking a week to get there and a week to get back.
Bryan: You had so much time off saved up at work and I have a freelance job so we really lucked out.
Lisa: We’ve plotted out a pretty solid route—hitting some Utah National Parks, Mt. Rushmore, seeing friends in Colorado and exploring some of the sillier roadside attractions in the middle of the country (like your fave, The Corn Palace).
We’ve been saving separately for years—even before we knew each other. Just throwing change and singles into mason jars and sock drawers.
Bryan: We’ve both got about $1,500, so we have $3,000 for the trip.
Lisa: I made a very detailed grid for the trip listing each day, what we’re doing, how many miles we’re driving, where we can stay and what there is to do. It also includes cost estimates, which amounted to a lot more than I expected.
Bryan: Yes! Way more. Turns out driving half way across the country is expensive.
Lisa: I thought hotels would cost a lot less in the middle of the country—and in some places they do ($89/night in Omaha, for example), but they get you by the balls outside those national parks.
Bryan: Seriously! Those Best Westerns around Bryce are over $200/night.
Lisa: And I know what the BF commenters are going to say—we should camp. So this would be a good time to remind them that I’m a Jewish girl from NJ and grew up thinking that “roughing it” was staying at a Holiday Inn.
Bryan: Hahaha. We’ll save the camping for camping trips.
Lisa: Bam. So the plan is to cut food expenses a little by getting that plug in cooler from your parents and bring food so we’re not always reliant on restaurants.
Bryan: Yeah. It will also help with the drive so we don’t have to stop as much. And we are staying with a friend of yours for a couple nights.
Lisa: True that. But even if we estimate $125/night for the 14 nights we’re staying in hotels, that’s $1,625. And if we assume $50/day for each of us for food, that’s a solid $1,600 right there.
Bryan: We might have to up the food budget. Did you see all the weird meat there is to eat in South Dakota?
Lisa: Yeah, but now we’re at $3,125 and that doesn’t include fuel or fun. And we REQUIRE fun.
Bryan: It all adds up quick. We should take a closer look at stuff tonight. I think we can cut some costs.
Lisa: Like where?
Bryan: Well, we can sleep in the car one night. Open the moon roof. Make it romantic.
Lisa: Where would the luggage go?
Bryan: Luggage in the front, us in the back. We can practice at home.
Lisa: Haha. Sounds like a plan. My other concern is how to split stuff. We both have these buckets of singles.
Bryan: Well… I did bring up opening a checking account…
Bryan: You’ll commit to 16 days in a car together but not to sharing a debit card for one trip?
Bryan: Well, we can keep our own money and just keep track of everything we spend. But keeping track takes the fun out of a trip real fast.
Lisa: What about Visa check cards? Maybe a chunk of money on a few of those for hotels and meals, and some cash in our pockets.
Bryan: That’s a good idea. Or maybe… TRAVELERS CHECKS???
Lisa: Ugh. You love your travelers checks. They remind you of being in the ’80s When you still had to type “www” before a web address. Except you still do that.
Bryan: I like to reminisce about my youth.
Lisa: We can put $2,000 on a few check cards and hold $500 cash each. And then we’d pay for fun stuff with our own money. Like I’d pay for the ball game in Denver.
Bryan: And I’ll pay for the planetarium in Salt Lake City.
Lisa: I think the planetarium is free.
Lisa: You can get the moonlit cruise down the Colorado river in Moab.
Bryan: Does gas come out of the visa card money?
Lisa: Yeah. Eek. Ok… so we’re driving about 3,800 miles. Assume $50/400 miles… that’s $500. Less than two plane tickets to Omaha.
Bryan: YES!!! Saving money already!
Lisa: I don’t think you understand how this works…
Bryan: Honestly, I think we budgeted high on food. We’re going to be ok.
Lisa: Alright, but I eat a lot when I’m bored and I think six hours in a car is going to get boring. I mean, we’ve already told each other all of our stories. It will just be hours of, “Did I ever tell you…” “YES. YOU DID.”
Bryan: No way! I downloaded the MadLibs app. We’ll never get bored. And podcasts and comedy CDs and Punch Porsche (our upscale version of Punch Buggy).
Lisa: Shall we leave the rest in the hands of Billfold readers? Can we trust them to tell us how to save money and split costs and not kill each other?
Bryan: Sure we can! They helped us move in together…. Well, except that one guy who wanted us dead because we’re so in love.
Lisa: So in love! So much love that we don’t need money. This roadtrip will pay for itself in x’s and o’s.
Lisa and Bryan live in Los Angeles. Together.