Monday, April 18, 2011

1 Week Road Trip under $1,000 for a family of 5.

For Spring Break this year we decided to stay fairly close to home.  We did a road trip down to the Grand Canyon, Arizona; Monument Valley, Utah; 4 Corners; Mesa Verde, Colorado; Canyonlands, Utah; Arches, Utah; and Goblin Valley, Utah.

We ended up spending $965.97 total for a week long vacation for a family of 5.  We started with a full tank of gas that I did not calculate into the totals. Here is a summary of expenses we had each day:

DAY 1:
  • Hold Breath and hope the Government doesn't shut down all National Parks. cost: free (plus a few gray hairs)  Then Saturday afternoon drive to Southern Utah and stay with family.
  • COSTS: Gas-$59.24, Dinner-$9.64 (Taco Bell), Groceries-$10.02 (doughnuts, milk, cup of noodles for meals on the road) Day 1 total cost: $78.90
DAY 2:
  • Drive to South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.
  • COSTS: Annual National Parks pass-$80, Breakfast free (doughnuts and milk) Lunch $14.74 (McDonald's), Dinner in hotel room (Cup of Noodles) free, Hotel-$88.98  
  • Day 2 total costs: $183.72
DAY 3:
  • Grand Canyon all day
  • COSTS: Breakfast-free (hotel), Lunch-free (leftovers and snacks), Dinner-$8.27 (Wendy's), Hotel-$88.98 
  • Day 3 Total Costs: $97.25
DAY 4:
  • Drive to Monument Valley, 4 Corners arrive in Cortez, Colorado.
  • COSTS: Gas-$82.77, Breakfast-free (hotel), Lunch-$12.77 (Burger King),  Dinner-free (Cup of Noodles and microwave single servings Mac and Cheese) Monument Valley admit $15, 4 Corners admit $12, Walmart-$27.15 (lunchables, milk, Mac and Cheese packets and ice cream sandwiches), Hotel-$71.25
  • Day 4 Total Costs: $149.69
DAY 5:

  • Mesa Verde NP all day
  • COSTS: Breakfast-free (hotel), Lunch-free (lunchables and snacks), Dinner-$33.77 (local Mexican restaurant), Gas-$66.30, Hotel-$71.25
  • Day 5 Total Costs: $171.32
DAY 6:
  • Drive to Canyonlands NP, UT; Arches NP, UT
  • COSTS: Breakfast-free (hotel), Lunch-free (leftover lunchables and snacks), Dinner-free (cup of Noodles), Hotel-$89.82
  • Day 6 Total Costs: $89.82
DAY 7:
  • Arches National Park all day
  • COSTS: Breakfast-free (hotel), Lunch-free (sandwiches), Dinner-$43.05 (Denny's), Groceries-$6.17 (french bread, lunch meat, sliced cheese and Cheez-its), Gas-$59.24, Hotel-$89.82
  • Day 7 Total Costs: $188.28
DAY 8:
  • Drive to Goblin Valley State Park then Drive home
  • COSTS: Breakfast -free (hotel), Lunch-free (leftover sandwiches, crackers and snacks), Goblin Valley admit-$7
  • Day 8 Total Costs: $7.00
Total cost for our Spring Break Trip was $965.97 
For a family of 5 for 8 days!!

Optional Purchases we made that I didn't tally are:
  • Jr. Ranger patches for my 3 boys (between $3-$5 each).  We bought each boy (3) their own Jr. Ranger patch after they completed the program at each National Park we went to (4 parks). 
  • My husband bought a poster from the visitor center for his classroom. 
  • My boys each got a "Smashed Penny" from 3 locations. (they collect them in a "Elongated Penny Passport")  *These are usually available at the same location where the "smashing machine" is at.  Check the gift shop.  They are about $5 per book.  They also have them all over ebay.
  • We also decided to pay $3 for each boy to go bowling and $5 for myself at our hotel at the Grand Canyon.
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  1. I would love to hear about your smashed penny book. My kids always get those and then lose them. Did you make it? Buy it? Please share!

  2. Jamie, I just added a photo of the Penny Passport and a link to them on ebay. We've always bought them from the gift store where we are at for about $5. We currently have 2 and are close to filling the second one up.


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