Friday, July 7, 2017

HOW TO: Take a Six Day Road Trip on $300

Hey friends, I hope you're having a great summer full of s'more roasting, cook outs and fun! I am elated to finally share this post with y'all!  As some of you know, at the beginning of summer my best friend Keridan and I went on a week long road trip. If this is new to you be sure and follow @brayleafisher on Instagram so you can follow along on my next adventures.
 We started in Lubbock, Tx and then proceeded to Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, stopping at all places in-between. We saw the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Horseshoe Bend and The Grand Canyon in Arizona, The White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, ate the best chocolate glazed donut in the world at Voodoo Doughnuts, and soaked our day away at The Pagosa Springs Hot Springs in Pagosa Springs, CO. It was truly amazing. I have traveled with Keridian previously, so I knew that we would travel well together. Your travel partner is your best investment for a road trip! 
“Y'all went on a road trip for a week on $300?”
 Yes we did, and you can too! Here is how. 

First: Lodging 

Airbnb is the only way to go.
I am so glad this app was created in a time where I can use it to my advantage. If you aren't familiar with it, here is a rundown. Airbnb, it is a website and has a separate IOS application that you can download. From there, you can search the area you're looking to stay and then can rent from the listings. These listings are actual homes that people just like yourself rent out. There are many different options. Most common, being an unoccupied bedroom. You can rent a room, in someone else's house with them home. If you're not comfortable with that, full houses are available, apartment/condo spaces and I’ve even seen a few “Tiny Houses” posted on the site. Airbnb is literally amazing for travelers. 
Keridian and I stayed at four different Airbnb locations and every single one felt like home in a different way. 
Our first night in Denver, CO was great. This being our very first experience staying at an Airbnb rental we didn't know what to expect! This listing was a downstairs fully finished basement that had a living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, refrigerator and other amenities that made the space feel relaxing and comfortable. 
The second night we stayed with fellow travelers in Durango, Colorado up in the Rocky  Mountains. This house was basically in the middle of no where. This is the only one I didn't absolutely love. It was very secluded which I'm not a fan of. I like being in the city with people and things going on. Though it wasn't my favorite it was still great, and I felt completely comfortable. Our hosts were amazing and Keridan found the peace and quiet to be very relaxing.They had the most beautiful view and when we woke up that morning there was a complete white out. I can't say there is a better way to view a white out than on top of the ole Rockies.  
Our third night was a breeze. We parked the car in Flagstaff, AZ after visiting Horseshoe Bend as you can see in this post. The home was extremely cozy as well as the town. We had a bite to eat at Lumberyard Brewing Co in downtown Flagstaff. (I highly recommend.) Then we walked downtown to the Sweet Shoppe & Nut House and got a carmel apple and some gelato. Flagstaff was such a neat and welcoming town. When we woke up the next morning our next stop was the Grand Canyon.

After visiting the Grand Canyon (view the post here) we went down to Phoenix, AZ. (Summertime in Phoenix post here) I could go on and on about this location but I'll try to keep it short & sweet. Our drive into Phoenix was beautiful. I have never seen so many cacti until that drive and it was a fun sight to see for eyes that have been looking at mountains for days. (definitely not complaining) Our Airbnb home welcomed us as soon as we drove into the drive way. You know that feeling you get when you know something is just meant to be? That's how Keridan and I both felt as we entered Ms. Victorias home. So much so, we extended our trip a day so we could stay there another night. The home was perfect. She provided snacks, breakfast, drinks, free laundry services, an at home gym, kayaks, a paddle boat, a crystal clear pool, sunbathing chairs... need me to keep going? Anything you can imagine she did. She was the appidamy of a super host and I wish everyone could spend a few days with her at her home! 

For our last night on our road trip we stayed at The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot Alamogordo. It as well, was great. 

After five nights in four different homes, in three different states, I do not have one bad thing to say. I actually can't say enough good! The Airbnb hosts continued to make me feel welcome and safe and I plan to use Airbnb for as long as I'm traveling!

Secondly: Plan, Plan, Plan

Plan ahead. I know many road trips are for spontaneous adventure but all I think of when typing that is, a lot of extra wasted money & time! I'm very OCD when it comes to planing and schedules. (thanks mom) I had almost everything for every day planned, down to options of places to eat. It sounds like a lot but through numerous hours of pinterest scheming, it was actually quite fun. 
For planning out the vehicle traveling expenses and route I used an online website called Roadtrippers. It allows you to map out your trip, plan pitstops and gas breaks as well as showing you different attractions along the way. Not only does it do those things it also calculates the miles you travel. Once you enter all of the variables into the website you can add your vehicle type and it will tell you a very close estimation of how much gas will cost.
It predicted us spending $192 on gas and we spent $195 so it was literally spot on. 
I got a lot of inspiration of places to visit by simply searching where we were going on Pinterest/Instagram/Google. Just type in the broad location into those sites and it will pull up tons of Must See Sites, where to eat, etc. We live in a world FULL of technology. Use it to your advantage!

Third: Pack Food

Stop at the store before heading out! I don't know how much money we saved by packing a Yeti Cooler full of food and drinks but I know it had to be A LOT. Food was the one of the most expensive things about our trip. I am a foodie and one of my favorite things to do in a new town is to go the most popular place to eat. That being said, we limited ourselves to one meal per day, whether it be a scoop of ice cream at Little Man Ice Cream in Denver or a full meal like the one we had at Fez in Phoenix, Arizona. For all of the other meals, we ate what we had in the cooler.
We brought tons of snacks such as cutie oranges, trail mix, beef jerky, cheese and crackers, peanut butter crackers and chips and in the cooler packed sandwich stuff, veggies, lunchables (Hilshire Snacking is my jam!) and fruit! Most meals we ate a sandwich and a bag of chips and trust me it got old, but nothing taste as good as saving $10 every meal you don't eat at a restaurant. 

Lastly:  A Good Friend & Some Jams

Who you take along on your trip is the most important thing about taking a road trip. Go with someone who is fun and shares the same interest as you. You're going to be in the car with that person for HOURS. I can't think of anything that would have made our trip any better, only because my road trip partner was perfect. Most of the time you're going to run into problems, tire blowouts, yogurt spilling all over the car and you might even hit a bird. Do all of those things laughing with your best friend. 

For those wondering here is a cost breakdown for our entire trip per person. 

Cost Breakdown:

Airbnb Homes
Airbnb: click HERE to receive $40 off of any $75 Airbnb reservation 
Night 1: $52/2 = $26
Night 2: $60/2 = $30
Night 3: $55/2 =$27.50
Night 4 & 5: $100/2 = $50
Total Room Fees: $133.50 

Walmart: $60/2 = $30
Restaurants: $60

Park Fees
Horseshoe Bend: Free
Grand Canyon: $10 
White Sands: $5


Total Trip Cost per person: 

Apps & Websites I used (Set Route)
Airbnb (Book Rooms)
Yelp (Food & Entertainment)
Gas Guru (Finds Cheapest Gas near you)
This was my first road trip to ever go on, much less be in charge of and I managed to do it and you can too. 
So, take a road trip cheaply, use Airbnb, plan ahead, pack food, and laugh the miles off with your best friend! After all this world is a book full of beautiful images and those who don't travel only see a few of them.  

xo, braylea
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