Are you considering driving cross-country but concerned about how it will affect your wallet? We calculated just how much it would cost per day to drive coast to coast from New York City to Los Angeles and how long it will take to get there using the shortest route. Plus, some extra expenses you haven’t thought about.
You need to make sure that your car is in tip-top shape before you embark on your great road trip adventure. If you are not car-savvy, it’s worth it to pay someone to do a car inspection before hitting the road. Let them check the following.
- Air filter
- Tires & spare tire
- Lights & wipers
Tip: Save an average of 40% on oil changes using Groupon/oil change or search for a coupon directly on the companies website. Repair shops and dealerships also have printable coupons. Many shops include a free inspection as part of the oil change.
Unexpected break downs
Are you fully prepared if your car breaks down or you lose the key to your car?
Spare car key
You probably have 2-3 spare car keys lying around the house so this is the best time to use them. Do you know that it can cost you over $100 to replace a lost key to a newer model car?
Keep a second key in your pocket at all times during the trip. Avoid the hassle of calling roadside assistance if you accidentally lose the keys in your hand as you stop for gas or if you lock the keys in the car.
Do you know what services are covered if you break down? Take a minute to contact your roadside assistance company to know exactly what’s covered and how far they will tow your car if needed.
Highway roadside assistance
Check to see if your state offers free highway roadside assistance. If you break down on the highway in Florida dial *347 for assistance. The Florida Road Rangers will help with minor issues such as running out of gas or getting a flat tire on all the major highways in Florida. Another highway roadside assistance is CDOT State Farm Safety Patrol for I-70 and NMDOT – Courtesy Patrol for I-40.
There are some insurance companies like Geico that limit the number of times you’re able to use the service before they cancel it. It may be best to take advantage of the road rangers to prevent losing your service at the time you need it.
Credit card benefits
If you’re paying for road assistance every month through your car insurance take a moment to contact your credit card company. Check to see if they offer free roadside assistance or a cheaper service to save a few extra bucks each month. Some Citibank, Chase, and American Express cards offer the service.
Purchase a jump starter
Are you guilty of running into a store and leaving your lights on and then coming back to a dead car? Consider purchasing a portable jump starter to be prepared. At the time of publishing, Walmart has a Black and Decker box for $49.97.
Articles & Tips
Read more articles to stay up on the best money saving tips and ways to find quality long distance rideshares.
What Is Long Distance Rideshare? Is It Worth It?
Top Long-Distance Rideshare Website Safety Features
Become A Rideshare Member
Join a growing crowd of enthusiastic members who enjoy sharing their space and saving money. All members are pre-screened for your peace of mind.
Gas – average cost from NY to LA: $57.50 per day
How much gas money do you need to get from point New York to Los Angeles? Based on our calculations it will cost you $225 at the average price of gas being $2.50 per gallon. If you drive 10 hours a day, you will arrive in LA in 4 days.
Planning the trip
Luckily, we no longer have to pull out the paper Atlas map to plan our road trips. All we need to do is type our destination into the GPS and put our faith in technology.
With a road trip from coast to coast, you may need more excitement than just following an arrow on a map. To make your trip less boring, find websites that can enhance your trip experience.
Search for accommodations, restaurants, outdoors & recreation, camping & RV parks, and even off the beaten path attractions that are all along your route.
If you’re taking Interstate 70, 40 or 80 (if you’re visiting the northern California cities), Roadtrippers curated some amazing places to visit while you’re trekking the interstates.
Read the following blogs and decide which stops are worth checking out if you have time.
Eats – average food cost: $33 per day
We all know that eating out is more expensive than cooking at home. You will need more money in your budget for food when going on vacation or a trip. Most Americans will spend an average of $30 per day on food alone when on vacation. On the other hand, if you’re looking to eat at a high-end restaurant while trekking the interstate, you will need more than a couple of Andrew Jackson’s in your pocket. For conscious spenders, your average food cost will be lower if you pack your meals and snacks.
TV Food Maps will help you navigate your way through different restaurants on the interstate. Whether you’re a big spender or a budget-conscious, there’s something for everybody. If you see a place you want to try out, don’t just factor in the cost but also the travel time.
SpoonUniversity has compiled the Best Restaurants along I-70 from scrumptious pizza to mouth-watering Indian & Thai cuisines. And when you hit interstate 40, Yelp has you covered with the 10 best restaurants near I-40 list. Just make sure to order extra to-go for the next meal.
Food on a budget
A well-stocked cooler is a must if you’re on a budget. Pack it with healthy snacks to help you stay away from gas station junk foods. And don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.
Purchase a good cooler
Lodging – average hotel cost: $129.83
We are hoping that you have family, relatives, and friends that you could crash for a night or two to save you even more money on your great trip from New York to California.
But if that’s not the case, Statista.com said that the average daily rate (ADR) of the United States hotel reached $129.83 in 2018. Whoa, that can quickly add up for 4 days of travel. Just think about it, if you would rather stay in a resort-like hotel that includes many great amenities like a spa and all – there goes the credit card!
Good thing there’s plenty of affordable accommodations out there to choose from. If you’re adventurous enough, you’ll find even more creative places to stay.
Campground and RV park resorts
Just about everyone has an old tent stored away that they rarely get a chance to use. This is the best time to dust it off. Did you know that there are campground and RV resorts almost everywhere?
Being in a car for 10 hours and then sleeping on the ground in a hot tent sure doesn’t sound appealing but what if I told you there are luxury campgrounds that offer tons of activities for adults and kids?
After a long drive, diving into the ocean or lake, or sitting around a campfire and roasting some marshmallows is just what you need.
If you want to have fun while stretching your legs, find a campground that offers live music or karaoke in the evenings.
Stinky and feeling yucky? Forget about paying $50 for a hotel just to take a quick shower. If your gym allows you to use different locations nationwide, then it’s time to get your money’s worth for that $150 membership that you only use twice a year.
Home exchange or swapping
Have you heard of it? All you have to do is find someone in your destination that would want to visit your town then schedule your vacation at the same time! A bit tricky? No problem. Homelink and Home Exchange will help you every step of the way.
Not your traditional relative’s couch but way cooler. Coachsurfing.com offers a place to stay while traveling the world. They can connect you with experienced “couch surfers” in your area to show you the ropes.
Have you considered it over traditional hotels or motels? Hostels forgo many of the usual hotel or motel amenities. People who usually stay in hostels are more interested in meeting other travelers than getting their mani-pedi during their stay. You can find many along the way at Hostels.com.
Your coast-to-coast road trip cost based on the above estimates is…drum roll please…$746.49!
Lodging for 3 days = *$389.49
Of course, this figure is not the true cost of your trip if you factor in the number of people traveling, your side trips, etc. However, it will give you a rough idea of what your budget will look like. We suggest you plan early to find much better deals online.
More ways to cut cost and save
Uber isn’t the only way to make money through ridesharing. Long distance ridesharing has come along way over the past few years and Haydash has changed the way we think of ridesharing. Does the idea of hopping in a car with a stranger sound terrifying?
Haydash is working to change your mind and solve this problem by requiring all of its members to complete a criminal background check and a Motor Vehicle Report check on drivers to help reduce potential risk.
Offer a ride
Create an account, complete a background check, and post an ad to find or take a rideshare anywhere in the US. When you post your ad, Haydash will match you with other riders and drivers that are traveling up to 15 miles along your route.
It’s peer to peer ridesharing so you are not signing up as an employee but rather offering a ride with people just like you. You’re the boss, so set your price per seat and offer as many seats as you desire.
Do you have a trip coming up? Share your ride or catch a ride on Haydash.com and check out What Is Long Distance Rideshare? Is It Worth It? to learn more.
Do you have an extra truck space? USHIP can help you turn that space into cash. According to USHIP, you can transport everything from cars to cranes, freight to furniture, and households to horses—whether it’s going local or long distance.
For more money-making ideas on your road trip, check out How to Make Money Driving on a Long Distance Road Trip.