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food and accom budget for family 2 ad + 4 kids

Travel Forums North America food and accom budget for family 2 ad + 4 kids

1. Posted by natasha163 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

we are a family of 2 adults and 4 kids aged 7 , 5 and 3 1/2 year old twins looking to travel june-july for 4 weeks.
wE ARE planning to rent a car and stay in motels with kitchenettes (for self catering). As we have 4 kids alot of the accomodation i have found eg family suites are approx$200 per night. Am i not looking in the right places or is this the going rate. At that rate i am looking at about $6000 just for accomodation alone and then $1300 for a rental minivan + fuel.

I am seriously considering a motorhome....although i was steering away from that for a few reasons....
1) kids drive in it and then have to sleep in it? Will it feel too confined?
2) limited views...heard you miss alot of the scenery...limited windows.
3) Are those seats in the back with seat belts comfortable for driving 4 hours at a time?
4)Cant just pull up anywhere and snap a pic or taKE a potty break for the kids.
5) how much are site fees to stay the night?
6)how much fuel will one of these babies guzzle.
7)Do you have to have a certain typr of license to drive one?
8)any recommendations ?

Also , we are planning to self cater breakfast, snacks, lunch , (eg trip to grocery store to make our own) cook for our selves for dinner most nights and eat out every other night.

For an adult what kind of food allowance do you work on, and what do you think for a child.

any help would be appreciated, kind regards tash

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Mar-2010, at 22:26 by natasha163 ]

2. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

Depending where you are rates for Motels can be as low as $50 pr night out in the country or $300+ per night in some of the bigger cities,your problem is with that many people you are kinda forced into the more expensive 2 bedroom suites and even most of those dont come with 3 double beds.
Motor home could be an option but a large Class A or B could cost $1500+ per week before you even start the motor which may get you 6-8 mpg and they will only come with 2 extra seatbelts, you dont need a special license to drive the mid size ones but do check requirements for the larger Class A units,there are plenty of rest areas and scenic overlooks anywhere you go where you can stop for a while, camp sites run anywhere from $20-$40 per night with some of the more resort types going over $100 per night.
As for budget i usually try to be frugal as much as possible but at the end of the trip the memories are worth more than what i spent overbudget.

What are your travel destinations? as if its just one geographical area you may just want to rent an
apartment/house trailer as a home base for somewhere between $500 to $1000 per month then take day trips in the rental car/van or public transit. Anyway you slice it this trip wont be cheap.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Mar-2010, at 01:07 by jambo101 ]

3. Posted by natasha163 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Quoting jambo101

Depending where you are rates for Motels can be as low as $50 pr night out in the country or $300+ per night in some of the bigger cities,your problem is with that many people you are kinda forced into the more expensive 2 bedroom suites and even most of those dont come with 3 double beds.
Motor home could be an option but a large Class A or B could cost $1500+ per week before you even start the motor which may get you 6-8 mpg and they will only come with 2 extra seatbelts, you dont need a special license to drive the mid size ones but do check requirements for the larger Class A units,there are plenty of rest areas and scenic overlooks anywhere you go where you can stop for a while, camp sites run anywhere from $20-$40 per night with some of the more resort types going over $100 per night.
As for budget i usually try to be frugal as much as possible but at the end of the trip the memories are worth more than what i spent overbudget.

What are your travel destinations? as if its just one geographical area you may just want to rent an
apartment/house trailer as a home base for somewhere between $500 to $1000 per month then take day trips in the rental car/van or public transit. Anyway you slice it this trip wont be cheap.

thanks so much fr your very helpful reply...to answer your qu...
Our itinery was going to be this....
la - 3-4 days motel accom
las vegas - 1 night
grand canyon 3 nights - cabin
moab - utah 2 or so days
denver- 3 days
rapid city - 1 week - vacation rental house

yellowstone - 3 days (accom unsure)
head up to calgary with stop over somewhere
calgary 3 days -
banff
vancouver
seattle
back down the coast with adequate stopovers to la to fly out.

Are we trying to do and see too much in one month?
Since it will be costing us approx $7000 just for our airfares to get to the usa we wanted to make the most of it...it may be 3 or 4 years before we can afford another trip like this with the kids.
Do you have any suggestions?
I was thinking we could drop the canada leg giving us several more days to spend somewhere else...
heres what interests us...disneyland, anything dinosaury for the kids,national parks, grand canyon, vegas was only really for my hubby, moab was just a stop over near the parks up there, really want to see SDakota, and yellowstone, also the giant redwood trees in california.
Sorry, now this is entirely another post!
Once again, thanks so much for your help

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Mar-2010, at 19:04 by natasha163 ]

4. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

I don't think you'll have to pay $200. a night - maybe in LA or SF, but you might look at Extended Stay Motels since they usually come with full kitchens - that site allows for large families.

I would urge you not to start your trip in Los Angeles - have you ever been there? For a first time it can be very challenging (especially for a right-side driver). LAX is also one hell of an airport - I know I avoid it if possible. I suggest flying into San Francisco and starting your trip there. Once you get the hang of our freeways perhaps LA might not seem confusing (Southern California drivers rarely go less than 80mph (129kph) - not something you'd want to do when reading signs and 4 kids in the back!)

Be sure to stop off in Portland - the city of bikes, bridges and fountains!

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

If you do decide to start your trip in Los Angeles, I suggest you take a drive down to Huntington Beach--and then drive state route 1 along the beach from there down to Laguna Beach. It's a beautiful drive and one of the few places where not everybody in town is going 80 miles per hour (as Daawgon mentioned--and which is definitely true). It's a nice coastal route with nice restaurants and bars, and lots of interesting shops and beautiful houses.

The reason everyone drives so fast is that distances in LA are so enormous. Since you are from Australia, let me put it this way: It would be like driving from Sydney to Wollongong, but never even leaving Los Angeles. Now to get to the suburbs, you have to drive on to Kiama. To get completely out of the Los Angeles metropolitan area would require driving onward to Nowra. Fortunately, the entire distance would be on a motorway where (as Daawon notes) everyone is going really fast--most of them over the legal speed limit.

P.S. After looking at a map of Australia, maybe the distances in LA aren't so far. Distances in Australia are huge--it's like driving across the US.

[ Edit: add the PS ]

6. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

Quoting natasha163


Are we trying to do and see too much in one month?

Yes
Apart from Disney LA is a suburban desert.
Grand Canyon and Moab can become a bit redundant after a day
Denver seems like a long way to go to see just another big city
1 week in Rapid city?Whats happening there?
If you head toward Banff or Calgary, Waterton Lakes Provincial park is recommended
If you like dinosaurs go to Drumheller near Calgary
The drive down the coast from Seattle to LA will be a trip highlight.
With the trip you have planned i dont see the need for a camper type vehicle as you will be in hotels/motels or cabins almost every night

7. Posted by natasha163 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Quoting jambo101

Quoting natasha163


Are we trying to do and see too much in one month?

Yes
Apart from Disney LA is a suburban desert.
Grand Canyon and Moab can become a bit redundant after a day
Denver seems like a long way to go to see just another big city
1 week in Rapid city?Whats happening there?
If you head toward Banff or Calgary, Waterton Lakes Provincial park is recommended
If you like dinosaurs go to Drumheller near Calgary
The drive down the coast from Seattle to LA will be a trip highlight.
With the trip you have planned i dont see the need for a camper type vehicle as you will be in hotels/motels or cabins almost every night

thanks everyone for your valued input.

I have a few questions from the points youve raised...

1)how far driving time is it from san fransisco to anaheim (assuming thats where i flew in like you suggested)? Disneyland and universal studio is a must see for the kids , unfortunately. Would you base yourself in anaheim for these 2 days or is there a less exp/less touristy area nearby?

2)The grand canyon is also a must see. With 4 kids how many days do you think would be sufficient..maybe 2 nights?

3) thru monument valley up to Moab, moab was really just a stop over, plus theres the arches NP i'd love to photograph aswell as M.Valley. And there are sinosaur stuuff to see there isnt there for the kids,is there like trails with fossils and footprints? we'd also love to go to the bar m chuckwagon for dinner (i think thats it, is that good?) how many days would you suggest for moab?

4) we were only going thu dnever as a way to get to rapid city with a stop over, what else would you suggest?

5)Rapid city- we were planning to base ourselves here for alsmost a week or atleast 3-4 days in a vacation house. See Mt rushmore + night show custer park, badlands, deadwood, also, can you go fishing here? what could be my itinery here....eg what we could accomplish per day and how many days would we need without being bored.

5) Over to yellowstone...i've heard on the forum we should expect to spend atleast 3 days here...also, where would you stay if it were you?
6) What would be the best route up to calgary? 10 years ago i worked in north dakota as an exchange ranch worker, we headed up to calgary via regina...but looking at the map, i wont need to go anywheres near there. Would love to take the kids to drumheller. Should we base ourselves at calgary and drive out on day trips? I cant remember how far it is from calgary to banff...is that doable in a day trip or should we stay in banff? What about waterton np, is that doable from calagary, or should we stay closer?

6)you said the drive from seattle will be a trip highlight...why is that?Would love to know more, because i dont really know much about washington/oregon/northern california. ( Heard the californian coast is a beautiful drive, big cliffs etc. )
From banff or calgary, with about anywhere from 5 - 8 hours driving with the kids where would be your stopover for the night. Looking at google maps is very helpful, but the towns are just names to me...any help from banff west and down to califronia would be appreciated. Thought about the following places...vancouver, seattle, portland, Mt hood...or should i stick to smaller towns? I realise we will have to make several stopovers over night to get back down to la or san fran to fly out. We would be open to spending a few days somewhere with the kids to give them a break, and also to see something different.

We may go to yosemite on the way down, we really want to see the giant redwoods. How long would you suggest to stay in yosemite?

Sorry for all the questions, the us is just so vast, and this is a very important family trip to us, not to mention costly, i want to make sure i plan it right. Thankyou all so much for you help. I love your beautiful country and cant wait for my holiday!!

8. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

SF to Anaheim:

1. via I-5 Interstate Highway 6 to 8 hours along the most boring road in the world (you will fall asleep)

2. via Highway 101 (partial Freeway) more like 12 hours

3. via Highways 1 & 101 probably 18 hours (this is the scenic route, and you'd be foolish to not stop and see the scenic coastline, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Monterey Peninsula & Monterey Aquarium). I suggest a minimum of 2 or 3 days for the trip. The Monterey Peninsula is the home of world famous golf courses like Spyglass and Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive. The town of Carmel is a tiny wealthy playground with English architecture, fancy boutiques and breathtaking beaches.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Mar-2010, at 21:12 by Daawgon ]

9. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

As Disney is a must see flying into LA might be more expedient as it will be a 7-8 hour drive from San Francisco but taking the coast road Rt1 and rt101 would be a very scenic drive after spending a few days in San Francisco, and yes there are less expensive motel options nearby.
The Grand Canyon and Moab and you may want to add Zion and Bryce Canyon parks are fantastic scenerywise but its been my experience that young kids dont really appreciate scenic magnificence and may get bored quickly, I'm not sure about the dinosaur attractions in the area as when i was there last i only saw the canyon.
From the Grand Canyon to Rapid City will be a long 1000 mile drive, cant give much info on what to see and do between the two but you could spend a lot of time at many places inbetween Google is your best option to find interesting places,then another 1000 to Calgary, Drumheller being about an hours drive east of Calgary,plenty of motels.
Another 1000 mile drive from Calgary to Seattle then the drive from Seattle back to California (800 miles to SF)along the Pacific coast has always been one of my favorite scenic drives,lots of mountains mixed with beautiful ocean beaches.
I.m realizing the enormity of this trip and sorry i cant be more help on planning an itinerary as a lot of these places i just drove by when i used to be a truck driver.
I'm thinking the Achillies heel in your route planning is the amount of time you will have to spend in the vehicle getting from place to place,i estimate 5000+ miles, at 500 miles per day you can readily see that you'll spend most of the trip drivingthats a lot of driving with 4 small kids,Hope you have the patience of Job.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Mar-2010, at 02:23 by jambo101 ]