We’re trying to get around the world on a limited budget, of around £400 a week to cover accommodation, activities, food and travel – and everything else. We knew that Canada and America would be more expensive, because of accommodation especially, but America has turned out much more expensive than we’d imagined. The principle reasons are food and motels. As America doesn’t really have a hostel network, we are staying in motels, which can cost from around $39 to $100 up. Mostly we’re staying in $49 motels, which means that we get a pool, and a continental breakfast thrown in. However, at weekends, and in some towns with little competition, we can end up paying $80. And sometimes, we end up paying $80 because we don’t want to stay in the cheapest motels in town when we can get a bit more comfort for a bit more money (Kanab is a case in point – we could have paid $50 or $60, but we chose to pay $80 to get a much, much nicer motel and a great cooked breakfast). This is very different from last time we were travelling, when we famously walked 2 miles with our backpacks to save 25p on a rickshaw!
Staying in motels also creates food problems – the motels don’t have cooking facilities, unlike hostels where there’s a shared kitchen to cook in. So it means that every lunchtime and evening we have to eat out. Cheap eating here is mainly fast food – McDonalds etc – which is cheap but not the best thing for a regular diet. Some days we’ve even had to resort to McDonalds for lunch and dinner – how depressing is that!
So now we’re starting to picnic more for lunch – after supermarket visits – and try not to eat McDonalds in the evenings. But the alternatives tend to be either pizza or another fried food – at The Junction we managed to find fish and chips, but they’d battered each chip individually, just to make sure there was enough grease in the meal!
I’ve put on weight already in just two weeks, which is depressing, because travelling used to be a sure-fire way to limit my waistline. Roll on Fiji, where cheap food means vegetarian curries! (Not something the girls are saying!)