/ How much money for 10 weeks in California?
I'm planning on hiring a car between 4 of us for the first 4 weeks. We'll be camping most of the time, but will probably spend a couple of nights in hostels in San Fransisco at the start and end of the trip.
I'd like to be able to eat fairly well and afford to do the occasional touristy thing on rest days.
I was thinking about around £200 a week?
Reckon that will be enough?
I did a similar trip last year and it worked out more expensive than I expected. Food isn't really cheap in the US anymore, unless you want to eat utter rubbish. Obviously gas isn't much but distances are large and you can find yourself moving about a bit to look for good weather (it was unseasonably hot in the Valley when we went, but you might be luckier).
Bear in mind there are other unforseen expenses. For example, none of my climbing shoes fitted because of the heat, and they were a bit rubbish for crack climbing, so I had to buy some more.
Cheaper for you than us taking that Euro beating!
Rental cars: Probably about $30 a day.
Gas: about $3.60 a gallon. Our clean ass save the world crappy cars get maybe 25 miles per gallon. SF to something like Joshua Tree is 450 miles. To Yosemite probably 200 miles.
Food: Actually real cheap. If you go to a supermarket and buy your grub look at about 10-15 $$ per day for breakfast, lunch, and probably dinner. Eating out is usually about $7.00 for a two egg breakfast with toast and coffee. Lunches can be fast food from $3.00 to sandwiches at a deli for about $6.00. Dinners in an actual restaurant run about $10 to $15.00 not including Margaritas. If you guys have extravagant tastes you could easily double the costs above. Buy an ice chest ( $20 ) when you get here to store your goodies. Ice is $2 for a 10# bag and you will need 2 a day.
Lodging: Chain motels are about $50 per night unless you are in Las Vegas where you can score for as little as $15 per night. I never stay at hostels since they are infested with hippies and people that want to hug me.
Tourist stuff: Things like the worlds biggest ball of string and the giant thermometer are free. A museum might be $5.00 to get in. There is no culture over here so stick to looking at odd roadkill animals or fiberglass Paul Bunyons and you will do fine and still have plenty of money for beer.
Beer: total shite is about $4 per six pack. What we call the good stuff is about a dollar a bottle when you buy in bulk (12 to 24 bottles). In a bar they will get $5 per pint so "pre-load" out in your car and then wobble in for a lone pint.
Things will cost more in National Parks like Yosemite. Add about 25% to adjust for the wow factor.
Prostitutes: In Las Vegas and Joshua Tree I never spend more than $12.00 for an "around the world".
Health Care: Free. Go into any Emergency Room and drop on the floor. They must treat you. Then when they stick the clipboard under your nose looking for payment, tell them you are from another country and will try to send them something in the next year.
There are no real toll roads but getting into Yosemite etc will cost like $15 or you can buy a pass to all the parks for like $80. Bridges in SF cost some money to cross, but I have no idea how much. Probably a couple of bucks.
Clothes: Walmart togs fit me well and I've never spent more than $10 for Prana-esque climbing pants there. T-shirts with pictures of Kenny Rogers or Hello Kitty on the front go for $5.00.
Gear: Ropes can be had for about $100 to $125 on sale. All the rest is about $40-65 per cam and $10 to $15 for a quickdraw.
Sunscreen: Suncream is $8.00 per bottle but often have a buy one get one free deal going on at RiteAid pharmacy. This is where most of your US trip expenses will probably be.
Buy any car rental insurances before you go.
What Russ said - with a couple of caveats.
I'd avoid his friends for "around the world" - you might catch something. Most of the politicians seem to go for the $2000 / day option and they look healthy enough (both the politicians and their friends).
Beer is a about $15 for a 12-pack of decent stuff.
Breakfast - an EggMcMuffin is cheaper than that but you will likely need 2. $4 for the pair. $1 for coffee with the bottomless cup. Buy OJ from the supermarket. Breakfast of champions.
Russ 'Manson' Walling will eat you alive Ripley. Ask him for a doss in one of his desert compounds.
That's the most entertaining post I've read on UKC in a long time, cheers!
That will do me for beer, just!
In reply to Russ Walling:
> Prostitutes: In Las Vegas and Joshua Tree I never spend more than $12.00 for an "around the world".
Now were talking!
Just backing up sjc's point. Get your car insurance sorted in advance.
US rental often only includes the mandatory third party coverage. They'll then hit you for Loss Damage Waiver insurance, which can be astronomical. Paying not only covers you against total bankruptcy if you total the car, but it also means that you don't need to worry about the inspection when you hand it back.
Russ's daily rental cost of $30 is hard to come by in my experience, but I'll bow to his superior knowledge. Check around in advance. The rest of his numbers seem right, apart from the "around the world". I'm not sure about that - I tend to go 'a la carte' rather than 'prix fixe'.
Some of the best, and most informative, advice posted here in years.
50 Dollars might just get you three pints of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a medium Peperoni on the pizza deck in Curry village.....
> Breakfast - an EggMcMuffin is cheaper than that but you will likely need 2. $4 for the pair. $1 for coffee with the bottomless cup.
On that note, go for the wonderfully named 'In-and-out Burger' over MacDonald's if you can, much better I reckon.
> Prostitutes: In Las Vegas and Joshua Tree I never spend more than $12.00 for an "around the world".
I'd guess this only works if you are really handsome or have really bad eyesight.
> I'd guess this only works if you are really handsome or have really bad eyesight.
Perhaps this is why Tom sought our help for Mars sponsorship; that £300 would go a LONG way, indeed ;-)
Check out Motel 6 website before you go, you can get discounts if registered. You will need a bit of a break from roughing it, for ten weeks.
Try booking a 'small' hire car (never have any) and get a free upgrade! Photograph all around the car with the digi cam, in case of disputes, when you return it!
Have all your license/insurance/credit card shit together, when you go to pick up the car! After the long flight, you will be knacked, and can be easily bamboozled.
Take old clothes, gear you can dump, rather than humph them back here.
Eat cheaply in casinos, skip the gambling bit.
Polish up your polite English accent, goes down well with the yanks!
If your there for so long, it may be worth joining the American AA, don`t know if UK based you even can, but wherever you go they seem to get extra discounts.
> Polish up your polite English accent, goes down well with the yanks!
Yes - this is good advice. My (US) wife is of the opinion that my english gets more upper class if I appear to be losing an argument.
A few hundred dollars in case of emergeny and a credit card carrying $1000+ dollars around is silly. The US have a zip-code system on authorising cards that you need to be aware of so you can't always get petrol from automatic pumps or even buy stuff from some places (much rarer).
Another good tip is camping is free in The Needles and Sequoia areas and the climbing is brilliant and very quiet.
So when were you planning on coming out?
Planning on hiring a car for 4 weeks. Spending first 4 weeks between the Needle and the Incredible Hulk.
Then returning the car and hitting the valley for five weeks planning on doing a mix of big walls and long free routes. Would also be good to spend few days in Tuolume - Is this doable without a car.
Maybe go to Joshua Tree or Red Rocks for the last week. Flying on to Argentina November 1.
Sound look a good plan?
Cheers for your hints.
Tuolumne isn't really doable without a car really. In fact none of California is, including LA.
> Yes - this is good advice. My (US) wife is of the opinion that my english gets more upper class if I appear to be losing an argument.
Brilliant! That's knocked Russ's post into second place!
I thought I'd been caught out by this at a petrol pump in Monterey, but I just used my UK postcode and it seemed to work...
If you end up wanting to stay the odd night in the motel look out for the coupon booklets they have at rest stops. Also it's often cheaper to book online, you can normally do this from the parking lot on the motel's free wifi, before walking in the front door :-)
It sometimes works but we had both our credit cards cancelled trying similar in Yosemite a couple of years back... care required. Ever tried talking to a credit card company from Yosemite NP ;-)
I got accused of being Australian while checking into a Californian campsite on the grounds that I didn't sound grumpy enough to be British. So grumpy politeness is probably the way forward. Actually I found this doubly offensive since I generally pride myself on my grumpiness.
Sounds good. You can get to Tuolumne without a car by hitching from the Valley. Not great as you will have to hitch around Tuolumne to do a lot of the climbs but it can be done. I think there might even be a bus these days from the Valley to Tuolumne.
On the ass end of your trip hit Red Rock for those long free climbs. Josh can be hit on the way for a few days to wrestle with some shorter stuff.
As for the credit cards and gas... get one of those prepaid Walmart debit card thingies instead, or something similar. Having your real card shut down will really cut down on your spending though.
Five weeks in the Valley might be a bit claustrophobic. On the other hand it might not. If you search elsewhere you might find a rather interesting thread about West Coast climbing, including the following quote (can't think who from):
"The climbing is frequently amazing and the place beautiful, but the list of downsides is long - the officialdom, the rather elitist climbing scene, the spitting barefoot trustafarians, the utter lack of anything else to do ... the over-priced fast food outlets, the gimmicky stores, and it is quite impossible to buy a copy of the Economist.”
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