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Travel does not have to be expensive. If planned right, it can be very affordable and within reach. In order to help encourage people to follow their dreams, I write up an expense report when I return from a trip. I do this so you can see exactly where my money goes to help you plan for future trips. This blog post is an expense report on my latest trip to Great Basin National Park.
Because there are two ways to get to Great Basin National Park from Arkansas, I chose to go one way and come back another way. This way, I could see more of the country. I left my home in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and drove to Bernalillo, New Mexico, just north of Albuquerque. I camped at a city park that has a really nice campground, called Coronado Campground.
From there, I drove to Cedar City, Utah, and had dinner with a friend at her home. And then I drove just outside Cedar City and camped at Rocky Peak Campground in the Three Peaks Recreation area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
I woke up early the next morning and drove about two hours to Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada. I explored the small park, did some hiking, and then drove to Great Basin National Park. The next five nights I spent camping at Great Basin National Park.
And for the drive home, I drove the I-70 route to see Utah and Colorado, staying at the Goodland, Kansas KOA for my last night of the trip.
To prepare for this trip, I only bought a National Geographic topographical map. I’m a map person, so planning hiking trails is easier for me with a map. Also, I don’t believe there’s a Falcon Guide for Great Basin National Park. I usually purchase one of those, but this time I only relied on the park’s website, which used with the map, was all I needed.
Camping fees for this trip were low compared to some other trips I have taken. Campgrounds at Great Basin National Park were only $20 a night. I was also lucky to score some pretty cheap campsites on my trip to the park. The Bernalillo Coronado Campground had a spot labeled “pullout.” Because I was only booking it in order to sleep for the night, I did not need a picnic table or grill. The pullout site was perfect and only $18.
The Rocky Peak Campground was by far the cheapest, coming in at $5. However, I was traveling on Labor Day weekend and didn’t want to risk a full campground, so I paid an extra $8 for a reservation fee.
Although Great Basin National Park does not have an entry fee, Nevada State Parks do. I paid $10 to see and hike Cathedral Gorge State Park.
Great Basin National Park also has a beautiful cave and I booked a guided cave tour, which cost $15.
After gas prices rose so steeply this spring, I was afraid it might push me over budget on this trip. However, gas prices began to fall to a more manageable cost for a long-distance road trip. The average price of gas was about $3 a gallon. Although in the tiny town of Baker, Nevada, just outside the park there were two gas stations. And they were it for about 80 miles, so prices there were high, coming in at $5.50 a gallon.
In total, I drove right at 3,400 miles from my home in Arkansas to Great Basin and back. And it cost me, $376.27.
Driving home through Kansas and Oklahoma sent me through toll roads. But I got off and couldn’t get back on without exact change, so I did avoid some of them on accident. It did cost me 20 minutes of my time but saved me a few dollars. In total, I spent $7.25 on toll roads.
Another large expense I had, was of course food. I only ate out twice, and one of those meals was on the Dollar Menu at Mcdonald’s. I did eat in the Great Basin Cafe and Gift Shop because I heard it was excellent. And it was good. I bought groceries at Walmart, spending about $60. I also spent about $32 on dehydrated meals. The rest of my food cost includes snacks and ice, making the total come to $141.43.
I normally don’t buy souvenirs, but they had a bag that says, “Let’s find a place to get lost,” so I had to buy it. And I got some stickers too.
My total expenses for this trip came to $745.39, not too bad for a solo week-long road trip across the country.