After we spend our first full winter in Arizona, we’ll be heading out for the summer. The temperatures in Phoenix just get too bloody hot for us to stay. We’re talking over 100 degrees most days.
We were so tempted to conquer the entire country in one summer. But, we realized we need to look at this as a marathon versus a sprint. This year, we’ll be spending our summer on the East Coast. Our journey will take 5 months and lead us through 20 states.
How did we decide where to go? We decided to pick one quadrant of the United States per summer. How did we pick the Northeast as our first destination? It’s all about friends and family this year. Carter grew up in Pennsylvania and went to school in New Jersey. I lived in the Washington DC area for nearly 15 years. That means we have lots and lots of people to visit along the way!
Where will be staying? We’ll be living in our toy hauler (31 foot travel trailer including a 10 foot garage) for the summer. Last summer we realized that 21 feet of living space just isn’t big enough. This winter we reworked the layout of the garage and turned it into a large living and dining room. We’re excited to see how it works when we go out this summer!
What’s our budget for summer travel? Well, this year, our budget is a bit of a guess. We have a little less than $12,000 set aside for our adventures. Of that, 25% is for gas, 35% is for vittles, 30% is for campsites, and the final 10% is for fun. We’ve done a few things to help us minimize the guesswork in our budget:
- Purchased Thousand Trails Membership. We decided to purchase a Thousand Trails membership for the Northeast Region. This means we can stay in Thousand Trails campgrounds along our route for free. The only downside is that we can’t book the campgrounds until 60 days before the reservation. This delay is killing my Type A personality. I really want everything booked…especially at more popular destinations.
- Booked National and State Parks. We’ve taken advantage of early booking windows (usually 6-12 months in advance) in national and state parks. We’ve already booked campsites in Colorado, Missouri, Delaware, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and the Grand Canyon. Booking these parks will help us keep costs down while we’re staying in beautiful parts of the country.
- Planned Route and Gas Mileage. We already know the main route we’ll take from Arizona to the East Coast and back. Just those miles alone will cost hundreds of dollars in fuel for our F350 dually (diesel). We get better gas mileage than our gas truck did, but it’s still not great when we’re pulling our trailer.
As we get closer to our summer travels, we’ll share more about specific destinations and timing. We’re super excited to see many of our friends and family along the way!