Travel budget time: Our spending in August

I was pretty happy this morning when I found out we came in at nearly $500 under budget for our spending in August.

Yippee! I might have actually shouted that out loud.

I actually thought this month our we might have spent a little over our travel budget because we spent quite a lot of money on accommodation because we were camping through many national parks, like Yellowstone and the Badlands. We spent $269.24 on accommodation, most of it camping, compared to just $35 on accommodation last month.

But I guess the benefit of camping is that you seem to eat more budget food and our eating out costs have dropped quite a bit – we spent nearly $300 less eating in restaurants in August than we did in July.

Looking out over the Badlands Double-Barrelled Travel

This month was all about America’s National Parks, where we took in views like this one – which was taken in the Badlands, South Dakota

America’s National Parks

I might still not be a massive fan of camping but it keeps costs down significantly and when you’re camping in such beautiful places like Yellowstone, it’s easier to appreciate a life outdoors.

We can’t wait to show you the awesome footage and photos we took during our time in these beautiful national parks.

Most of our attractions spending was on entrance to these parks which cost anything from between $10-$25 per car for a week’s pass. Certainly worth it to see the natural wonders the USA has to offer. In hindsight, we should have bought an annual ticket to all the parks, which costs only $80 and gives you entry into all of the parks for a year.

Because we have a number of parks we want to visit, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, I think we might still purchase this pass because it’ll be worthwhile!

Geyser at Yellowstone Double-Barrelled Travel

Only $25 to see the sites of Yellowstone like this geyser? What a bargain!


In the month of August, we drove from Wisconsin to Oregon. That’s quite a way. Our car didn’t break down (but it has broken down in the past couple of days – getting it fixed will be put into the spending funds for September!) but we did spend more than $500 on fuel, which is to be expected.

In a country where public transport, like the trains, cost a bomb, driving is really the best way to see the USA.

And I love the freedom of being on the road, even if our air conditioning doesn’t work and we often arrive at our destination as a sticky mess.

Thankfully, unlike other months, we only spent a minimal amount on car related things – just to purchase some new oil and coolant.

Buffalo at Yellowstone Double-Barrelled Travel

Driving gave us the freedom to get up close and personal with this Buffalo in Yellowstone

Alcohol spending

Oops. We spent $100 more on alcohol this month than last. I think it was because we normally stop drinking when we house sit and we didn’t house sit at all in August so we spent most of the time on the road drinking!

We also hung out with friends a lot and with this came a substantial amount of drinking.

Carmen Dave and Nick Double-Barrelled Travel

Us with our friend Nick who Dave met at US summer camp all those years ago. We stayed with him and our new found friends Alex and Kyle in Portland

The generosity of our friends

For nearly two weeks we didn’t pay anything in accommodation because we were staying with friends.

Part of this was during a cabin trip where more than 20 of us camped out and stayed in our friend Josh’s family cabin in Oregon. This is another story for another time on the blog but in terms of spending, it was a cheap week for us.

Although what we didn’t spend on accommodation we made up for by spending those funds on booze and fly fishing.

During this cabin trip we formed some great friendships and through this we were able to stay with some newly found friends at their house in Portland, which was our next stop after the cabin trip. They showed us around the city and we had a wonderful time.

That is still my favourite thing about travelling – the people you meet when on the road.

And it was thanks to the generosity of these people that our accommodation funds in August weren’t depleted.

Mount Rushmore Double-Barrelled Travel

We visited Mount Rushmore in August – it was more impressive than expected

Other costs

We had two major expenses in August that fall under ‘other’ and couldn’t really be avoided.

The first was for a new camping stove. In Canada we purchased a butane stove but when we ran out of the fuel, we couldn’t find butane anywhere in the US. We went to about five camping stores and none of them sold it. The only fuel on offer was propane.

In desperate need to be able to cook the food we’d bought for dinner, we ended up purchasing a new stove that took propane.


So that’s a lesson for you if you’re camping around the USA – only purchase a propane stove.

The other expense was a second laptop.

We’ve been sharing one for awhile now and most times when we house sit we can use the owner’s computer as our second device. But when we’re on the road this really isn’t practical. So we bought a second hand computer off Craigslist for just $80. Worthwhile!

This month we also spent nearly $20 on books.

This happened at Powell’s Books in Portland – the largest independent book store in the world. How could we not purchase a few good reads from there?

But thanks to our reading addiction, we are now travelling around with a mini library. We have a suitcase full of books. Not practical when you live on the road – and own a Kindle! So we’ve made a pact not to buy any more books.

All in all, I’m super happy with our spending for the month of August. $500 below budget… What’s not to like?!

Here’s the low down on our travel budget spend in August:

Car $26.94
Eating out $494.82
Groceries $472.81
Accommodation $269.24
Alcohol $166.08
Attractions $141.25
Fuel and parking $521.54
Other $431.23
Total $2,523.91 

 Do you have any ideas how we could save some more cash next month?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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