In the summer of 2023, we embarked on an epic cross-country road trip adventure, traversing the diverse landscapes of the United States. Armed with a Toyota Tundra, a rooftop tent, and our canine companion, Rocky, we set out to explore the hidden gems, charming towns, and breathtaking vistas that make America a land of boundless beauty and adventure.
Exploring America: A 3-Month Cross-Country Road Trip Adventure with a Dog
Traveling on a Budget: 3-Month US Road Trip
One of the most remarkable aspects of our journey was the economical way we approached accommodation. Over the course of three months, we only paid for camping on three occasions, totaling a mere $90 in lodging expenses. The secret to our budget-friendly travel? The Ioverlander app, a fantastic tool that led us to free camping spots all over the country. It’s an essential app for any road trip enthusiast looking to minimize expenses.
Our spots are pinned on the map below or found here:
In our quest for budget-friendly travel, we discovered that one of the most effective ways to save money on the road was by purchasing and cooking our own food. Rather than dining out at restaurants, we opted for wholesome, homemade meals. Our secret? We made the most of the bountiful seasonal produce available at local farmers’ markets and farm stands. This not only helped us trim our expenses but also allowed us to savor the flavors of each region we visited. With a cooler packed full of fresh veggies and fruits, we enjoyed delicious and cost-effective meals against the backdrop of America’s diverse landscapes. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about savoring the journey in a more wholesome and fulfilling way.
Road Trip Essentials on a Budget: Outfitting Your Vehicle for Adventure
For those of us living the average Joe’s lifestyle, the dream of van life might seem a bit out of reach. But fear not, because there are budget-friendly ways to outfit your vehicle for an epic road trip. Take our journey, for instance. John is a carpenter, who already had the drawer system for his truck, an investment of $1,000 that provided ample storage.
To create a cozy and cost-effective sleeping arrangement, we scoured Facebook Marketplace and scored a used Roofnest Tent for $1,500.
Thanks to a generous collaboration, we added an ICECO fridge/freezer to the mix, saving $900. Powering our adventure, we invested in a Jackery power station at $1,400.
REI became our go-to for essential items like two lightweight quick-drying towels, a collapsible sink, five 5-gallon water containers, and two personal small-pack towels, setting us back $286.
To ensure we had all the necessary comforts, we included an inverter for $150 to charge our laptops, cameras, cell phones, and fridge.
For extra convenience, we packed two portable battery-operated fans, a portable shower, and a key hideaway, all for a modest $78.17.
When you’re traveling in bear country and unknown territories, you want to feel protected, so bear and pepper spray became essential, at a cost of $50.
To top it all off, a cross-member bar for mounting the tent added another $100 to our setup. With this budget-friendly approach, we transformed our average vehicles into a comfortable road-trip home for 3-months for an extraordinary journey.
Breakdown of Costs
- Drawer System (Carpentry): $1,000
- Used Roofnest Tent (Facebook Marketplace): $1,500
- ICECO Fridge/Freezer (Gifted collaboration): $900
- Jackery Power Station: $1,400
- REI Items:
- Inverter: $150
- Additional Items:
- Cross Member Bar (for tent mounting): $100
- Bear and Pepper Spray: $50
The total cost for outfitting your vehicle for a budget-friendly road trip adventure is $4,364.17.
This breakdown provides a detailed overview of the costs associated with outfitting your vehicle for a budget-friendly road trip adventure.
You can 100% do this cheaper too! But this worked great for us with our current setup. Living simply is a great way to live, we don’t need all the comforts in life. embracing discomfort can lead to a deeper appreciation of life’s simple pleasures and a greater sense of gratitude. It’s often in challenging or uncomfortable situations that we discover resilience, adaptability, and beauty in the ordinary moments. This perspective allows us to find joy in the small things that we might otherwise overlook
Our journey took us on an incredible route, spanning from the rolling hills of New York to the tranquil shores of Washington. We wandered through picturesque landscapes, explored vibrant cities, and soaked in the rich diversity of American culture. Here’s a glimpse of our route:
- New York (NY)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Virginia (VA)
- North Carolina (NC)
- Tennessee (TN)
- Arkansas (AR)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- Texas (TX)
- New Mexico (NM)
- Colorado (CO)
- Utah (UT)
- Idaho (ID)
- Oregon (OR)
- California (CA)
- Oregon (OR) – Again
- Washington (WA)
- Idaho (ID) – Again
- Wyoming (WY)
- Montana (MT)
- North Dakota (ND)
- Minnesota (MN)
- Wisconsin (WI)
- Michigan (MI)
- Ohio (OH)
- Pennsylvania (PA) – Again
- New York (NY) – Back Home
USA Road Trip Map Route
Click on each marker to see the exact coordinates and extra info about the location!
Exploring with Our Furry Friend:
One of the highlights of our journey was sharing it with our beloved dog, Rocky. Traveling with a canine companion can be both rewarding and challenging, and we learned a few valuable lessons along the way:
- Making New Friends: Our extroverted dog ensured we made friends wherever we went. His friendly demeanor opened doors to interactions with fellow travelers and locals.
- Navigating National Parks: While many national parks have strict rules about dogs, there are still plenty of dog-friendly hiking options just outside these parks. We recommend thorough research to ensure a smooth visit.
- Hydration is Key: In hot and dry areas, ensuring your furry friend stays hydrated is crucial. Always carry enough water for your dog.
- Health Records: Having your dog’s recent vaccination records can be handy, especially at certain parks or border crossings.
- Provisions: Pack extra dog food, poop bags, and remember, if you bag it, carry it out.
- Potty Breaks and Stretching: On long travel days, allow for regular potty breaks and opportunities for your dog to stretch their legs.
- Respect for Wildlife: When exploring natural habitats, it’s important to respect the wildlife and follow responsible dog ownership practices.
- Additionally, respect other people and their pets: Not all dog and human interactions go well, so be sure your dog has a good recall, or leash your pup!
We discovered that most places we visited were surprisingly dog-friendly. Having Rocky along didn’t hinder us from experiencing the full spectrum of adventures that this remarkable country had to offer.
Our 3-month road trip across the United States was an unforgettable journey filled with adventure, natural wonders, and heartwarming encounters. With Rocky as our loyal and hilarious companion, we explored the nation’s beauty, learned life lessons, and cherished the freedom of the open road. If you’re considering a road trip with your dog, we hope our experiences inspire you to embark on your own memorable adventure, forging unforgettable memories with your furry friend by your side. America’s wonders await, and they’re even better when shared with a loyal four-legged companion.
Who we are
Hi, We’re John and Ally! Off-the-beaten-path adventure enthusiasts and wellness experts who aim to inspire travelers to explore the outdoors, their well-being, and local culture in a mindful way. We are based in the rolling hills of Central NY! Our focus is all about slow travel, budget travel, and minimalistic traveling! You can learn more about us here!
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