Our second U.S. leg (aka, Leg 7 of our travels) was just as fun and rewarding as the first. In fact, in some ways it was more so because we were able to have more family and friends visit us than ever before and were able to visit more family and friends as part of our journey. Luckily we had good weather all the time for socializing outdoors and by the time my family visited, they were all vaccinated.
Writing this now six weeks after our return to our hometown (and one week after achieving full vaccination status ourselves), we are feeling very hopeful about being able to travel abroad again in the fall. In fact, we’ve already bought (refundable) plane tickets to Italy! But we definitely made the most of our time traveling in the U.S. Here’s how our Leg 7 numbers looked:
Where We Were
States visited: 9 – Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oklahoma (AK, TN, MI, NM, and OK were just driving through)
Cities visited (overnight): 12
Number of hotels: 7
Number of hotel nights: 11
Number of houses/apartments: 5
Number of Airbnb nights: 99 (1 overlapping night for LA getaway during our Palm Springs stay)
Total beds slept in: 12
Total lodging budget: $7,100
Total lodging actual: $7,088
How We Got Around and What We Did
This time, with our new-to-us Honda CRV, we did track miles for the trip, but I can’t find where I wrote it down when we got back! I think it was about 8,500 miles total.
Total transit budget: $900
Total transit actual: $892
Total food/entertainment budget: $5,000 ($294/week)
Total food/entertainment actual: $4,790 ($282/week)
This time, entertainment accounted for $430 of the food and entertainment expenses because with pandemic restrictions easing, we went out for drinks more frequently and even went to a drive-in movie (Nomadland; I liked it, Chad didn’t).
Total budget: $13,000 for 17 weeks ($765/week average) (our usual travel average)
Total actual: $12,770 for 17 weeks ($751/week average) (just under our weekly amount from the prior U.S. leg)
Number of weeks over budget: 7
Number of weeks under budget: 10
Least expensive week: Week 5, January 25-31, our last week in New Orleans and two nights on the road driving across Texas using points for hotel stays, $601
Most expensive week: Week 12, March 15-21, the main part of our Vegas stay and first nights in Sedona, $1017
The Best Parts
Best experiences (chronologically):
• Sara’s visit to New Orleans, especially watching the inauguration
• Walking along the San Antonio River Walk
• Hiking through the Saguaro Cacti in Saguaro National Park
• Lots of time with friends in LA
• Driving up the California coast and time in Santa Barbara and Monterey
• Time with friends in San Rafael
• Vegas! Especially our early-morning advertenture on The Strip and winning $200
• Having my family visit Sedona and going to the Grand Canyon with them
• All our Sedona hikes
• Seeing family in Texas
Gumbo House (New Orleans, LA), brunch at Vessel (New Orleans, LA), shrimp and mussels at Trep (New Orleans, LA), Ramen-Ya (Las Vegas, NV), Corner Table (Sedona Village of Oak Creek, AZ), takeout from Loro provided by my cousins (Austin, TX), plus Chad’s vegan jambalaya and all of our picnics
Previously unpublished lodging reviews (since I didn’t do a Texas post):
Studio 6 Lubbock – Great price but not very clean – The price was great and the staff at check-in were very nice and professional. The room was quiet and large. But, cleanliness was a problem in the kitchenette and the bathroom. For an extended stay place that advertises a kitchenette, it was very ill-equipped and the plates were sticky and didn’t feel very clean. We ended up using our own that we happened to have along.
Austin Airbnb – Wonderful place to stay with a great kitchen and super-fast wifi. The apartment feels surprisingly large and Linda has it so nicely decorated. My husband and I were very comfortable here.