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Old 10-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
Old-n-slo OP
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
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Alaska Budget?

Hoping to ride my old KLR up to Alaska from Michigan next summer. A cousin from Lithuania wants to join me so I figured I'd shop fora second KLR that I could sell on returning. My past travels have always been "as cheaply as possible" and I can't say I have a good idea of what it cost me per day. As little as possible, I guess.

Anyway, my cousin needs to plan and save for next summer. He asked me "What are you budgeting for the trip?" WTFDIK? As little as possible, I guess.

I'm smart enough to be able to figure out an estimate of gas costs over the miles anticipated. But how about other costs? if it's raining and miserable, I like to sleep indoors. I may do my breakfast but eat dinner at a local joint most nights.

So if we ride from Michigan and spend, say, five weeks to get to Inuvik or Prudhoe Bay and back, how much cash does he have to have in his shoe to cover costs? How do I make a reasonable estimate?

Thanks!

JohnD
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:52 PM   #2
Tucson Jim
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On my trips I figure $100/day for gas, food, lodging and extras. Nice round number and always comes out about right. ymmv.

of course if you stealth camp, eat off the land and out of dumpsters, siphon gas at night, etc. you can probably do it for less.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #3
dirtybike
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Rode NYS to Glacier NP, then north along the rockies until catching the Alcan to Alaska two years ago. Hotel'd it the whole way. Figure in Canada, you'll average about $100 - $130 per night for a decent hotel. I may have caught one or two cheaper. Depends if you are in a resort area.

Fuel costs will vary by the mpg your bike gets and how many miles you do in a day. You can figure out the total miles and do the math. Fuel is more expensive, and sold by the liter in Canadian dollars. I did some 600 and 800 mile days so I would see $75-$100CA go in to the fuel tank of my 1150GS.

My trip was about three weeks, 12,000+ miles. I figure that I went through an average of $200 per day. Less miles per day, better fuel mileage, splitting the cost of the hotel, and camping can cut the daily costs considerably.

Six pack of beer $13-$15.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
Wreckman
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Rode from Pa. last year. Remember when you get in the remote areas gas will cost you 6.00 per gal and even more. Canada is very expensive for everything even a good cigar let alone a 6 pack. I was gone 3 week and hoteled every night and it cost me just under 4k. Best money I ever spent. i will do it again in a couple of years. Have fun.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
The Chief (tm)
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I rode SF to Anchorage in May of 2012; made very specific budgeting estimates, kept exact spending records. I spent a total of $1,159 on food, gas, and lodging in the ten days after going in through Abbotsford, BC and arriving in Anchorage. Mostly motels, some camping, not once was cheated on food & bev. YMMV on the KLR vs. my ST1100, plus gas prices probably different now, but there are definitely inexpensive (yet perfectly adequate) ways to do it. Drop me a PM if any interest.
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:16 AM   #6
revitup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucson Jim View Post
On my trips I figure $100/day for gas, food, lodging and extras. Nice round number and always comes out about right. ymmv.

of course if you stealth camp, eat off the land and out of dumpsters, siphon gas at night, etc. you can probably do it for less.
+1 try for $100 per day and that includes gas, camp site (split in two) big breakfast no lunch energy bars and 50/50 camp and bought dinner.
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:20 AM   #7
jdrocks
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Originally Posted by revitup View Post
+1 try for $100 per day and that includes gas, camp site (split in two) big breakfast no lunch energy bars and 50/50 camp and bought dinner.
$100/day used to work, but it's not realistic for most now. everything is expensive in Canuckistan, and if covering some miles in the course of a day, it's easy to drop $75 into the tank, more if the conditions are poor or a 700 mile leg.

so $75/fuel + $20/breakfast + ...you get the idea.

budget for your motos too, wear items aren't free, and some replacements will take place enroute.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:10 AM   #8
OldSilverFox
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Trip Planning Cost worksheet

Another inmate WQFTruckster put together a Trip Planning worksheet that might be usefull. I've used it on a number of occasions and found it helpful.

The link is here:http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=408298
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:05 PM   #9
dksd39
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While I will begin with saying I have not done an alaska trip (planned for the summer of 2015) I will say the cost is very individual and what some would find minimal some will find expensive. To me a lot of added cost comes from a time table that can be driven by many factors. Some will turn high miles and be able to burn more fuel than I would burn in 4-5 days. Personally I have a large reserve budget for the unforeseen but my daily budget is $80 which I think is more than I will actually need. Considering my calculated average daily mileage will be @200 my fuel bill will only average $15 a day. Additionally, I will be camping predominantly which will free up money for hotel days.

Have a safe trip
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Old 10-20-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
jdrocks
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Originally Posted by dksd39 View Post
Considering my calculated average daily mileage will be @200 my fuel bill will only average $15 a day.
better plan a route that doesn't include Canada, 'cause i don't think your fully prepped and loaded moto gets 80mpg...or more if you happen to fill the tank with some of that $7/gal fuel i found up there this season.
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:06 PM   #11
dksd39
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Location: Hollywood, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
better plan a route that doesn't include Canada, 'cause i don't think your fully prepped and loaded moto gets 80mpg...or more if you happen to fill the tank with some of that $7/gal fuel i found up there this season.
LOL..dont see that as an issue as over half of my trip is in the lower 48 and since my fuel calculation currently uses a number higher than I am paying I have a built in margin. On most days I will not come even close to $80 ...regardless of gas price the only time I will go over my daily budget is when staying in a hotel...otherwise gas price simply will not make me go over. Granted most do not have an open schedule that is only limited by winter lol and most will not camp as often as I choose.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:14 AM   #12
Old-n-slo OP
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSilverFox View Post
Another inmate WQFTruckster put together a Trip Planning worksheet that might be usefull. I've used it on a number of occasions and found it helpful.

The link is here:http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=408298
Great tool! Thanks for everybody's input.
My KLR gets really shitty gas mileage at travel speeds but I'm hoping to rebuild my spare carb and swap it in for some improvement. Doing the Trans Lab and riding down to Guatemala showed me gasoline was my single biggest daily expense. Maybe I spend too much time in the saddle.
JohnD
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:24 AM   #13
GSF1200S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revitup View Post
+1 try for $100 per day and that includes gas, camp site (split in two) big breakfast no lunch energy bars and 50/50 camp and bought dinner.
I went for $50 a day. I spent about $100 per day. Sometimes id spend less, but then with maintenance and tires and self maintenance, etc, it works out to be about that much. Alaska and the North during tourist season is expensive and they will nickel and dime you to death.

As soon as I got out of the North, my total dropped. Prolly $60-$70 a day.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:23 PM   #14
skierd
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Travel costs have gone up at least 25% since 2011, at least in my experience.

Hotels will be $90+ a night once you cross the border. Hell, Destruction Bay's motel cost me $85 in early April, well outside of tourist season and far too cold to be that far north on 2 wheels. Camping will save you a LOT of money, as will staying with friends. Consider state parks, finding ADV'rs, and hot springs with cabins, also the Eagle Claw in Tok.

Plan $10 for breakfast, $10-15 for lunch, and $12-20 for dinner unless you're cooking for yourself. So an easy $40 on food per day. Don't forget snacks and vices.

Plan to spend $300+ on tires, unless you drag them up with you. Won't matter of you $hip tire$ ahead or buy tire$ in AK. I recommend AK Cycleworks in Fairbanks for Heidenaus, The Motorcycle Shop or Alaskan Leather in Los Anchorage, and running Heidenau's as they last forever.

Gas in Alaska isn't much worse than the NW or Californistan. Canadian gas sucks and is 2x the price. Be glad you're not driving a loaded RV getting 8mpg...

Its only money, and travel makes is one of the best things to waste it on, so in the end worry less about the cost and worry more about getting on the road.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:08 PM   #15
Alcan Rider
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In my experience, it's better to calculate costs per mile rather than costs per day. Simple example: Hypothetical 2000 mile trip. Doing it at 200 miles/day means 10 days to complete. That pace lets you putt along at an economical pace, getting 50 mpg (Remember, this is all hypothetical.) So gas consumed is only 40 gallons total, and at a hypothetical price of $3/gallon totals up to $120, or a measly $12/day.

But in that 10 days you have eaten perhaps 30 meals, and even if camping half the time, have stayed in a motel 5 times. If we allow half the meals to be eaten in restaurants at an average cost of $5 each (good luck, when you get up north!) and half eaten in camp for $5/day, that comes to $100 for food. If you're lucky enough to find motel rooms for an average price of $75/night (you're traveling during tourist season, aren't you?) that will come to $375. Total cost for the 10 days of travel: $595 or $59.50/day or $ 0.2975/mile.

Now for the way I travel: 2000 miles is about an easy 3 day trip. Moving along briskly I'll average 35 mph so my cost for fuel will go up, with 57.14 gallons consumed. At the hypothetical cost of $3/gallon that amounts to $171.43, an increase of over $50 above the slower travel in the first example. But I'll get to stay in a motel all three nights, and can even splurge for an average $90/night room - totaling $270. The number of meals are likewise reduced for a total of 9, but no Mickey D's for this traveler, I'll dine upscale for $10/meal, including tip. That's $90 for food. So my total is now $531.43 or $ 0.2657/mile, just a little less than the first example.

In the first example the rider traveled economically for just under $60/day. In the second, the big spender went through $177 and change every 24 hours. Yet the cost per mile was very close to the same. Granted, this is simplified greatly, so it won't reflect actual trip costs, but it does illustrate that costs per day are not the ideal way to calculate total trip costs. There are too many variables between riders and their travel habits. Some have a short time to go a long distance; some have all summer to do the same. Costs per day will be all over the chart; cost per mile will be much closer.

Here in Alaska, even on my KLR I figure $ .10/mile for gas alone. Add in food and incidentals, and it goes up from there, sometimes quite rapidly. Even camping can add more than expected to costs, as making/breaking camp takes time that could have been used to make miles. That means more days on the road, adding to the total (if getting miles behind me is the purpose of the trip). Personally, I usually will allow $ .25/mile for trips to/from the South 48. That will generally leave me a little to buy new tires when I get back home, or halfway through a trip if it's going to be over 10,000 or so miles.
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