Pricing out a budget for your trip? Expenses you’ll least expect…

No, it’s not that big-foot sighting expedition. No, it’s not highway truck-stop strip clubs.

Alright, let’s say you’ve done your research, maybe found some great deals, and budgeted the following as expected:

Drink Expenses
Whatever this is, it’s brought to you by drink expenses
– Accommodations (hotels, hostels, campsites, etc)
– Transportation (flights, rental car, gas, parking fees, etc)
– Food estimate (and of course drinks)
– Entertainment (live music/shows, state parks/nature, museums/culture, etc)
– Some spending money set aside (souvenirs, gifts, whatever suits your fancy)

These are all generally normal expenses you’d plan for with an upcoming trip.

But wait.

What about all that stuff you need/want for your trip that you have to purchase before you leave?

Impulse buying for a trip/buying out of perceived necessity is a real thing.
A very real thing.
It’s such a real thing that it’s more real than my leftover bank account. (Exaggeration or not? You’ll never know.)

Shanna’s new favorite bikini, march 2015-present
I ran into this occurrence before my last adventure with Cait too. We were going on a cruise over our last ever Spring Break to Key West and Mexico. And what do you need for a tropical cruise? Cruise attire! I swear I spent countless hours and dollars finally replacing the bikinis and beach clothes I’ve been wearing to death since ’09.

Yeah, okay, you probably have shoes that aren’t that worn out. And yes, you have that bottle of shampoo that’s not that empty. And sure, you have a camera lens that’s goodbut are all of these what you and this trip need?

One correct response to this notion is “Why yes, I indubitably need new proper attire for my travels! Thank you kindly, Miss Ferris!”

Also acceptable is “Damn, you’re right. Good thing Walmart’s open 24 hours.”

Nevertheless, whatever the case may be, here’s what some of our prep expenses have been for this trip, before our trip even starts:

  1. Data usage
    unless you are the almighty chosen one with unlimited data (like Cait), time to suck it up and pay the overages (like Shanna)…because add-ons are just as much
  2. Batteries
    not just run-of-the-mill AA batteries, although those add up too, but also a back up camera battery, rechargeable batteries for my external camera flash, and the rechargeable battery charger
  3. Car power inverter 
    okay, I can’t even complain about this one because it’s seriously freaking awesome. 2 110V “wall” outlets, 1 USB port, another cigarette lighter – all together in a neat little console that fits in your cupholder and charges all your devices! nevertheless, another expense
  4. Car maintenance and accessories
    like a windshield visor for the forsaken desert heat stroke-inducing land of Southwest America. oh yeah, and maintenance so your car doesn’t spontaneously combust there either
  5. New/appropriate clothes
    I have this terrible little habit of being fine with what 4+ year old things I own, until the last minute when I realize I’m going to be photographed every day of this trip
  6. New/appropriate shoes
    see reasoning for no. 5, coupled with the fact that my go-to shoes just broke last week
  7. New/appropriate camera lens
    since you need the right lens for a road trip, or any traveling in general really
  8. Snack food
    because you need food before you get to the real food source
  9. Water/drinks
    to hydrate or not to hydrate? that’s never a question
  10. Toiletries
    why buy? ain’t nobody got room or upper-body strength for full size toiletries
  11. Atlas
    the physical kind of map, not the kind that will disappear as soon as you’re out of network coverage
  12. Emergency kit
    including, but not limited to: first-aid everything, mace/wasp spray, flashlight (not the app), pocket knife, etc
  13. External hard drive (another)
    I just take that many photos
  14. Business cards
    just do it
  15. Blank CDs
    does your car have aux cord capabilities? ours doesn’t! so we’re rockin it old school style with burning custom CD mixes

Essentially, it’s those things you mentally write off individually, but together they really add up and get ya. ie: buying or re-buying of mundane items, but in slightly different forms to fit your travels.

I’m not even going to tell you how much all the above added up to be.

Hopefully this will better prepare you all for the ever-beckoning trip-prep purchases (say that 10x fast), or at least get you thinking about unaccounted for costs!


Another expense catch you by surprise that we all should know about? Share it in a comment!

Much love,


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