Two and Half Days in Arizona – Road Trip Costs

ItemCost (CAD $)
Accommodations and Transportation
     Nissan Rogue Car Rental  72.66
     AirBnB Campsite Rental  60.23
     Hotel Aspen (breakfast included)161.57
     Gas (duration of trip)  66.27
Meals
     In N’ Out  31.08
     Groceries from Trader’s Joe  27.18
     MartAnne’s Cafe – Dinner  61.22
     Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles 63.36
Flights
     Maria’s Flight (covered as part of extended company
     training)
  00.00
     Anson’s FlightN/A*
     Angelo’s FlightN/A*

*These items are marked as N/A as its been quite a while and unfortunately we never did get a chance to update each other on the flight costs! If we ever find them again, we’ll be sure the update the post with the additional costs.

For our Two and a Half Days in Arizona, our group of three shared a total road trip cost of $543.57 CAD (excluding flight costs). On a per night basis, this equates to $90.56 CAD/ night per person. Compared to the Quebec Road Trip Costs, (which worked out to $75 CAD /night per person) there was an increase in expenditure. This costed 30% more than the Quebec Road Trip, but given a smaller travelling group, and the additional costs of currency conversion, the added expenditure for this trip was understandable.

Our spending comprised of the following categories:

  • Accommodation $227.84 (42%)
  • Transportation and Gas (excluding flights) $132.89 (24%)
  • Meals $182.84 (34%)

Accommodation and transportation made up a whopping 66% the total shared expenses we had. But given that our focus for this trip was sight seeing and hiking, this is certainly not bad at all. In fact, I’d say that by spending majority of our trip on accommodations and transportation meant we were really focused on doing low-cost vacation activities.

What I Learned From My Road Trip

As this was my second road trip documented on the blog, this trip strengthened the idea that it is definitely possible to keep trip costs to well below $150/night while still have our days filled with fulfilling and meaningful adventures. Some the key learning that came from this particular trip are highlighted below.

1. Pair Work Travel with Vacation Travel

When work pays you to fly you to a new location, its always worth investigating with your company to see if you can delay your return flight back home and pair a vacation afterwards – saving you a huge flight cost.

2. Unique Experiences can Save on Accommodation Costs

If you and your group are willing to try sleeping on the desert grounds in a tent or in a car, your accommodation costs can be brought way down. If you scroll back up to our costs breakdown, you’ll see that our campground rental was about $60.00 CAD, less than 40% the cost of the AirBnB that we paid for the next night. What I really love about our group is that we are always open to trying new and potentially more ‘difficult’ sleeping accommodations for at least a portion of our trip. We think it builds character, and opens up unexpected opportunities to experience things we might not otherwise have experienced. If anything, it makes for great return stories when we share it back with our friends back home!

3. Grocery Stores are your Best Friends

Even if you stay at places without a kitchen, its still worth visiting the city’s local grocery stores for some essentials like bottled water, packed snacks and packable fruits and spreads. These essentials are great for when you’re in a pinch, or when an adventure takes you beyond regular food hours. By purchasing these at grocery stores, you’re less likely to eye those convenience stands, food stalls, or tourist gift shops for marked up prices of foods. Bananas, a loaf of bread, and cookie butter really saved our group from hunger multiple times on this trip (hello pre-sunrise morning hunger, post 6 hour hike hunger, and long night drives post-dinner hotel check-ins).

Two and a Half Days in Arizona – A Road Trip Itinerary

Sunrise at Mather's Point - Grand Canyon South Rim

The last time I saw was in Arizona, I was five. All I remember was being crammed six people per bench inside the belly of a sunny-hued Hummer roaring up the Grand Canyon in what felt like “melting your face off” heat. 

My takeaway was that Arizona was “impressively hot”.

Coming back to Arizona, with a better equipped tolerance for heat, has most definitely opened up my eyes and realized that there is more to this state than viewing the Grand Canyon from the Visitor’s Centre and dying of heat.

If you’re trying to figure out what to do for two or three days in Arizona, then grab a rental car, a tent, some comfy shoes and let’s get hiking with us! We captured the Milky Way, saw the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, hiked Devil’s Bridge, marveled at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and more in our three day road trip in Arizona.

*Note* We did not see the Antelope Canyon but we can promise you that we saw quite a few other beautiful sights that’s worth considering!

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Our AirBnB Host Cancelled On Us the Day Before We Arrived

Life certainly comes with its fair share of hiccups! One such hiccup is learning how to deal with unexpected cancellations when you’re travelling – like an AirBnB host cancelling the night before because of rats in their air ducts. Hiccups like this can be stressful – especially when last minute hotel deals in large cities come with hefty price tags and compromises. It might seem stressful when it happens, but there’s always something positive to be found!

For us, we ended up in a motel that was $50 more per night, but thankfully had free parking and it was located in a better a location than our cancelled AirBnB. We had to forego the luxury of a bigger bed and nicer furniture, but with the pluses of its central location, no parking fees, I think we really lucked out with our last minute booking arrangements!

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Road Trip to Chicago Day TWO – Around Millennium Park

This post is an additional post to the Road Trip to Chicago From Toronto – Four Day Itinerary.

Day Two focuses on what we did in and around Millennium Park for the day:

  • 10:00 AM – Good morning! Let’s wake up, find breakfast, and shower!
  • 12:00 PM – Walk to the Millennium Park then head across to Maggie Daley’s Play Garden located just North of the Millennium Park
  • 2:00 PM – Walk to Buckingham Fountain
  • 3:00 PM – Eat at Halal Guys
  • 4:00 PM – Arrive at the Navy Pier and purchase tickets for River Architecture Tour (6:30 PM)
  • 8:50 PM – Deep Dish Pizza at Giordano’s Pizza
  • 10:00 PM – Arrive at John Hancock Tower and purchase CityPass
  • 10:30 PM – Signature Lounge (views + drinks)
  • 12:00am – That’s a wrap for Day Two in Chicago!

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Road Trip to Chicago from Toronto – Four Day Itinerary

B&W "Bean" in Chicago (Cloud Gate)

You’re going on a road trip to Chicago from Toronto? …. You should always takes the Detroit-Windsor tunnel over the Ambassador’s Bridge

…were the first word’s that my friend, and fellow SYDE classmate uttered as soon as I casually mentioned that I was going to go on a road trip to Chicago from Toronto.  According to his co-workers who regularly traverse the Detroit-Windsor border, the tunnel is hands down better than the Ambassador’s Bridge. The line is shorter, it is cheaper than the bridge, and the border checkpoints are faster.

So far, I’ve been really lucky that with each destination I go, someone I know either knows another person who has made the same trip before, or has done the trip themselves as well. Regardless of the situation, I’ve always received warm words of advice that has made each vacation smoother and more enjoyable. Any advice to get to our destination a little faster was much appreicated – especially since driving from Toronto to Chicago is already an 850km  (~530 mi) journey one way.

Kent was off in Vancouver during the same week I decided to go to Chicago and Anson was well… doing whatever he does best in Seattle (most likely climbing mountains) so this road trip was another SYDE Dash from the main group again.

This was an aggressively planned “see as much of Chicago in four days while breaking Maria’s 2 hour driving limit threshold”.

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