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To Plan a Roadtrip

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

I traveled Canada and the United States more than once by car, I'm sharing with you my tips and tricks to set off on the road like a carefree nomad. And if you weren't planning on going on a roadtrip, it will probably give you a taste for it.

On the Alaska Highway in Canada at Kluane National Park & Reserve in the Yukon

How Much?

Although the roadtrip remains the most economical way to travel, it is always the first question that comes to mind ... How much does a roadtrip cost in Canada or the United States?

The answer varies, because it depends on what kind of person you are; but I would tell you that for 1 month of roadtrip, plan at least $ 3000, that's rule # 1! Then there are a lot of variations that we will see below that could cause your roadtrip to cost you more or less.

I entrust you with everything so that it costs you the minimum with the maximum fun.

Summary table: The prices!

Note: The prices are in CAD $ and the whole was compiled in 2016-2017.




4-Oil change (car)


6-Toll Charges



9-Gas cylinders for burner

10-Food (including restaurants, coffees,alcohol, ice)

11-ATM fees

12-Camping wood

13-National park passes



16-Showers & clothes washing

Prix roadtrip

* Camping wood: In that year, it was forbidden to make forest fires because of the season which had been extremely arid; plan for the same amount as in the United States.

** Entrances to national parks Canada: That year was the 150th anniversary of Confederation; all entrances to national parks were free. See below for park pass prices.

Will my car hold up ?!

It's typical, everyone will look at you weird when you tell them that you have decided to go on a roadtrip in your Toyota Yaris; But you will look at them weird because they just don't go!

My car (affectionately named Boumbo) Toyota Yaris 2007, on my first roadtrip in Western Canada in 2008. I still have my Yaris today and it is with it that I crossed the United States. and Canada as a whole in 2016 and 2017!

What I mean by that is that it doesn't matter which vehicle you choose for your roadtrip. What is important is that it is well maintained! It sounds like a piece of advice your aunt would give you right here (it's a bit true, haha), but sincerely, for the number of kilometers I have traveled VS the only bad luck that has happened to me: is a puncture! (on a mardy road in the middle of nowhere in Newfoundland, my car was allowed to puncture there, I say). (Hey… Yeah, I'm defending my car, because all real roadtrippers love their car like their best friend.) Which involves a “pre-trip” budget to get your vehicle checked out. By telling your mechanic that you plan to take a roadtrip, he will be able to tell you what to change and what not to be prepared. You always have the choice to listen to it or not.

List to do / do not forget: The car

1) Calculate the approximate number of KM you plan to cover.

(This is when Google Map becomes your right arm.)

2) Do an oil change before you go, then do it again every 7,000 km or so. Approximately $ 45 (each time).

3) Ask your mechanic for how many km your tires can still last without having problems? (New tires can last an average of 45,000 km.)

Approximate prices for new tires: $ 500.

Mon trajet pour le tournage de NOMADES, 35 jours aux États-Unis : 16823 km.
My trip for the filming of NOMADS (35 days in the United States: 16,823 km)

Rule # 2:
If you don't like to drive ... just don't go on a roadtrip !!! It's much further than you imagine ... or just don't piss off the people you're going with because of it. If you go alone, whether you like to drive or not, prepare yourself for an introspection out of the ordinary.

Route panoramique NL 430, près de l'Anse-aux-Meadows, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Scenic route NL 430, near Anse-aux-Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador


About your new oil addiction ...

Black gold will become your main concern ... you will want to get it before you even have breakfast ... essential to ask yourself how much it will cost you.

You need to know how much your car spends on gas per liter.

These are the numbers you will need.

1-Price per litres

2-Average car consumption

3-Trip Distance

4-Number of travellers

The numbers are in $ CAD for a Yaris consuming 7 liters per 100 km.

Current gasoline price in Canada (2017-2018): Between $ 0.86 per liter to $ 1.45 per liter.

As you can see the margin of error is very low, the gas for my roadtrip in Canada cost me only $ 100 more than the calculation above.

To find out how much your car spends per km: internet.

You know you're a real roadtripper when :

1-You are more tanned on the left arm than on the right arm;

2-Your water always tastes a little like iced tea because you fill your water cans at McDonald's;

3-You think that driving for 5 hours is a short day;

4-Your vital functions are now: Driving, coffee, eating, sleeping ...;

5-Your car always smells something ... unidentified;

6-You tell yourself that you should have brought a book to pass the time, but you remember that you cannot read while driving;

7-Google maps have no more secrets for you;

8- You took the time to load your iPod but you are already pissed to hear your tunes (typical symptom);

9-Your 4-seater car has now become a kitchen, a bedroom, a warehouse, and a wardrobe;

10-You have time to find 10 characteristics that make you a real roadtripper!

Vital Functions: Expanding Your Comfort Zone

In this case it's eat, sleep and drink.

What we like about a roadtrip is to realize how much we are able to widen our comfort zone; to then better appreciate the little things in everyday life !

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas,
Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas

Try to eat a 72oz steak in 1 hour at Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas, USA. If you succeed, It's free!

(The steak also includes sides such as breads, potatoes, salad, etc.etc.etc., Just to make sure you will never be able to finish it all!)

Eatin' & Drinkin'

Yes, even on a roadtrip, I'm the type to do groceries and store everything in a cooler, like when we go camping! For my part, I find that the challenge there is much greater. At some point, the way of life comes over you and that's what's great. It’s a bit more organization, but it’s a lot cheaper. Sometimes I eat at restaurants, it's obvious: trying restaurants is part of the trip, but most of the time, a burner, ice pack and cane opener are part of all my meals.

Quickly, $ 20 x (number of days) should give you a good approximation of how much it will cost you if you would like to do like me on a roadtrip.

This figure includes grocery stores, occasional eateries, the endless number of coffees, alcohol, and ice for the cooler.

Sleeping Like ''FODN''...

If we go on a roadtrip, it is necessarily to save as much money as possible

(in general) while traveling.

Quite frankly, it doesn't really worth it to plan where you're going to sleep each night, because roadtrippin' is probably the most unpredictable mode of travel! For all kinds of reasons ... physical, meteorological, or social, your itinerary will change as you go. Write the outline and let yourself go.

The best option seems to be sleeping in your car, and I tell you, it really is the best option to save money!

Lucky if you have the big budget to buy yourself a Westfalia ... But if you go with your car, there is always the famous question that torments you ...: can I sleep in my car for free without get disturbed in the middle of the night ?! My answer: You don't have the guts! ;)

Summary table: where did I sleep while roadtripping

#4 : in a street, I don't know really where : US : 4 nights ; Canada 21 nights!!!

Number of nights I got warned when I slept in my car: 0!

The right combination to save money on accommodation while travelling is a little mix of all of these. We must seek the best price while making your contacts rolling!

Rule # 3:
Impossible to know if it will be nice with the person(s) you will go with. Even when you go with yourself. So anyway, just let go, and you'll see.

Dormir en Tipi dans les Grasslands National Park en Saskatchewan : 45$ la nuit
Sleeping in a Tipi in the Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan: $ 45 per night

My Must do ?

You must have guessed. My must do is obviously to visit the national parks. The United States is a country full of contrasts, with its protected national parks and its huge cities!

In Canada, it's his history told in these places; we rediscover the desire to anchor ourselves to this beautiful, great welcoming nation. Worth the detour, and also, the price.

National Parks in USA

First of all, you have to distinguish between national park and state park.

Get the America The Beautiful Pass: It costs $ 115 (2016).

Link for purchase (2017):

It’s definitely worth it, because, on average, a single park entry costs $ 26 to $ 40.

If we do a quick calculation ... you go to four parks, and your pass has already paid off! (I personally visited twelve.)

However, it is valid for national parks only. That means, you have to pay the entrance fee for state-protected parks. Here are some popular ones that you still have to pay for admission: Hamilton Pool (tribal reserve, Texas), Oljato Monument Valley (tribal reserve, Utah), Valley of Fire (state park, Nevada), Antelope Island (park of 'State, Utah). Average price of $ 20 to $ 30.

For all the information on the national parks and states parks of the United States:

National Parks in Canada

Buy yourself the discovery pass including entry to 47 national parks: $ 67.70 (2018).

Same principle, it does not apply to provincial, municipal or private parks.

The Parks Canada site is extraordinarily well built, I invite you to visit it.

Final rule :
Despite all the organization you can do, the unexpected remains. To tell the truth, that's why you go on a roadtrip: to discover how far life will take you.

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