travel budget how much it cost

How Much Does it Cost to Travel Western US for 10 Days?

Calculating a travel budget for your West Coast USA trip can be quite difficult as prices vary a lot – it largely depends on your accommodation and food allowance: you can take a cheap trip to the West Coast, or on the other hand, you can spend more than expected in your Western US tour.

In this post, we will help you estimate how much your West Coast USA itinerary will cost, whether if you travel for 10 (as we did), 15, or 20 days.



One of the most important expenses to consider is flight cost to get to the West Coast. The three main airports to fly in and out of the West Coast are Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

These three cities are quite far from each other, so I recommend planning your itinerary per preferences before buying your flights. For this, we have written this guide for planning the best West Coast travel itinerary.

If you don’t have too much time, I recommend buying a one-way flight into one city and out another, as this will give you more opportunities to discover interesting places.

In our case, we took an inbound flight from New York to Las Vegas and an outbound flight from San Francisco to New York.

New York – Las Vegas flight cost = €245 per person

San Francisco – New York flight cost = €220 per person

Obviously, flight cost will depend on your starting location. In terms of when to buy your flight, I recommend booking approximately three months in advance. Statistically (and from experience), it is usually the cheapest time to buy a flight.


The next expense we have to consider in our west coast US travel budget is a rental car.

Public transportation is not exactly the strength of the United States, especially in the West Coast. Generally, it is almost nonexistent, so the best way to travel to the West Coast is by renting a car.

We hire a rental car in Las Vegas for €380. In addition, we were charged a €45 drop-off fee for returning it at a different airport. And, of course, we bought full coverage insurance for the 10 days for €200. Don’t skimp on car insurance even if that means an increase to your US West Coast travel budget.

Total cost for transportation = €725 (rental car for 10 days)

travel budget west coast usa

Remember that you need a credit card to pick up the rental car. Check out our recommendations on the best travel credit cards.


Use a car rental platform like DiscoverCars, which offers significantly better prices and conditions than the car rental companies themselves. We’ve recently used this website to search for rental cars and saw that there were vehicles in very good condition with comprehensive insurance. It really gave us peace of mind.


While gasoline is more expensive on the west coast than the rest of the US, it is still considerably cheaper than non-oil producing countries.

On our 10-day West Coast trip, we drove more than 2,400 miles (4,000 km) and spent just $173 (€150) on gasoline.

Total cost for gasoline = €150 (4,000 km)


If you are from one of the countries on this list, you do not need a visa to visit the United States, only an electronic travel authorization called “ESTA”.

If you want to receive the ESTA directly in your email and within a period of 6 hours I recommend you complete the process on iVisa.

Total cost for the ESTA = €30 / person


It is more important than most other places to have travel insurance for the United States. Although I always recommend purchasing the travel insurance wherever you go, the healthcare cost in this country is very high. In the unfortunate event of having to be hospitalized, your bill can easily exceed $10,000 without insurance. It is recommended to have an insurance policy with extraordinary coverage (never consider anything that covers below $300,000).

You can get the best quality-price insurance with Heymondo.

Total cost for travel insurance = 0.95 x 22.77 = € 22 / person


Depending on your preferences, accommodation on the West Coast can be quite cheap or very expensive.

The price of a motel room for two people will be around €150, and approximately €250 if it is a hotel.

Alternatively, camping is very cheap and the West Coast is a paradise for outdoor lovers. For about €20, you can pitch your tent overlooking amazing sites. In addition, there are free campsites around the US, even if you travel in a caravan! This is one of the best ways to travel for cheap.


Have a look at this website to find what’s around.

We only camped throughout our trip, some paid campsites inside the parks, and others free. In total, we spent $75.

Total cost for accommodation = €32 / person

Here you will find the best accommodations for the West Coast.

  • HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel: Hostel in the heart of San Francisco that has both shared and private rooms at a very low price. Free WIFI. Includes breakfast and a kitchen for those who want to cook.
  • Buena Vista Motor Inn: Hotel with complimentary parking in the middle of Lombard street. Wi-Fi and breakfast included. Totally safe area to walk at night. Just a short walk from Fisherman’s Wharf.

Guide on where to stay in San Francisco

  • Venetian: Venice-themed casino resort with gondoliers included.
  • Circus Circus: Casino hotel with circus theme, with its own indoor amusement park that runs throughout the year.
  • Stratosphere: Casino hotel that includes vertigo attractions at 350 meters high.
  • Bellagio: Inspired by Italy, it is one of the most luxurious resort and casinos in Las Vegas.
  • Paris Las Vegas: Perfect casino hotel for honeymoon or couple trips with miniature Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
  • Excalibur: You will find yourself in the Middle Ages in this casino resort within its castles.
  • Planet Hollywood: Modern hotel and casino where you will feel the essence of the West Coast.

Guide on where to stay in Las Vegas

  • Samesun Venice Beach: The best option if you want to enjoy the Venice boardwalk and its beach. They have bicycle rental service.

Guide on where to stay in Los Angeles

If we visit the South Rim, the most touristic edge of the Grand Canyon, it is quite important to stay in the Grand Canyon Village, since two of the main attractions of this jewel of Western US is their sunrise and sunset. So, the closer we are to the edge, the easier it will be for us.

We camped in the Grand Canyon, at the Mather Campground on the South Rim.

If you prefer to stay at a hotel, all accommodations at Grand Canyon Village are run by the company Xanterra,  and you can make reservations on whose website.

Guide on where to stay in Grand Canyon

  • Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell: This hotel is located in the center of Page. As it is highly valued, you will have to book it well in advance, since rooms tend to run out being such a small and tourist place at the same time.
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: Without a doubt the best hotel in Page, both the price and the charm of its rooms. It is not in the center but is closer to Horseshoe Bend.

Guide on where to stay in Page

Bryce is one of the best places to camp in the Western US. In addition to two conventional campsites (North Campground and Sunset Campground), there are 12 backcountry campsites.

If camping is not your thing and you prefer to stay in one of the best hotels in the West, then I recommend the Best Western Ruby’s Inn, a historic hotel at the gates of the national park that also has a camping area.

Guide on where to stay in Bryce

  • Bumbleberry Inn: One of the few hotels near Zion whose price is below $200 a night and with a great value.
  • La Quinta Inn and Suites: Another hotel that also has good prices and is highly rated near Zion, known for its buffet breakfast that includes delicious homemade waffles.

Guide on where to stay in Zion

If you want to enjoy dawn with the best views of the valley, I recommend that you camp in the Monument Valley. The campground is called The View Campground and the only way to reserve it is by calling +1 435-727-5802.

This campsite belongs to The View Hotel, a hotel run by the Navajo Indians with equally amazing views.

Guide on where to stay in Monument Valley

  • Hotel Santa Barbara: One of the best hotels in Santa Barbara with a great location in the city center and very close to the beach. Includes Wi-Fi, breakfast and free parking.
  • The Eagle Inn: On the beach of Santa Barbara and in a beautiful historic building. The price is a bit higher but it includes a jacuzzi in the room.

We decided to camp at Camp 4 during our visit to Yosemite. Here, the hippy movement was born in the 60s and spread throughout the United States.

However, if you don’t want to camp, don’t worry. There are very good hotels in Yosemite. Some of the best are:

Guide on where to stay in Yosemite

  • Staypineapple at Hotel Z: One of the best hotels in downtown San Diego. Modern design and quite affordable. It offers free bicycles to its customers.
  • HI-San Diego Point Loma Hostel: Hostel with shared rooms, very good price and located next to the beach. Ideal if you visit San Diego with the intention of meeting other travelers.

The best place to stay in Joshua Tree is in one of its campsites. There are 4 campsites throughout the national park that can be reserved, and another 4 first-come, first-served campground. All the information regarding the Joshua Tree campgrounds can be found on the National Parks Service website.

  • The Inn at Death Valley:This Oasis in the middle of the desert is the most luxurious resort you’ll find here. Refresh between your palm garden and its spring water pool and relax in your spa area.
  • The Ranch at Death Valley:Run by the same company as The Inn at Death Valley, it is the familiar and informal complement of the previous one. If you want to relax in a unique environment but without too many pretensions, this accommodation is for you.
  • Panamint Springs Resort: This resort offers both tourist resorts and lodging in tents. It’s close to the west entrance of the national park, from where you’ll have stunning views of the sand dunes.

Guide on where to stay in Death Valley

There are no motels inside Mojave National Preserve. The only way to stay is camping. There are two family campsites, Hole-in-the-Wall Campground and Mid Hills Campground. Both are first-come, first-served campgrounds.

There is also the possibility of doing backcountry camping. If you want more information, check the US National Parks Service website.

There are no campsites or hotels within Arches National Park. The best thing to do is to stay somewhere close to the entrance:

  • Red Cliffs Lodge: All rooms have views of the Colorado River. In addition, you have access to a private living room with a fridge and microwave. This accommodation is the best you’ll find if you visit Arches National Park from the west. Do not miss its western cinema museum.
  • Under Canvas Moab: This accommodation is located east of Arches National Park and offers already pitched tents, some with private bathrooms. If you are not a fan of the camps, but you would like to try, this is your place. In addition to the bed linen, the hotel will lend you towels and a flashlight. A very comfortable way to learn a little about the American camper culture.
  • Montecito Sequoia Lodge: This rustic mountain accommodation offers a place to relax, surrounded by lakes, forests and rugged peaks. It has a restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet.
  • Bearpaw High Sierra Camp: This established camp has 6 canvas tents with wooden floors. The views of the surroundings are amazing. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price of the accommodation.
  • Wuksachi Lodge: It is the emblematic hotel of Sequoia, an amazing mountain hut made of stone and cedar located in the heart of the park, surrounded by a powerful sequoia forest and towering peaks of the sierra.

As we commented, if you visit Havasu Falls, it is compulsory to spend at least one night in one of its campsites, since you cannot make excursions exclusively for one day. Book both the tour and the camping permit from the official website of the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

There are only 9 hotels within Yellowstone National Park, so in peak tourist season, most travelers only find accommodation outside the park.

You can find the best options on our guide on where to stay in Yellowstone National Park, but my favorite hotels are:


Like accommodation, your choice of sustenance can make your trip cheap or very expensive. It is important to consider this for your West Coast America trip budget.

If you want to eat at nice restaurants, it will be $15 – 20 for breakfast and $20 – 30 for lunch/dinner per person.

Nonetheless, there are two ways to spend much less on food. One is fast food, as it is the cheapest option in the United States. You can easily get breakfast, lunch, and dinner for about $5 each.

The other option that I recommend, would be cooking your own food.

If you are going to camp, I suggest taking a Jetboil like the one we recommended in this post to include with your adventure backpack.

We made a $185 grocery run upon our arrival in Las Vegas and cooked throughout our trip. One of the mornings, we splurged and enjoyed a breakfast buffet at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel for $24 per person.

Total expenses in sustenance = €100 / person


In addition to flights and rental car, tours and activities were the next top expenses of our trip to the West Coast. What you spend on activities along the West Coast will depend entirely on your itinerary.

In our case, the first major expense was buying the America the Beautiful annual pass, so we could get access to all national parks and some state parks for one flat $85 fee. Once you have planned your West Coast itinerary, check if it is cheaper to get independent tickets or the annual pass. Here is a list of all the recreation areas which is included in the pass. This saved us a significant amount of money on entry fees.

Other major expenses include optional tours, such as the ones we took at the Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon.

We took a tour of both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Dani paid $130 for a photo tour and I paid $74 for the standard one at the Upper Antelope Canyon. The Lower Antelope Canyon cost us $27 each.

To end, we booked a Grand Canyon helicopter tour that was $150 per person. This tour made the US West Coast trip a bit more expensive, but it was completely worthy. I recommend you to read our experience.

Total activities expenses = €270 / person

Cost for a 10-day West Coast road trip = €880 + FLIGHTS

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Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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19 replies on “How Much Does it Cost to Travel Western US for 10 Days?

  1. Jess says:

    This is a great itinerary! Thanks for putting this together to share your experiences and tips! Me and my boyfriend are looking to travel a similar route, although fly into LAX and out of San Fran (We are from the UK). Would late April be good weather to travel this route? We would look to rent a van to sleep in too 🙂 Thanks again 🙂

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Jess,

      Late April is definitely a good time for this route 😉

      Just bear in mind that depending on conditions you can possibly find some snow in Yosemite and the Tioga pass.*
      Apart from that, you’ll enjoy the landscapes with fewer people compared to the summertime.

      Enjoy your trip!


  2. Kara says:

    Thank you for this! My partner & I would like to fly into Denver CO from Phila PA. Then rent an RV & road trip to a few parks on our way to Santa Rosa CA. Then hopefully drop the RV in CA & fly back to PA from San Francisco. We’d have around 2 weeks. Would love to go Antelope Canyon, Yellowstone, Joshua tree, Roswell New Mexico etc.
    How much more would it cost to do this with the RV considering more gas, still needing to pay to park at campgrounds sometimes but not other accommodations & having access to a kitchen for most food?Not sure how to figure out this expense. Thanks for the tips!

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Kara,

      If you want to travel on a budget I recommend you to rent your RV here. You can rent direccly from the RV owner but you will need to leave the RV at the same place you picked it up. If you don’t want to do so, then I reccommend you to check this website.

      You will spend a little more in gas but save a tone in accommodation.


  3. Tal Heymann says:

    Apologies I can see that someone has already posted a question regarding doing the trip in October. A friend and I are planning on following your road trip the last two weeks in October. We were planning on staying in motels not camping. Will the weather still be good enough to enjoy the hikes etc?

  4. James says:

    Very interesting and helpful read, thank you very much!!!

    looking to do a road trip similar to this in October time. Do you think October would be too late in the year? Would most likely be camping most of it.


    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi James,
      I would try to go at the beginning of the month to make sure it is fine but I don’t think you are going to have a problem. Maybe too chilly in Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Yosemite but you should be fine.

      Let me know if you have any other question.

  5. Jordan says:

    Wow, I’m shocked by how little you spent in gas. We will be driving the whole way from TN so we will be going 2400 minimum one way and had estimated around $800 for gas to get there and back. I’m hoping that we could get away with spending closer to $400 or $500 instead.

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Jordan,

      Take into account that the last months the gas price has increased a lot! I traveled to the West Coast USA the summer of 2017 and the gas price was very low. I live in the East Cost and in Utah, Arizona and California the price was even cheaper, so I could full the tank with 25 bucks. Take into account also that we were driving a small car.

      Let me know if you have any other question 🙂


    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Jordan!
      We didn’t spend too much even though we drove many miles.
      In any case, driving from TN and back is gonna be much longer but I’m sure it’ll be an awesome experience.
      Gas was also cheaper in 2017 than now, which also helped with the expenses 😉

  6. fiona says:

    Thank you so much for all of this… hoping to travel in 2020 with my 2 boys so any tips are greatly appreciated. Esp the food costs etc.

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Fiona,
      This is a great gift to your boys 🙂 I am sure you are going to enjoy it. Do you plan to cook your own food or going to restaurants? If you eat out consider $10 per breakfast, $20 per lunch and $30 per dinner.


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