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Our Travel Adventures

Welcome to the Adventures of Larry and Connie Farquhar.

2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure - Cost Breakdown

Budgeting

October 17, 2023 - When we start thinking of another large adventure, we are always concerned about the expense. I greatly appreciate it when other people share their cost breakdown, allowing us to better plan our own trip. If we've inspired you to have your own "Epic" adventure, I thought I'd share our expenses for this trip. I'll also share some of my thoughts on what we could have done better, or cheaper.

This 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure was really two separate adventures, traveled back-to-back.

Phase I

The first 16 days of this adventure was on Princess Cruises. Instead of paying for parking in Phoenix for two months, we rented a car one-way to the Phoenix Airport, and again one-way back to home when we returned. We flew from Phoenix, Arizona to London, England. We used airline miles to get a great deal on round-trip airfare. We then had a bus transfer with the cruise line from the airport to South Hampton, England for the cruise ship. Over the next 2 weeks, we cruised to Cornwall England, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. When we returned to England, we had another bus transfer to Heathrow Airport in London. We then caught an Uber from Heathrow Airport to McRent, our campervan rental company.

Phase II

Our First Night in the Campervan

This started our second phase of the trip - a 6-week self-driving/camping tour of England, Wales, and Scotland. During this phase, we stayed in a campsite (campground) almost every night. We ate at restaurants a few times, but most meals were in the camper. This required grocery shopping.  Because we had a rental van, we had to periodically purchase diesel. On average, diesel was around $7.50 (USD) a gallon. Luckily, the van got pretty good mileage (30+mpg). We ended up driving about 3,000 miles during this phase.

We purchased several souvenirs and took several hop-on hop-off bus tours. We paid entrance fees to several attractions. We used Uber ride sharing several times to transfer from the campsite to the city. The most expensive rides were the two trips between McRent camper rentals in Edmonton to Heathrow Airport ($200 USD total). At most sightseeing locations we stopped at with the campervan, there were parking fees.

We splurged a couple times with entertainment. We took the Warner Bros. "The Making of Harry Potter Movie" tour ($138 USD for both of us). We also attended the "Phantom of the Opera" show in London ($265 USD for both of us). Another splurge was playing Miniature Golf underground in the Slab Mines in Snowdonia ($61 USD for both of us). Connie also attended a purse making workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland ($90 USD). 

During our trip, we ended up buying a stool and electric heater for the van ($60 USD) which we ended up leaving there. On our last night, we stayed in a hotel near the airport. We used points we had saved with Expedia. The hotel was free.

Cost Breakdown

Category Expense (USD)
Cruise (Balcony with the Plus package) $6497
Campervan $5300
Airfare $503
Uber $325
Rental Car $160
Camping (43 nights) $1343
Groceries $765
Diesel and DEF $976
Sightseeing (ship excursions, buses, entrance fees) $1890
Dining Out $962
Shopping (souvenirs, etc.) $795
Fees (Parking and Laundry) $86
Activities $196
Entertainment $402

Final Thoughts

Looking back on the trip, we made the right choice on renting our small campervan. McRent was a good company to deal with. The van was the right size and was properly equipped. We did have a few small problems with the van, but nothing we couldn't deal with. The lesson learned was to personally do a thorough inspection and test of all features of your rental. Watching and listening to them doesn't insure it's working properly. Test it yourself (faucets, heaters, burners, fridge, etc.).

Instead of taking the cruise, we could have taken those two weeks and added Ireland to our self-drive. I originally planned on driving to Ireland, but 6-weeks for England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland would have been rushing it more than we did. Our 6-weeks of self-drive was a week in England (after the cruise), a week in Wales, 3 weeks in Scotland, and the last week in England returning to London. This schedule worked out fine for us. We didn't feel overly rushed, but could have done better on planning the nightly stop schedule.

Especially in Wales and Scotland, I planned the nightly stops too close together in some places. We would only need to drive 20 - 30 miles, less than an hour, to our next stop. These stops were too close together. The idea was to take our time and see the sights on these short drives. We did this, but it didn't take as long as we thought it would. Stops from 100 - 150 miles apart would have been better, allowing us to spend more nights at some spots.

I had made bookings (reservations) for the campsites (campgrounds) months in advance for every night, except for four nights. This was a good plan, as we didn't have to spend time finding a place to spend the night. However, it added extra expenses that could have been saved, especially in Scotland. Stopping and spending the night anywhere isn't allowed in England and Wales. There are ways to spend the night free at Pubs and a few other places for free, but you need to plan for those ahead of time. However, Scotland allows spending the night just about anywhere, if you have the landowner's permission. In Scotland, there are several pull-outs that allow you to stop and spend the night. Most of these are slightly off the roads. We could have spent another 10+ nights staying in these locations without paying for a campsite.

We didn't know what to expect with our rental van and the batteries. I knew there were no solar panels, and I was worried on how long the house batteries would last. Since the van didn't use much electricity, we found we could probably last three days on the batteries before they needed to be charged. We used one computer for about 4 - 6 hours each evening. Besides email and web surfing, we watched movies on the computer. We ran the computer through a small 200-watt inverter, plugged into a cigarette lighter. We only stayed for one night in a few locations without electrical hook-ups. We had zero electrical issues.

Tentative 2024 Adventure

That's a wrap for this adventure! Now it's time to start planning the 2024 Adventure to the Canadian Maritimes in our own (new) motorhome. 

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Week 8 (Final Week) - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure ...

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Comments 1

Guest
Guest - Beth Wallace on Monday, 23 October 2023 05:14
Thanks for sharing

Larry, thanks for sharing this info. I appreciate it. In August and September, we did a roadtrip from Atlanta to Newfoundland and for the first time, I 'sort of' kept track of how much money we spent. I used one credit card and put everything on it so I could keep up with what we spent. I had not done that in the past and just guessed at how much we spent. It is an eye opener when you keep track, but it was worth every penny. You will LOVE the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

Larry, thanks for sharing this info. I appreciate it. In August and September, we did a roadtrip from Atlanta to Newfoundland and for the first time, I 'sort of' kept track of how much money we spent. I used one credit card and put everything on it so I could keep up with what we spent. I had not done that in the past and just guessed at how much we spent. It is an eye opener when you keep track, but it was worth every penny. You will LOVE the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
Guest
Tuesday, 28 May 2024