My husband, doggie and I took a ten day, long week’s vacation down to the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina a few weeks ago. The last of the remaining bills have come in so I am ready to tally up how much this exclusive long week cost us. We traveled via our RV and I am happy to say our self-containment style of a vacation did not disappoint. We prepared very well. Not once did we have to have a meal out in any restaurant or fast food joint which was a big asset in keeping our traveling costs down. We didn’t even have to stop for a cup of coffee. We were totally self-contained and I packed enough ready-made coffee brews in glass jars to keep us caffeinated for our entire trip.

You would think that our biggest cost would have been a gallon of gas, but it wasn’t. Prices down south were only $2.85 a gallon compared to the $3.15 we had to pay back up north in New York. Nor was our daily RV park rental site costs expensive. Considering that we stayed in resort-styled settings, the approximate daily charge of $119.28 on average was reasonable. No, the biggest shock was the cost of the tolls we were charged as we traveled from New York, thru New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland till we reached the North Carolina shoreline. We were charged $74.65 in tolls for our round trip! I thought this was outrageous and almost highway robbery! At the toll booths in NC, there was a blaring sign alerting vehicle travelers what the bridge or tunnel fees would be AND those prices tripled if you were driving on a weekend! Since we arrived on a Saturday and left on a Saturday we were charged triple both times. Outrageous!

One night stay in Chesapeake Bay Resort $115.49

Seven nights in Cape Hatteras NC Resort $835.02

One night stay in Washington DC Journey $70.44

Round Trip Gas $356.28

Round Trip Tolls $74.65

Milk and Ice Creme $22.06 (I do not include groceries since that is covered under normal monthly budget)

TOTAL 10 DAY VACATION COSTS: $1,473.94

Special Note: I did host a BBQ for 3 additional people, which I expected and therefor prepared for. We grilled both turkey and beef hamburgers with all the trimmings, I made a side green bean salad and we had watermelon for dessert. I also provided either flavored seltzer or individual bottles of water as the beverage. In turn, hubby and I were invited back to their rental house for two nights dinners. The first night I provided drinks (Cosmopolitan’s) for everyone (there were ten additional guests) I went through an entire bottle of Absolute Citron Vodka! The second night I provided home made cole slaw, marinated grilled chicken and a boxed red wine (Merlot). I had prepared for all of this in advance and didn’t have to purchase anything additional. Except a bottle of milk for hubby’s morning coffee (he didn’t like the evaporated milk or the dry milk mix) and we went out twice for ice cream. Those treats cost us an additional $22.06 which I have noted above.

Was this a cost-effective vacation? Were our costs reasonable? Yes, if you compare them to staying at a hotel, paying air fare and paying for all your meals out. Many resorts also charge amenity fees as high as $10 to $20 per day extra! Also, since we were right on the beach, we didn’t have to pay any additional parking fees. Some beach locations charge as much as $20 to $30 per day just to park your car at a beach! We didn’t have any of that. My only complaint (and it was no one’s fault) was that IT WAS TOO DARN HOT, HOT, HOT!! The heat and blaring sun was unbearable. Shade was few and far between. Thank goodness we had a beach umbrella and our RV has an awning but even those devices didn’t offer much protection from the blaring sun. It was 95F during the day and 85F at night! If we weren’t on the beach or at the pool (where there was shade) we were inside our RV with the air conditioner blowing!

Many of our fellow guests didn’t seem to mind the heat. They were out there fishing, biking, hiking as if nothing bothered them. Many fellow RVers even had bonfires at night and sat around the campsite toasting marshmallows! Me? I couldn’t get back inside the a/c fast enough! Next time we’ll either go in May or late September when the temperatures are more amicable to us.

Live and learn.

Driving back home, the happiest sign was when we first saw the words ‘New York’ on a billboard.