Living on the Road

We Traveled North America for 4 Months on $3,000

We recently took 4 months to travel around North America. However, we chose to travel simplistically. We built a modest bed in our vehicle & brought our camping gear. Our “entertainment” along the way consisted of free adventures, courtesy of “Nature.” We never paid for a place to sleep (we camped) or a drop of water (we filtered). Our only expenditures were food & gas, which were somewhat variable.

How We Kept Costs Low

To anyone who wants to do this who doesn’t have tons of money (like us) – the key is keeping it cheap! It would have been easy if we were rich I guess – we could have bought anything we needed, ate out every day, traveled in luxury – but I know we would have missed out on some crazy adventures! Anyway, traveling on the cheap is a whole different game. Be creative, find free stuff, build it yourself, etc. The only costs during the trip were food & gas. We didn’t pay for tourist attractions, we didn’t eat out often, we didn’t pay to ride ferries, we didn’t purchase souvenirs, etc. we tried to make meals last as long as possible (i.e. cook food on the fire rather than buying meals the while way, cook some chicken & use it as a sandwich for lunch the next day; have alot of non-perishable like nuts, etc.). We also never paid to sleep – we camped or slept in the car. We never paid for water (we filtered water from rivers & glacier runoff OR we filled up free at a grocery store fountain.

What We Brought

We chose to bring as little as possible. It was the 2 of us, our dog. We brought some camping gear, cookware, some tools, safety items, & electronics. That’s it. Turns out, some of that was even more than we needed!


Building a Bed in the Vehicle

We transformed our Ford Escape into our “living quarters” for about 20 bucks! We built a bed in the back by removing the back seats, building a frame, & topping it with plywood. We gained storage space as well. We used a lot of scrap material & free wood to keep the cost very low. Check Craigslist – people give away tons of cool stuff on there.


I kept a journal of all of our adventure stories as an awesome keepsake. I also documented all of our costs along the way so someday I will sit down & tally that up & post it here so you can see how much we spent & exactly on what!