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  1. #1

    Default Cost of Zero Days In Town

    Before I begin, I known this is a loaded question and depends on the hiker and his/her budget. However, I am working on my final budget for a southbound thru next month and am trying to figure out an "average" I am going to spend in towns. I know that the lodging I pick will alter the cost so provided that I am hosteling or splitting a motel room, what are you guys spending in town for food, laundry and entertainment. Can I figure an average cost of 100 dollars if I am splitting lodging as a good round number?

    Thanks,

    NCmedic

  2. #2
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    I never split the cost - it was what it was: $30-$65/night. I either tented in the front lawn (Mountain Harbor) or took a single room (Uncle Johnny's). I don't like to share a room with strangers. I'm funnny that way.

    Laundry: about $6+. More when I was drying my down bag - seemed to take forever to dry. Gatlinburg - only time to wash.

    Food: 2-5 meals, depending on if I took a second zero. I tried to find the AYCE places.

    One time extra gear: depended - rain pants: $50. Rain jacket: $50. New, lighter sleeping bag: 150(?). Lighter, fold-back mittens instead of full gloves: $14
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    AT Hike 2012 - 497 Miles of 2184
    AT Thru Hiker - 29 FEB - 03 OCT 2016 2189.1 miles
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  3. #3
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Just got back from a nice section in SW Virginia with a half day off in Pearisburg. Left Rice Field Shelter around 8:15, walked into Hardees at 11:45 on a very hot (~90F) day. Here's what I spent:

    Hardees lunch: $10 (large bacon cheeseburger combo with a large fries and drink.)
    Plaza Motel, single room with tax: $44
    Resupply for 4 days at Food Lion: $40
    A pint of blueberries and some cold drinks for the afternoon: $10
    Dinner at the Mexican restaurant: $18 with tax and tip
    A bomber of a local beer: $5 at the convenience store
    Tip left for housekeeper: $5
    Breakfast at Hardees on way out of town: $5

    Total: $137.

    I could have spent more. I saved some money doing laundry in my hotel sink and hanging it up to dry. I didn't drink much. I didn't hang out at Dairy Queen and eat more I could have spent a lot less by not eating three restaurant meals, or by staying at the hostel (which would have required a ride.) So, I guess this is about average for me.

    Oh, yeah, and if I had stayed another night that would have easily added another $80 or $100 to the total. For me, taking half days off works better than zeros. I did see a lot of northbounders spending a full day in Pearisburg but then hiking out around 5pm to camp at Rice Fields. That saves some cash.
    Ken B
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  4. #4

    Default

    If you're on a budget, pick a nice round number that fits your budget. Whether it works or not is up to you. Personally, I treat zero days as luxury days.

  5. #5
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    New England lodging and restaurant meals are more expensive than down south. Keep in mind your appetite will grow dramatically as you rack up the miles.
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  6. #6
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    assuming walking north, here's what I would budget per town stop:

    Southern lodging: $40 avg
    Southern in-town food (3 meals): $40 avg
    Southern re-supply for a week: $50 avg
    Southern laundry, misc: $15

    Total Southern estimate: $145 +~10% = $160

    Northern lodging: $70 avg
    Northern in-town food (3 meals): $50 avg
    Northern re-supply for a week: $60 avg
    Northern laundry, misc: $20

    Total Northern estimate (from NJ onwards): $200 + ~10% = $220
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  7. #7
    Registered User FarmerChef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates View Post
    assuming walking north, here's what I would budget per town stop:

    Southern lodging: $40 avg
    Southern in-town food (3 meals): $40 avg
    Southern re-supply for a week: $50 avg
    Southern laundry, misc: $15

    Total Southern estimate: $145 +~10% = $160

    Northern lodging: $70 avg
    Northern in-town food (3 meals): $50 avg
    Northern re-supply for a week: $60 avg
    Northern laundry, misc: $20

    Total Northern estimate (from NJ onwards): $200 + ~10% = $220
    This is pretty close to my experience, except that I'm usually not resupplying in town. I also try to find places with cheap or free laundry and try to zero in hostels rather than hotels for both the rates, services and often the ability to get rides to services at a low or reduced rate due to staying at the hostel (i.e. daily run for everyone at 5pm). I also don't do true zeros but prefer to nero. Usually a hike in by lunchtime or afterward and then a stay for the rest of the day at the destination. Breakfast at a local shop or at the hotel/hostel on the way out in the morning. Alcohol is what typically drives the price up dramatically but you can often purchase this for much less in a store or quik mart (beer/wine) than at the restaurant, assuming your place of lodging allows it.
    2,000 miler. Still keepin' on keepin' on.

  8. #8

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    I think some of the replies above are misleading - the cost of resupply is not a "town cost" as your on-trail food expenses are gonna be the same if you go to town or not.

    I'm not going to throw out a number as I'm too far removed from my thru to have the knowledge to estimate current lodging costs.

    What I did find interesting is that the OP threw out $100 as an estimate. Old Crankys estimate if you exclude on trail food was $97. Solemates estimates, again excluding on trail food, were $95 in the south and $140 in the north. I would be of the opinion that his lodging cost of $70 in the north is too high, assuming the OPs intent to share space. These examples are pretty darn close to the OPs initial estimate.

  9. #9
    Registered User ams212001's Avatar
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    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...hru-Hike/page3

    I am going to attempt to follow the ideas of Trailbender who completed a Thru hike in 2011. He breaks down how he kept down the cost of a zero day/the trip in general with simple straightforward ways to save money. I have had to live on a very strict budget for quite some time and tend to find deals and saving wherever possible. It depends on who you are and how honest you are with yourself and personal needs. That is just life in general.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    I think some of the replies above are misleading - the cost of resupply is not a "town cost" as your on-trail food expenses are gonna be the same if you go to town or not.

    I agree with this...the cost of a town stop is largely a function of how much time you spend there. If you are only going to spend 2 to 3 hours in town you are only budgeting for a restaurant meal, laundry and a shower. If you stay overnight, add lodging and probably two more town meals and a trip to the pub. This is how budgets get quickly out of hand...a stop that might cost one hiker $50 could easily cost another $250. In 2002 I spent 4 months hiking and spent between $1600 and $1700...which was only about $100 a week...in the south you're hitting a town every 2 to 4 days...most people I saw out there were spending far more than I was.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Nice estimates above, about $100 max. It can certainly be cheaper.

    My most expensive ever was nearly $800 in South Lake Tahoe, CA on the PCT. That was for my wife and me. We both needed new shoes and some new clothing, and we set up four mail drops from there. Just the food and postage cost over $200.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  12. #12

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    Thanks for the responses from everyone. It looks like my estimate is spot on then. I actually do not consider my resupply in my town budget so It looks like my estimate is spot on from what everyone is saying. Thanks again for the responses and numbers.

    NC Medic......
    Southbound July 2013

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