Ready to make the move to L.A. and blast your showbiz career into orbit? It takes courage, dedication, and, most of the time, a helluva lot of $$$. Here’s how one married couple did it on the cheap.
by Mary Kearl
My great American road trip wasn’t by car — it was by bicycle, as in two wheels and all human-powered. Biking made the going much slower (and harder), but the savings and the rewards even greater.
On May 7, 2016, my husband and I set out on what would end up being a 44-day, 2,500-mile road trip from Savannah, Georgia to San Diego, California (with some detours to LA for job interviews) and managed to break even on our costs. We walked away from full-time jobs in New York City, but both received job offers on the West Coast within three months of completing our ride.
Over the course of our journey, we spent about $113 per day — or just under $5,000 total. That’s 31% less than what the average traveler in the US spends on a daily basis — about $164, according to the website Investopedia.
In addition to keeping our costs below average, we also brought in over $8,000 in income to offset our trip and living expenses by freelancing on the side and renting out our apartment — helping us break even overall.
Here’s how we managed on the budgeting front and, even more challenging, on the job application process — including phone screeners and some in-person meetings — while biking 65 to 83 miles, or about eight to 10 hours, per day.
In many towns we passed through, people curious about what we were up to would stop to talk and tell us about local spots we should explore. “Oh, there’s this great park just a few miles down the road,” they’d say. But the reality was, a few miles — or even just a few blocks — was usually too much for us after dozens of miles of riding. Taking a look at our typical day, you can see why: