Many of us would love nothing more than to pack up a bunch of essential items and go on scenic, refreshing road trips on our bikes. Of course, such an undertaking takes careful planning to accomplish—particularly if you’re trying to stay within a budget. How do you start to figure out what your dream moto trip is going to cost you, though? 

This kind of practical encouragement is exactly why Amanda Zito, creator of the As the Magpie Flies moto-travel YouTube channel, posts breakdowns of her trip costs at the end of her trips. As of September, 2022, she’s done two round-trip motorcycle trips across the U.S., both on her trusty 2016 Honda CB500X.  

Her first moto trip across the country, in 2020, took her from Portland, Oregon to North Carolina and back. The trip was around 8,000 miles in total, and ended up costing $2,650 at that time. As we’ve all no doubt felt, 2022 is a more expensive year on many fronts. This year, Zito rode another 8,000-ish mile round trip, this time from Portland, Oregon to Tampa, Florida and back—and the total cost ended up being $5,503. 

As she explains, there were both similarities and differences between the two trips that account for some of the cost difference. The 2020 trip lasted 24 days in total, while the 2022 trip spanned 34 days. Ratio-wise, she said that the breakdown of nights spent camping or with friends on the road versus nights spent in hotels (mostly Best Western and the like, nothing fancy) was about the same. However, of course, there were more nights spent everywhere in general, because there were 10 more days spent on the road. 

In this video, she breaks down her entire overall spend, in all categories—which can be very helpful to anyone planning to do a similar trip. While her needs as a YouTuber will be different than those of us who aren’t, it’s still a great perspective to consider when planning your own trip.  

For example, Zito says that another important way that this trip differed from the 2020 one is that riding across the southern part of the U.S. in spring was peak travel time for that area. Thus, nights spent in hotels cost more—and also, as she frequently found out the hard way, camp sites she’d hoped to be able to just roll into and book were all sold out.  

What about pre-booking camp sites? Toward the beginning of the trip, some camp sites that she’d pre-booked, she wasn’t able to make it to in time—because road trips don’t always go exactly like you plan. So, on a couple of occasions, she ended up double-paying for accommodation (the pre-booked camp site and also a hotel room in the location that she was able to reach).  

Naturally, your personal mileage may vary based on your individual preferences. Do you love to camp, or prefer to stay in hotels? Do you like to and/or have the ability to cook your own food at least some of the time, or will you be living on whatever food you can find on the road? Do you have friends you can crash with? What about your laundry situation on a long trip?  

All of these and more are factors that you’ll need to consider—but if you do, it can take some of the stress out of your actual trip. Hopefully, that can help you relax enough to enjoy it and take in all the wonderful experiences you’ll have along the way.  

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