A study recently conducted by BobCarriesOn.com, a website that has been sharing accurate travel news and advice since before Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock, has concluded that the most expensive way to travel across America is on foot.
According to figures from BobCarriesOn, the average total expense for an economy-class cross-country flight, which takes six hours, is $451, or $.15 per mile, while a cross-country walker, taking 46 days, would spend a minimum of $6,440, or $2.15 per mile.
“What the study clearly shows,” says Bob Payne, chief analyst for BobCarriesOn.com, “is that for coast to coast travel across America only the wealthy can afford to walk.”
Figures used in the study are based on a per diem or daily allowance rate set by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to determine how much a person would be expected to spend when traveling. According to the GSA, a day away from home averages $89 for lodging and $51 for meals, or a total for the day of $140, although there is some variation to account for days in more expensive cities, or jail.
Another finding of the study, Payne said, is that if your goal is to travel across America coast to coast for the least money possible, taking the bus is your best alternative. Cost for the three-day journey is about $361 for the fare and other expenses, or $.12 per mile, although that does not count the likely possibility of being mugged on your way to or from the bus station, which will almost invariably be in the worst part of town.
“When traveling coast to coast across America, the only time you are more likely to be assaulted than you are near a bus station is going through security at an airport,” Payne said.
What it costs to travel across America coast to coast
Bus* 3 days $361 $ .14/mile
Train ** 3 days $441 $ .17/mile
Bicycle 8 days $1,120 $ .44/mile
Auto *** 60 hrs $1,880 $ .73/mile
Afoot 46 days $6,440 $ 2.51/mile
*Assumes sleeping on bus, but with one eye open.
**Assumes sleeping on train, but not, unless things go unexpectedly well, in sleeping car.
***Includes GSA mileage allowance of .58/mile; legal speed limit, mostly.