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spending 1,500 on a vacation before starting med school

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  • spending 1,500 on a vacation before starting med school

    I am taking an epic trip on a budget of $1,500. I know this is not the most frugal of decisions in the world, but I also doubt I'll ever regret this. I am not using loan money to do it, but technically I could take out less in loans if I didn't go. This may be my last time to take an extended trip for a very long time considering I'm about to start medical school. I am going to be on vacation for 23 days, so I feel like doing it for 1500 bucks is a pretty good bang for my buck.

    I am roadtripping and backpacking through the Pacific Northwest with my best friend. Flying into Seattle (500 bucks from the east coast... ouch)

    Renting an old Subaru Forester with 110k miles on it using a peer to peer app for 500 bucks ( 250 each)...great deal imo. Actual rental companies were really trying to shaft us for at least 800 and it was a compact vehicle.
    Bought a national park pass for 40 bucks each.
    Will be ghost camping/ dispersed camping as much as possible (free)
    If I have to pay to camp it will be less than 15$/ night.

    So now here's the epic-ness of this trip.
    Day 1- driving out of Seattle and heading to hoh rainforest

    Day 2: exploring the hoh

    Day 3/ 4: overnighter backpacking the beach of the olympic peninsula

    Day 5: drive to ranier, check it out for a day

    Day 6: drive through Portland and hit up mt hood

    Day 7: hit up the Columbia river gorge all day then drive to bend

    Day 8: drive to bend Oregon and camp, wake up early and rent mountain bikes ($60)

    Day 9/ 10/11/12 drive through boise to either yellow stone or grand Tetons. Explore and do at least an overnighter backpacking

    Day 13/ 14/15/ 16: crush the drive to glacier national park. Explore and do a sweet overnighter.

    Day 17: drive back east through cour d Alene and Spokane. Get to North cascades national park.

    Day 18/19/20: backpack in the north cascades.

    Have 3 days of cushion for things we decide to go do on the fly. If we don't use those days will prob end up hitting Vancouver up because I've never left the country. Trying to spend little time in cities though to save money. There's also a chance that Yellowstone gets cut out and we put in jasper/ Banff instead but probably not. Gotta see how our time is.

    I am going to be eating a ton of ramen and rice and beans while backpacking and will probably enjoy a few lunches in the cities we are going to drive through, but no real fine dining.

    So for those of you familiar with this area am I insane for skipping crater lake?
    Any suggestions for cost cutting I haven't thought of or for seeing something I'm going to be driving past I haven't thought of?

  • #2
    Awesome!  My wife and I spent a month backpacking(on a tight budget) around Europe right before starting medical school. Spent less than 5k(2001 dollars) and it was one of the best times of my life. Zero regret and my wife and I still reminisce about that trip 17 years later.



    • #3
      Sounds like a great trip. $1,500 for 23 days is roughly the equivalent of living on $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year. I drove out to Seattle and back the August before I started med school, camping and visiting friends.  Enjoy the freedom while you can and have a great time




      • #4
        Just one word of caution, the West is ADDICTIVE. You will realize what a dump the East coast is comparatively speaking... 


        • #5
          Sounds great. I'll be impressed if you can do all that for $1500. I know I couldn't.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


          • #6
            Are you nuts? Of course you should do it. If it's $10,000 I would say to do it.


            • #7

              If it’s $10,000 I would say to do it.
              Click to expand...

              Yeah, I spent $1,000 on beer alone during one rotation in med school.


              • #8
                Hahahaha I am under no elusions about the east coast. I plan to move out west the first chance I get! I was born in the wrong area for my hobbies for sure.


                • #9
                  Thanks all for the support, I am super excited!!

                  @whitecoatinvestor ---challenge accepted. I don't think I'll go over by that much unless there is some unforeseen expense.

                  @vagabondMD -- thanks the for the encouragement, hopefully I don't end up over budget by THAT much.


                  • #10
                    You're a savage for spending 1,000$ on beer in a month!!! That rotation in Sweden sounds absolutely awesome! Also really like your writing style. Would love to swing something like that, didn't know it was possible in medical school.


                    • #11

                      Thanks all for the support, I am super excited!!

                      @whitecoatinvestor —challenge accepted. I don’t think I’ll go over by that much unless there is some unforeseen expense.

                      @vagabondmd — thanks the for the encouragement, hopefully I don’t end up over budget by THAT much.
                      Click to expand...

                      You will (hopefully) come to a point in life that you will appreciate the experience you had on that trip more than the money you spent (or opportunity cost thereof) by orders of magnitude. Heck, I might join you guys!


                      • #12

                        If it’s $10,000 I would say to do it. 
                        Click to expand…

                        Yeah, I spent $1,000 on beer alone during one rotation in med school. ?
                        Click to expand...

                        That is a great story (which I have read before). The sound bite is a wee bit more dramatic than the backstory.


                        • #13
                          The first part of the trip is brutal and quite a bit of driving, but all amazing places. Thatd be too much driving for me but Im old of course. I've honestly never been to crater lake or the hoh forest, so sad for a PNWer, but everywhere else you're going is pretty amazing.

                          I would totally do this. You wont regret it, and the budget is skimpy, but again, Im older and need better accommodations nowadays.


                          • #14
                            I would totally do this - especially on that budget.  Any consideration to doing a loop like this:


                            While awesome I'm sure, Yellowstone may be too far for only 23 days.  Glacier is awesome and I've personally been dying to hit up the Canadian rockies and Vancouver (I project a little).  I've done these trips a lot.  You want to see a lot and are excited because you have the time.  But forcing a lot in rather than spending a few days in each area makes you feel like you're on some sort of fast-paced and less rewarding vacation.  You end up feeling like you need another vacation at the end.  Just make sure you're not doing that to yourself.  Love the idea though.  You'll have some time at the end of 4th year if you budget your time appropriately.  I highly recommend doing so.  You can probably squeeze out 2 months there if you do it right.


                            • #15
                              WCICON24 EarlyBird
                              @zaphod I have no issue driving long distances. Got a sweet neck pillow and my co pilot is my best friend so it's great company. Also, we aren't driving through any terrible places and should be in for great scenery most of the time. I have slept on a table at a rest stop in Kentucky for a couple of hours in order to get to my final destination, I do not need much luxury at this point in my life haha.

                              @ent doc I appreciate the advice. That loop actually sounds pretty cool and originally banff and jasper were a concrete part of this trip instead of Yellowstone. I added Yellowstone instead because it allows me to spend more time in states I may move to when I am older. I know I'm never moving to Canada but am seriously considering all of the other states I am seeing as a place to put down my roots. This is part of the reason I am covering so much ground. Let's be honest almost all of the places I am going deserve at least a week, Yellowstone, glacier, and Olympic probably deserve 10 days a piece. My plan is to go back one day and explore them more intimately with my future wife/ kids.

                              Have you been to crater lake?

                              Can't lie though, those Canadian Rockies are calling my name. My travel buddy and I are planning to be very fluid and have nothing set in stone. If the weather looks like it will be terrible in Yellowstone, but looks fine in banff we will pivot. If the weather is looking terrible in Oregon that first week we are there, maybe we do the loop backwards like you said. Who knows.