Our recent trip to Maine far surpassed my expectations for the weekend. And expectations were high! We packed a lot into one weekend – driving U.S. 1 from Boston to Bar Harbor, hiking in Acadia National Park, sailing in Portland. You can read all the details here if you missed it!
As we previously shared, we tracked our expenses for this trip with two goals in mind. First, we wanted to get a better understanding of where we spend our money to see if we need to make any adjustments. Second, we wanted to share our expenses with the hope that it will inspire and enable you to plan your own trip!
Travel and exploration (in your hometown or across the country) can be accessible at almost any budget. But it helps to start your planning with an understanding of what destinations are compatible with your planned spending.
Recap of our Trip
- Places Visited: Maine – Bar Harbor, Portland & Acadia National Park
- Length: 4 days
- Hotels: 2 nights
- Bed & Breakfast: 2 nights
- Flights: 2
- Rental Cars: 1
- Miles Driven: 580 miles
- Miles Hiked: 6.5 miles
Cost of 4 Days in Maine
For the first time ever, we closely tracked our expenses for the entire trip. Here’s how they turned out:
Our expenses came out to $129 per day per person for the whole trip. Having never tracked our expenses before, it will be interesting to see how this compares to future trips we take.
Food accounted for a large chunk of our expenses. We spent $106/per day for both us. This seems a little high, especially when you remember that our amazing breakfasts were included at our bed & breakfast in Bar Harbor.
We did splurge on a number of restaurants throughout our trip, but that was largely by design. Portland has far too good of a food scene to pass up! Ben is also a seafood fanatic, so several of our meals included pricier seafood dishes.
While I think experiencing local food and restaurants is an important part of the travel experience (and particularly so given our goals for this trip), we could have cut back on our breakfast and lunch spending to accommodate splurges at dinner.
We spent 2 nights in Marriott brand hotels. I booked one using a reward certificate that I receive each year for holding the Marriott Rewards Credit Card. We booked the other night using 35,000 award points.
The other two nights we stayed at The Holland Inn in Bar Harbor for $180 / night. This is more than we would normally spend on housing for a night, but it was difficult to find anything more affordable in Bar Harbor given the time of year we were traveling.
Our transportation costs came out to $36/day. We used a combination of cash and points to rent a car from Hertz for four days. There were also gas and toll expenses, and we took an Uber to and from O’Hare airport at the beginning and end of our trip.
We booked our flights round trip from Chicago to Boston on the sign-up bonus reward points from our Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards. We used 23,616 points each (approximately $295).
Activities, Tours & Entrance Fees
Since we clearly spent a lot of time eating on this trip, we only had two expenses in this category. We spent $25 on a 7-day pass to Acadia National Park. Our sunset sail with Portland Schooner Company cost $84 for both of us.
Ways to Save Money on This Trip
Reviewing our expenses, spending less on food and alcohol would have been the most practical way to bring down the overall cost of this trip. We could have prioritized the restaurants we wanted to try and filled in some of the other meals with lower cost options. Or we could have reduced the number of alcohol we had with meals (but not skipped Allagash’s free beer flights in their tasting room!).
Another way we could have saved money was to book cheaper accommodations in Bar Harbor. We really wanted to sample the New England bed and breakfast experience but could have also had a great time camping in Acadia National Park. We could have also extended our stay in Bar Harbor longer to take advantage of the 7 day park pass we purchased (which was the cheapest option).
While it wouldn’t have reduced the total cost of our total trip, extending our trip a few more days likely would have significantly reduced the per-day cost. Once we tried the few restaurants we were really excited about, most of our other meals were fairly inexpensive. Staying another day in Acadia National Park to do some more hiking would have been nearly free if we could have found an inexpensive place to stay.
In total, we spent $1,034 exploring Maine’s cost over 4 days. We used rewards points to offset some of the costs for our flights, hotels and rental car. We could have easily spent less than this if we had paid closer attention to our food and alcohol spend. It was an amazing trip and worth every penny!