Want to get an idea of the budget for a road trip to two famous places in the United States: Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore? Come on to have a look at the expenses I’ve made during my trip.

ITINERARY - FROM WYOMING TO SOUTH DAKOTA: here is the full itinerary for a tour going from Wyoming to South Dakota, including the visits of Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore.

This is just an example of expenses that can totally be adapted to the trip you are actually planning. You can adjust the expenses according to the choices you make in terms of accomodation, restaurants, activities, additional stops …
And be aware that these expenses apply to an 8-day trip for 2 people.

Wyoming and South Dakota - expenses of my 8-day trip

I am now going to explain the expenses item by item:

Plane tickets
As for every trip, this is one of the biggest parts of the budget. Here, it represents almost 50% of it. But for sure, it depends on the period you choose on going.
On the other hand, if you’re only planning on going to Wyoming to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, a return flight to Jackson Hole will be enough. And it’s the same thing if you just want to go to visit Mount Rushmore, a return flight to Rapid City will be OK.
However, a return flight to Jackson Hole or Rapid City is about the same price as a multi-city flight that arrives in Jackson Hole and leaves from Rapid City. Therefore, I think you should take advantage of visiting Wyoming and South Dakota during the same trip.

Again, the budget for this item will depend on the choices you make in terms of accommodation. But be aware that hotels in Wyoming and especially those located in the area of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are all pretty expensive. It’s a bit cheaper in South Dakota.
Back then, before leaving, I had made all of my bookings online.

Renting a car is clearly the best solution for getting around the United States, and especially when it comes to visiting national parks. Back then, I rented a car from Jackson Hole Airport, and drop it off at Rapid City Airport. It’s really convenient because from the beginning to the end of your trip, you won’t need to worry about your means of transportation.

When it comes to sightseeing, with « America the Beautiful » pass, almost every admission fee will be free, except for Mount Rushmore parking lot, but it’s not that expensive. So if you don’t already have the pass, I highly recommend buying it, especially if you follow the itinerary I took, because it’s really worth the money (from 3+ national parks visited, it already covers the price of the pass). And also remember that the pass is valid for 12 months from the month of purchase, so you can use it again on a future trip, or even lend it to someone you know who is also planning a trip to American national parks, since it’s possible to put 2 names on the pass. But on a trip like this, it’s clearly not on admission fees that you’ll spend the most money on.

Others expenses
For lunches, bringing sandwiches is really the most convenient. Not only it’ll save you money, but it’ll also save you some time. Note that in national parks, restaurants and convenience stores are not always available.
For shopping, the budget will depend on whether you want to bring back lots of souvenirs or not. But for petrol, it’ll be a mandatory expense, especially since Yellowstone National Park is huge and mountainous. You’ll consume quite a lot of petrol there.

Wyoming and South Dakota - budget breakdown

Thanks for reading :)