We opted to maximize the fun by driving down a rental car and flying back home. Though it’s a bit more expensive to rent a car one-way, it’s worth the time saved to just fly home when you’re pooped from driving, eating, and exploring all over the Los Angeles area.


  • One-way full-size SUV car rental from SJC to LAX  for 6 days: $459
  • Insurance for 6 days from an independent auto insurance carrier: $47
  • Gas  for about 500 miles of driving: $100
  • Parking: $20-50/day
  • Flights from LAX to SJC (booked 4 weeks before trip): $65

Deposits and per person costs – Since I find it easiest to get the best deals when I purchase for the group, I usually pay for expenses such as the accommodations, transportation (except for flights), pre-bookable group activities up front, and take a deposit from attendees 4-6 weeks before the trip. It’s also a good idea to take the 50% – 75% deposit from attendees to discourage flakers and to help you pay for the upfront costs. Having one person drop out of a small group of road trippers could significantly increase the cost for each remaining person. In the event that you have a person who needs to drop out, it’s a good idea to have a backup person in mind. After the trip, I usually send a spreadsheet with the balance owed for each person to the group.

Cash – Bring enough cash to pay for incidentals and splitting of meals. Most restaurants that aren’t cash only will let you split across 2 or more credit cards, but don’t count on it! It’s really helpful to have cash in various denominations so that you can pay your portion of the meal without drama or delaying the group for your next adventure.


Haunted hotels tend to command a higher price than the standard accommodation that you might usually stay at. You can get creative with accommodations if you have a familiar group of friends traveling together who would be willing to share suites, multi-room cabins, and B&Bs. Remember to keep the group dynamics in mind for bed and room assignments and don’t assume that people of the same sex are willing to sleep in the same room or bed.

  • Average of about $100/night/per person assuming double occupancy


Check out this page to see the tools I use for planning spook quests.