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  1. #1

    Default east coast to west coast aug 2006

    hey guys! I am new to the forum and I am planning to take a solo roadtrip this august from NY-? I
    would love suggestions in all areas. I have taken "minor" roadtrips before, but nothing like this! These are some of my goals: cover many places (mostly ones I haven't been)(been: new orleans, san francisco, napa, vegas, pennsylvania, maryland, rhode island, florida) see many cool and quirky things, see beautiful sights, learn a lot, meet interesting people.

    I would like to do this in 2 weeks and i am on a tight budget. I am okay with cheap motels as long as I am safe and there are no bugs!! As far as food--I am a sucker for great restaurants--but i am willing to rough it mostly-but also eat at cool local places too!

    I am also concerned for my safety. I would love to try camping--but i am afraid. I am a young woman traveling alone--I am afraid I will seem vulnerable. Any tips would be great. Also if anyone has any places they know of to steer clear of please let me know!!


    my interests include:
    museums
    music
    bicycling
    sightseeing


    my main questions:
    routes
    safety tips
    places
    restaurants
    motels
    routes
    routes
    routes!
    is 2 weeks long enough?
    how much $
    how often to sleep?
    book motels in advance?
    Last edited by melis18; 06-12-2006 at 09:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Your Questions, My Questions

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    My first question for you, are you planning on making this a round trip?

    If that is the case, 2 weeks isn't nearly enough time for the trip you have envisioned. It would take 10 days of hard driving just to get to California and back. That's not the kind of trip that will allow exploration of those fun local places, and because of the fatigue factor, its not the kind of trip I'd recommend taking as a solo traveler.

    If you only have 2 weeks, I'd think about scaling back your plans and just chew off one of the areas you haven't seen. A two week trip through Florida and over to New Orleans and back will give you many more chances to meet people and see museums along the way. I'd also cross off the closer places, like the Rhode Islands and Pennsylvania, areas that you can do on separate shorter trips later.

    As far as routing there are many options for planning, from computer software like MS streets and trips, to online options like mapquest and randmcnally.com, to my personal favorite, the paper Atlas you can pick up for $5 at your favorite big box store. We can also provide some more help once you have your own vision outlined a little more clearly.

    Good Luck and Happy Planning!

  3. #3

    Default thanks

    Thanks! I think you misunderstood though!! I have already been to the places I mentioned. I would like my trip to be of other places! I am interested in Seattle, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and some mid-states, etc. Yes, it would be roundtrip. I have 2 weeks maybe more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Same problem

    Quote Originally Posted by melis18
    Thanks! I think you misunderstood though!! I have already been to the places I mentioned. I would like my trip to be of other places! I am interested in Seattle, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and some mid-states, etc. Yes, it would be roundtrip. I have 2 weeks maybe more.
    You have the same problem. It takes five days minimum to drive from NY to Seattle and five days back. If you add other places along the way, and camp and explore, two weeks is borderline for getting there.

    There several solo woman roadtrippers on this board. Here are some tips from one of them

    Lots of opinions on this Forum about reservations -- it really has more to do with how much risk you are comfortable with.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Ditto

    You are right, I did misunderstand your original list as places you've been as opposed to places you wanted to go.

    But as Mark has already pointed out, traveling out to WA is just as far as traveling out to CA. Its far more than I would consider doing on a two week trip. Even heading out to Arizona and Utah would really be pushing things for a solo 2 week trip.

    I might try a trip as far out as Colorado, but keep in mind, the farther out you try to get in a limited timeframe, the less time you'll have to see the cool and quirky things you want to do while on your trip.

  6. #6

    Default time and money

    hey thanks for all the great advice. would 2 and a half weeks do it? And if so would about 2,000 dollars cut it? I know it's vague, but what do ya think?
    i have a new altima, cheap motels, and some local dining? also, to make the most of my trip, would taking a northern route out and a southern route back work? thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Try it and see

    Quote Originally Posted by melis18
    And if so would about 2,000 dollars cut it?
    Well, using our Fuel Cost Calculator, it looks like you will spend about $1,000 in fuel and if you limit your lodging/camping expense to $300 and about the same on food, you should have enough $$.

    What I suggest is that you start driving west on one of the northern routes and see where you are in five days. Wherever that ends up being, spend 2-3 day exploring that region and then head south to a southern east-west highway and head back, stopping at interesting places along the way.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default You need to work out the details

    I think you are at the point where you need to start figuring out the details.

    Could you make the trip in 2 1/2 weeks? If you want to drive straight to Seattle and come right back, it would be feasable. If you want to add in a trip to Arizona or you are serious about wanting to get the local flavor along the way, then I would say no. As has already been pointed out now, it will take a minimum of 5 days one way to drive straight from New York to Seattle.

    You need to plot out the major places you want to go, and figure out exactly how many miles you will be traveling. As a solo traveler, I think the max you would want to average is 400 miles a day - and that would give you almost no time to enjoy yourself.

    Budgeting will be the same way. You need to figure out exactly how far you want to go, how you will break-up your lodging, how many times you'll be eating at restaurants. Fuel will be the biggest part of your budget, and RTA's Fuel Cost Calculator will help you figure it out. Camping will be $10-20 a night, while Cheap Motels will average at least $40 a night, Food could be as little as $20 or so a day if you are willing to do most of your eating out of a cooler. You'll have to break those things down, and determine if you think you can make things work under your budget.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Either choose a closer destination or...

    follow Mark's good advice:

    What I suggest is that you start driving west on one of the northern routes and see where you are in five days. Wherever that ends up being, spend 2-3 day exploring that region and then head south to a southern east-west highway and head back, stopping at interesting places along the way.
    I would add that your turn-around point might also be when you've spent half your budget.

    I totally agree with Michael that even 2.5 weeks will make it tough for you to get to Seattle and back and enjoy the local flavor along the way. It's do-able for more of a speed run with occasional explorations along the way but, if local flavor is an important component for you, it seems like a roadtrip with more of a meandering style (meaning, no set destination) might be your best bet. Or, at the very least, keep the final destination a bit closer and loose so if you don't get there before you have to return, you won't be disappointed.

    I would like to do this in 2 weeks and i am on a tight budget. I am okay with cheap motels as long as I am safe and there are no bugs!! As far as food--I am a sucker for great restaurants--but i am willing to rough it mostly-but also eat at cool local places too!
    Most inexpensive hotels are clean but you might want to ask to see a room before you commit. However, if you spend your money on hotels (figure $40-50/night), you will be spending at least $500 just on lodging over a 2 week period. Wow....that really blows a big piece of your $2000 budget. Personally, I don't consider eating out of a cooler roughing it. Grocery stores have wonderful deli sections these days where you can load up on fine cheeses, interesting crackers, and other things relatively cheaply to eat on the road. Add some fruit, veggies, protein and/or granola bars, and your beverages of choice (make sure at least some of this is plain water), you can eat very nicely out of your cooler without having to cook anything that day. When traveling solo, I typically eat in a restaurant every 2 days and try to find a unique, interesting place to eat that meal (I avoid chains as much as possible) so it is truly a memorable experience.

    I am also concerned for my safety. I would love to try camping--but i am afraid. I am a young woman traveling alone--I am afraid I will seem vulnerable. Any tips would be great. Also if anyone has any places they know of to steer clear of please let me know!!
    I've done a lot of solo camping on roadtrips. I've never felt unsafe. Just use good common sense. While I have camped in dispersed camping on national forest and BLM lands with my husband or other companions, I've never done it solo. That type of camping while alone would make me feel vulnerable, too. However, I have camped and felt safe in numerous established campgrounds whether they are national parks, state parks, commercial campgrounds, etc. When choosing a campsite, I prefer having some privacy but also being close enough to other campers where they can hear me if I call out for help. And use common sense on who you camp near. A family or another woman makes more sense than a group of men, for example. (No offense to the men here.) Visit with them a bit if you can. People do tend to look out for each other, particularly if some kind of bond has been created.

    This common sense holds true for any part of your traveling. If you're staying in a hotel, walk the most public route from your car to your room (or the most well-lit path if after dark). Lock your door behind you. Don't open your door for any stranger. If they say they are from the hotel yet you haven't called for them to come to your room for any reason, call the front desk and check before opening the door. Go ahead and enjoy the hotels' pool, work-out room, etc. (if they have them). If you're returning to your room and someone is lingering near your door, simply keep walking and come back to your room after they've left. It seems to me that the most vulnerable situation would be trying to get into your room when someone right there could overpower you and enter your room with you. Don't be paranoid and let fear ruin your trip.

    I've only had one strange incident in all my solo travels. And, to be honest, this happened at a hotel within just a couple of hours from my home town in a place where I've been before without incident. I won't go into details and nothing happened but it did spook me. I needed to leave for a meeting and would be returning after dark. I felt safe walking to my car for the meeting as it was still light and there were quite a few people around but was a bit fearful of how it would be later at night when I returned. I called the front desk and they assured me that I could have a hotel staff person walk me to my room. So, when I returned, I simply stopped at the check-out desk. The security guard came to the office and walked back to the part of the parking lot where I was going to park. He walked me from my car to my room. I felt kinda silly but this was a "better safe than sorry" situation.

    Anyway, this is the only scary event I have had in thousands of miles of solo travel. And common-sense worked.

    You might want to invest in a personal alarm of some kind. Ya know, those whistles that go off when you press a button. They often sell them at places that cater to walkers. I don't have one and don't really feel the need for one but it might make you feel safer. They're louder than yelling for help and you could press the button if someone does try to assault you and puts their hand over your mouth. Just a thought. I don't really think you'll need it but it's very presence on your person might make you feel safer. They are often on a lanyard that you could wear around your neck, attach to your keys, or onto a zipper, etc.

    Hope this helps!

  10. #10

    Default

    Too bad your not in my neck of the woods or i would let ya tag along, Me and a friend are going on a quick road trip for 7 days starting in louisiana and going to santa fe new mexico and back. It is a quick one but still fun. If I were you first I would try and get someone to go with you 1. so you ca split the cost and 2. because it is safer. If this isnt possible I would just start out headed westward and drive for 4 or 5 days then turn around and head back. You will find things that are interesting no matter where you go, But look up the route your taking on the web first and see if anyone has written a blog about it or something. I put in ( My trip to santa fe) or something like that because people love to talk about there trips and if you like to read you will learn a great deal about the areas your interested in. have a good trip, Mark H

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