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  1. Default See the Country.. Is this possible??

    There are 5 of us ranging in age from 17-21.. None of us have traveled much and next summer could be our last chance to do so!

    We have already started planning a trip going from Western New York, down to Mammoth Caves, through Memphis and Dallas, Roswell, Death Valley, Bodie, Los Angeles, and up through San Francisco to Seattle, then East through Mt. Rushmore and Chicago, and back home to the Buffalo area.

    I'm forgetting some things in there.. throw in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon in the appropriate places..

    We would have 2 months, from late June to late August, about $2700 total (hopefully) and plan on camping out or crashing in the car most nights.

    We would, however, need to find places to recharge our cameras and shower.

    Is this at all possible?? We really want to see it all :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Not Even with a Magic Dragon

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Puff5655
    There are 5 of us...2 months...about $2700 total
    That's all of $9/day per person. Since about half or so of your total funds would go to gas, that would leave you trying to eat, sleep, gain admissions to parks and attractions, etc. etc. on about $5/day. In a word - No.

    Sorry

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    sorry man that just isn't enough. save up about double that between all 5 of you and then your talkin. but unless you plan on just driving by all these cool cities and not stopping or doing anythign (fun=$$) and only eating every few days, then it's not really possible

    on a brighter note.. buy a 12v/120v adapter. they're like 30$ at walmart, that way you can plug any household item using 120v into your ciggerette lighter. great for recharging phones, laptops, cameras, tv's, running a blender, haha whatever you can think of, within reason..

    good luck, and maybe eliminate alot of those stops, and kick 1 person out of the vehicle, and you may be talking business. sleeping 5 in a car for extended periods of time will have you on each others' nerves in very short order. unless you have a comfortable 3rd row, which if you do, then you are in a gas hog, and your costs will triple.


    good luck

    nick
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-24-2006 at 01:09 PM. Reason: Good Neighbor Policy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Piling On

    Sorry to continue to bring you bad news, but you really need to listen to the above posts. Your plans will need a major revision to work.

    I'd start by considering if you really want this to be a 5 person trip. I don't know what vehicle you're looking at for this trip, but anything less than a full sized car will simply not work for a long trip. A large SUV or minivan would probably be your best bet to avoid wanting to kill each other by the time you reach the Mississippi. Honestly, even there, I see no way for a group of this size to comfortably sleep in a vehicle for even one night - unless you find an RV laying around.

    Back to the budget: You're going to be looking at close to a 10,000 mile roadtrip. If your large vehicle manages to get 20 mpg, you're still looking at $1500 in gas costs alone, and that's if gas stays at $3 by next summer. If prices climb higher, you could very well have less than $1000 remaining in your budget.

    But lets stay hopeful and say you can do it for $1500, leaving you with $1200 for every thing else. Then you add sleeping, Camping will set you back $15-20 a night in most places. But lets say you are really frugal, find some free camping spots and discover lots of friends and relatives to crash with, bringing your average down to $10 per night. That's still another $600, now leaving you $600.

    Can you eat on $2 per day? Because that's all you're left with per person for food. So if you can live off of 2 McDonalds Dollar menu Double Cheeseburgers every day for 2 months, you might be able to survive.

    But then you'll be starving, will have zero dollars left to even enter the national parks you want to see, and will probably be stranded in the middle of nowhere if your car suffers any problem along the way.

    Don't do this. We're serious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Now....cheer up!

    While I agree with everybody that you don't have near enough money for this 2 month adventure, you can certainly still do something. All is not lost.

    If you cut your miles and time in 1/2, you are closer to being able to do this trip. It will still be tight but getting close to do-able:

    $2700 less $750 for gas = $1950 less $600 camping fees = $1350 for food, entertainment, other for 1 month.

    Food $5 per person per day x 5 people = $25 per day x 30 days = $750 total

    $1350 = $600 leftover for entertainment and incidentals.

    Now, the only way you can even begin to eat on $5 per person per day is to eat all meals out of your cooler, buying stuff on sale at grocery stores instead of at mini-marts, and stocking up on cheap pop and/or bottled water on sale. But, with diligence, it can be done.

    Of course, you will have to be diligent with other expenses as well. There won't be room for any splurging.

    A 3-week trip is really probably the max you can do on that budget with that many people and be comfortable. So...why not limit your trip to that? You won't be able to go as far but you can still have a great time.

    The other option, of course, is to save more money.

    And, indulge me in a bit of a chuckle from an old lady. I have to laugh at your comment "None of us have traveled much and next summer could be our last chance to do so!"

    Now, really, some of us are in our 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's and we're still hitting the road. This old lady not only still roadtrips whenever I can (granted, it's harder to get away when you have responsibilities) but I also still camp in a tent when I do get away.

    You will have plenty of years to do lots of roadtrips. Really!

  6. Default

    Driving each other crazy wouldnt be a problem for us.. 1 of the girls coming is my cousin, and the other girl and 2 guys are like family. We are together all summer and basically every weekend, and have shared a double bed for nights on end and have been fine. We are people that can laugh just about anything off, and don't get easily annoyed or angered. I don't think any of us have ever gotten into a serious fight with one another.

    Money: If we happened to run out, the parents wouldn't hesitate to help out and send some more!

    Food: I'm sure, the parents again, will help out and I know they will be stuffing our trunk with jumbo boxes of cheez-its and gallons of water before we leave!

    Places to Stay: We have family in San Francisco that we can stay with for a few nights while we check out the area. I believe someone else in our group has family somewhere near Dallas too.

    Time: We actually took a few places out of our plans, and we never were planning on staying for 2 whole months, we were just saying thats how much time we had if we needed it.

    This is our new plan, let me know how much money we will need, and how much time this should take!

    Leaving the Buffalo area, we will drive straight through (besides bathroom breaks) to Memphis, taking turns driving, spend a day there, and then down to dallas for a day or two. From there, we head towards the Grand Canyon/Las Vegas/Death Valley area to spend 3 or 4 days if the heat isn't unbearable, maybe stopping at Sedona (red rock country) along the way (how far is this from Grand Canyon?).

    Then we will head up to San Francisco/Yosemite area to spend about 3 days (with a relative) and then heading east towards Grand Teton/Yellowstone/Mt. Rushmore area for 3 or 4 nights. Then we will head home. Most likely covering as many miles as possible during the day, maybe driving straight through the night depending on budget, etc.. ..most likely we will do this since we will probably want to get home and sleep in our own beds, and brag about everything!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default You asked for advice

    I really think you need to understand that you are getting advice from people who have been traveling on the road for years. Most of us started around your age and we know what we are talking about. Roadtrips are a lot of fun - if you ask me there's nothing else in the world quite like one - but they also require a large degree of responsibility and maturity if you want your trip to be a sucess.

    Driving each other crazy wouldnt be a problem for us..
    Ah, famous last words. Trust me here, the number of people who've said that, and then wanted to kill their friends after a week on the road is too high to count. The stresses of a roadtrip are much different than even those of living in the same house together. You're planning on cramming 5 people into one car for several weeks - there will be tension, I guarentee it. This is only going to be enhanced if you are going to try driving straight through to places, without stopping to rest up.
    I've been friends with most of the people I go on roadtrips with for years, I've lived with most of them, and we still have at least some time on every major trip where we are totally sick of each other.

    Start by taking the Roadtrip Compatability Test, but be prepared for how you are going to deal with the inevitable tension.

    Money: If we happened to run out, the parents wouldn't hesitate to help out and send some more!
    I'm sorry, but this statment just makes me cringe. Do your parents know your plan is to rely on them to bail you out? And how exactly do they feel about this?

    Its one thing to call for help if you run into a major emergency - like your car being totalled or suffering a major breakdown - but if you are planning on using your parents to make up for poor planning, then I think you seriously need to take a look at whether you are going to be mature enough to deal with a roadtrip of this magnitide.

    I'd start by reading a Teenage Roadtrip for some ways of getting prepared for the responsibilities of a roadtrip.

    This is our new plan, let me know how much money we will need, and how much time this should take!
    We can't answer this for you. You need to figure out how much time you want to spend at each place, and how much you can afford to spend on the various elements of this trip. Everyone is different, although we've already give you some good ballparks for how much things will cost. You can also read these articles for a guide: How to Plan a Great Roadtrip, and The Art of the Cheap Road Trip,

    Food: I'm sure, the parents again, will help out and I know they will be stuffing our trunk with jumbo boxes of cheez-its and gallons of water before we leave!
    Thats all good and well, but are you really going to want to live off of crackers and water for your entire trip? When figuring out your budget, you'll need to figure out how much you think you'll want to eat hot meals, and how much cooler food you'll be happy eating.

    Places to Stay: We have family in San Francisco that we can stay with for a few nights while we check out the area. I believe someone else in our group has family somewhere near Dallas too.
    Staying with family and friends is a great way to cut lodging costs, but that's only a few days out of this trip. 5 people sleeping in a car simply isn't practical. Do you plan on camping the rest of the time? Are you going to head for a motel if it is raining? these are also things you'll need to figure out your budget.

    Time: We actually took a few places out of our plans, and we never were planning on staying for 2 whole months, we were just saying thats how much time we had if we needed it.
    Again, you'll have to figure out how much time and money you have for this trip. It looks to me like you'll need at least a month just to spend a couple of days in the areas you've outlined.

    Grand Canyon/Las Vegas/Death Valley
    San Francisco/Yosemite
    Grand Teton/Yellowstone/Mt. Rushmore
    I think now you need to look at a map. These places are in the same general part of the country, but they are hundreds of miles apart. San Francisco is several hours from Yosemite, making it SF a very poor place to stay as part of your visit if you want to see any of the park. Mt. Rushmore is 500 miles away from Yellowstone, so you'll need to plan at least one full day just to get between those two areas.

    Most likely covering as many miles as possible during the day, maybe driving straight through the night depending on budget, etc..
    This can be very dangerous if the drivers are not getting enough rest. While is sounds good in theory to have at least one person sleeping while the others are driving, it doesn't work nearly as well in a practical sense. Please read the Art of the Speed run so you stay safe on your journey.

    I'm sorry to seem like a downer, but it just seems like there are lot of responsibilities for your trip you need to think about and take into consideration before you head out on the road.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-28-2006 at 09:47 AM. Reason: added links

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Are you ready for a roadtrip of this magnitude?

    I can't answer that question. But I tend to agree with Michael that your cavalier attitude makes me wonder.

    My kids are both in their early 20's. Both started making roadtrips out of town by themselves by the time they were 17 years old. We started with short trips to visit friends or relatives. Then the trips got longer. By the time they were 18 they were both taking long roadtrips out of state for a week or more without a problem. And without me worrying about them. Why? Because they had proven they had the skills to do these types of trips. They would plan where they were going, figure out their budget, run this info past me and their dad for our input, and then off they'd go.

    I just don't see where you're doing this yourselves. Why not? You really need to take some responsibility for this so you are ready to handle the types of situations you will confront on the road.

    Well, here's a couple of places where you will get some information that might be of help. Poke around this website for more but these will give you a good start.

    The Art of the Speed Run

    Budgeting

    Good luck!

  9. Default

    We dont WANT to rely on the parents, I just mean if something happened, I know they would be happy to send money to help out. And I'm also positive they wouldn't LET us leave without a trunk full of food and water!

    I have already read a lot on this website, including the "art of the speedrun" and the "teenage roadtrip" things, and I didn't find them discouraging.

    Our plan isn't complete yet, we are just starting to plan, so please don't put us down because of that- we have a whole year.

    It's not like we have never been on a long trip before, although this would be the longest. Last year our family drove to Myrtle beach (over 20 hours) over two days.. no problems with boredom or anything there at all. And every summer we go 6 hours to NE PA.

    I don't want to sound nieve. If worse comes to worse and we all decide we just want to go home, we'll take our leftover cash, send whoever wants to go home the most home on planes, and the rest of us will drive straight back.

    Now, I have two more questions. We were planning on going down to Memphis, through Dallas and to the Grand Canyon. Would it be faster/more fun to take route 66 all the way from Chicago to Arizona instead?

    And the book, Road Trip USA looks like a good one.. is it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default A long road ahead

    Quote Originally Posted by puff5655
    Our plan isn't complete yet, we are just starting to plan, so please don't put us down because of that- we have a whole year.
    No one here is trying to put you down. Rather, we are trying to make sure you understand the reality and responsibilities of the trip you are envisioning. The articles we've directed you to were not ment to discourage you, rather they were ment to point you in the right direction.

    It is great that your family has given you a taste of roadtriping, but there is a world of difference between going on a trip and being responsible for planning and paying for one.

    Right now I have serious concerns about your ability to take on the trip you are envisioning. You initially asked us about your plan and your budget, which several people raised several serious issues with. Even more concerning to me was that your reponses consisted of saying your parents could help if you run out of money, that you were confident that you won't have any conflicts between travelers, and that if you did run into problems people could fly home (have you checked the price of a one way, last minute, cross country flight lately?). These statements show a whole lot of inexperience and very little appreciation for the maturity needed for a roadtrip of this magnitude.

    It is great that you have a vision, and your trip still can become a reality. You just need to really sit down and take a close look at what you want to achieve.

    I'd start by figuring out your groups top destinations, figuring out a realistic timeframe, and then coming up with a budget that you can afford, yet still is enough money to make your trip happen without having to call your parents for cash from somewhere in Wyoming.

    Once you do all those things, then come back and we can help give you tips and suggestions to make your trip an even more memorable experience.

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