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  1. Default Road Trip from San Jose, CA (Northern to Southern) in 1 Month?

    Hey. My friends and I are first time road-trippers and are looking to do a senior trip from San Jose, CA up through the Northern states and then down the Atlantic Coast and finally through the Southern states back to San Jose, CA. We have some what of an idea of what we are going to do but we are, for the most part, totally confused.

    We are hoping to do this trip in about a month and with a budget of around 1,000-1,200 dollars per person.

    We would like to make a few fun stops here and there and take a few back roads but most of our trip will be on the main highways.

    Do you have and suggestions for where we should go? And also, do you think that the time and money we have set aside for this trip is enough?

    Thanks alot.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Traveled with these guys before?

    Quote Originally Posted by ejk1989
    Hey. My friends and I are first time road-trippers and are looking to do a senior trip from San Jose, CA up through the Northern states and then down the Atlantic Coast and finally through the Southern states back to San Jose, CA.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! First thing I would suggest is to have each member of this troupe take the roadtrip compatibility quiz and discuss the differences in roadtrip styles!
    We have some what of an idea of what we are going to do but we are, for the most part, totally confused.
    When is this trip being planned for?
    Do you have and suggestions for where we should go? And also, do you think that the time and money we have set aside for this trip is enough
    What are you traveling in? Are all of the parents "on-board" with this plan?

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some Drizzle on Your Parade

    Quote Originally Posted by ejk1989
    We are hoping to do this trip in about a month and with a budget of around 1,000-1,200 dollars per person.
    I'm sorry, but that works out to about $35/day per person, and that is simply not going to be sufficient. You can scrimp by eating out of a cooler rather than at restaurants, and you can save by camping rather than staying at motels, but travelling on that tight a budget is going to get very old very fast. You're looking at around $1100 just for gas to make this trip. You will have no cushion for breakdowns or other emergencies, and no money for souvenirs or admissions to any attractions along the way. The harsh reality is that you might need at least twice as much as you currently think for this trip to start to be fun.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    When is this trip being planned for?
    Quote:
    Do you have and suggestions for where we should go? And also, do you think that the time and money we have set aside for this trip is enough

    What are you traveling in? Are all of the parents "on-board" with this plan?
    We will be traveling next year during the months of June and July and so far all parents are on board with the plan. And thanks for the price range information. Either we will need to start saving quick or just cut out a chunk of our trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Maybe concentrate on a Region

    If money and time are worrying you is there a specific region of the US that you are more interested in?

    It's going to be hard to see a lot of the US at less than 45 mph in a month. But, you could explore the heck out of the West or the South in a month. This would allow for several days in certain locations. It would also let you and your friends potentially explore different things on the same day thus minimizing the risk of too much "togetherness" leading to someone being punted out on the side of the highway (not that I've ever contemplated that).

  6. Default Trip budgeting

    This topic seems to come up a lot.. And I suspect what folks use to budget for road trips seems to vary quite a bit. Let me throw out what I use for low end (camping mostly) and high end (hotels) trips, for 1 or 2 people..

    As a rule of thumb, I use:

    1-2 tanks of gas (200-500 miles per day) @$3.50 per gallon, and 17 mpg as per my car (a Toyota Sequoia SUV). You'd want to adjust this as per your desire to drive and your car's mileage, and your guestimate of gas prices. In round numbers these days, that's $50 - 100 per day, independent of the number of people in the car. (Note: My highway mileage is actually 20-21 mpg, but I always leave a pad in all my budgets...)

    Lodging -- On a road trip, I'll usually try to camp to save costs. A reasonable hotel will run you typically $70-80 per night, including lodging taxes and etc (most hotels quote their rates independent of taxes -- which typically add $6-10 per nigh). A campground will run you around $15-30. An extra person typically adds $10-20 per person in a hotel/motel, although in a campground typically up to 4-6 people are covered by the basic price. Showers may cost extra in a campground per shower, typically $1 or $2 (depending upon how long you shower).

    Food -- If you eat from the cooler and do simple campground cooking, I typically do pretty well for around $10-15 per person per day. A good restaurant meal seem to run around $10-15 per person, with some NICE restaurants running $30+ per person.

    Misc charges --

    - Tourist stuff and souvieners: Potentially a *BIG* expense. Places like Disneyland can run you $50 per person per day just on entrance fees. Plus theme-park-priced food ($5 hot dogs!) and "no kidding I was there" trinkets ($25 t-shirts). I'm always surprized by how much some places charge... and even when I do go to a major attraction, I tend to buy my souveniers outside the attraction where prices seem to be 1/2 what they are inside.

    Big cities like San Francisco or LA or NYC or Washington DC seem to suck out funds very quickly. Parking fees -- up to $20 per day per car. Subway/ metro/ cable car etc fees of $10+ per person per day. Restaurants, drinks, bookstores (my worst vice!!), museums (up to $20 per person), Tours, etc. Budget for what you think you can spend, and stick with the budget.

    And I'll note -- pictures, particularly on a digital camera, are free pretty much. (Some places like Monument Valley will want you to pay anyone a small fee to be in the picture....)

    - National Parks, etc. If you're going to go through more than 3 National Parks or National Monuments in a year get the National Park Service Annual pass. Its around $50 a car if memory serves, and pays off quickly.

    - Miscellenous stuff. You'll probably want to stop about every 4-5 days and do laundry, partciularly on a 30 day trip. Some campground have coin laundries, and some motels/ hotels do. Else you can typically find a laundromat and run a load or two. Cost is maybe $5 -- but you'll need to budget the time to let the machines run. Most hotels/motels have a laundry service, but it requires typically 24 hours and is expensive -- like $2 for a pair of socks. Keep some money available for emergency money, such as in a credit card you don't use. Worse comes to worse, it'll pay for a new tire or engine hose, and a hotel room in the middle of nowhere while the car gets fixed. Advantage of the card is it will pay to get get things fixed, and you have 30 days to pay it off, before the 20% interest rate kicks in.

    Bottom line: When I'm traveling and camping, I budget around $150 per day for 2 people, which is mostly gas money. That covers gas to make miles, campground fees, and simple food. If I'm not driving somewhere, that will cover a reasonable hotel room, a bit of spending money somewhere, and a lower end dinner somewhere.

    If you have more people going with you, then you can stretch the budget over more people for modest amounts. Just make sure you're comfortable with being in the same small vehicle with them for a month. (And any car gets small after a month...)

    Before I commit to a trip, I lay out a rough itenerary -- where, how many miles to get there, about when I might get there, etc. The miles and times let me estimate gas costs and lodging costs. Then I pencil in some fun things to do (parks, hikes, tours, amusement parks, fancy dinners, etc.). And yes, I do internet research for all this stuff. Then I look at the rough itenerary and estimate a budget and match it to my means for that trip. Sometimes I'll erase things, because of the time it takes to do things or the cost. Other times I'll pencil in more things ...

    Anyway... good luck on your trip. But it's time to do some planning to see what works for what you want to do. My back of the envelope says you'll be around $1500-2000 for gas for 30 days for a 9000 mile trip. Assuming a $3000 budget, that leaves only $1500-1000 for 30 days for other things, or only $30-50 per day. Enough to do car camping I think -- but not enough to hit a lot of big cities, or do a lot of sightseeing or tourist spots.

  7. Default 23 Days to see America

    Hey there!

    Three friends and I are planning a road trip for next summer and would like to see as much of America as we can. We have about 23 days and are willing to spend up to $1,200/person. If possible we would like to do a round trip from San Jose, CA to the South, East, North and West and just kind of skip over the central states. However, we are open for ideas if this doesnt look to reasonable. If so, what would be the best areas to see?

    Thanks alot,

    Ejk1989

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

    Default Time

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You're budget looks fine, but I don't know if you'll have enough time to do the trip you'd want in 23 days. Really, to do a lap around the US in this amount of time you'll kind of just have to drive by everything and stop for almost nothing.

    What are your goals for this trip? Do you want to see natural wonders or cities, or both? I think you'll probably want to focus your attention on a couple areas. I think you should have time to see pretty much any one or two parts of the country you are interested in, but I don't think you have time to see everything.

  9. Default

    Thanks alot. Here is a idea of what i would like to accomplish:

    As far as cities go I would like to visit Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, New Orleans and Las Angeles (those are my top priority city destinations and we would only spend a two nights at the most while in these areas)

    When it comes to National Parks/recreational activies I would like to see Yellowstone NP and Everglades NP I would also like to take in a horse back trail and a river/sea kayaking trip at some point but I have no idea of a good place to do these. If you have any ideas about how I can string my trip together or where I can accomplish these goals I would be grateful.

    Thanks alot,
    EJK1989

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

    Default Time to scale back

    I'm sorry, but you simply do not have enough time to do a big loop trip like this. It would take you more than 3 weeks just to drive between all of those places, even if you don't spend a single day at your priority destinations.

    I'd probably start by cutting out the entire southern half of your trip. If you eliminate Florida, New Orleans, and LA, you might have enough time for the rest of your stops. Even then, it you'd have to keep moving pretty good.

    You really need to start mapping out your ideas, and start seeing just how long it will take you to get between these places. Until you get an appreciation for just how big this country is, you will have a very hard time coming up with a realistic plan for your trip.

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