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  1. Default Summer 2008 NY to CAL and Back

    Hi!

    Me and 4 friends are planning a trip across the US (we are from england) from NY across the top states, down the west coast to LA, then we are returning along the south coast back up to NY. We are planning like 2-3 months over the summer, we hope to rent a VW camper van (does anyone know how much this should roughly cost) so it'd be big enough for all of us and so we could maybe sleep in it. We want to stop in certain states for a while along the way too. Covering all food, car and accomadation does anyone know roughly how much this trip would cost for each of us? so then we can liek combine our money and the trip expenses would be covered. We'd also like to travel through back roads etc. if anyone knows any cool places to stop. Anyhow Thanks alot! :)


    Hannah x

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

    Default Only Approximately

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To a large extent, costs are going to be up to you and your friends, but we can offer some ball park (approximate) figures. The car is going to be a big expense. A full size van for three months is going to be around $7000 to $8000 and maybe a little more. I wouldn't count on such a vehicle getting much more than 15 miles a gallon, a circuit of the US is around 9000 miles, and gas might be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.00/gal (at least) by summer 2008, so you can count on at least another $1800 for gas. All of this is at today's prices, Things could be significantly different in two years. Meals and lodging can be anything from camper basic to spa luxurious. The basic way to travel cheaply is to camp out and prepare many of your own meals. For some more on traveling on a tight budget check out these ideas from a couple of our regular contributors. Also be sure to look into the RoadTrip Planning section. For more general advice on how to estimate expenses, check out this post by Judy. Once you have a handle on what the trip will cost you all, and what you'll have available for sightseeing, there will be plenty of time to deal with the details of what to do on your epic adventure.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    wow! thanks alot! thats really helpful thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wherever the journey takes me...
    Posts
    18

    Default

    I'm going to be the voice of reason, and play Devil's advocate on why you should not do this trip in the beginning of this post, and then, towards the end, give you a ton of reasons why you SHOULD!!

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    Hi!

    Me and 4 friends are planning a trip across the US
    Uh oh...doomed from the start. 5 friends travelling together WILL lead to conflict. How well do the 5 of you get along? How much time to the 5 of you spend together, all together? These are considerations to make before embarking on a 3-month journey across a foreign country. You will be in very close quarters with eachother all-day, every-day for 3 months. The van may seem huge at the beginning of the trip, but come the end of the second week, you'll probably want to kill eachother. Think Road Rules on MTV from back in the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    (we are from england) from NY across the top states, down the west coast to LA, then we are returning along the south coast back up to NY. We are planning like 2-3 months over the summer,
    That is one ambitious trip! You will have quite a few very long driving days on that trip, and you'll probably end up spending quite a few days in interstate highways. 2 months might be cutting it a little short, and is a very optimistic time frame. 3 months is a much more attainable time-frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    we hope to rent a VW camper van (does anyone know how much this should roughly cost) so it'd be big enough for all of us and so we could maybe sleep in it.
    Your best bet for room, sleepability (woohoo new word!) and economy is probably a full-size conversion van. These are very plush vans with many amenities, most even have a TV for the rear passengers, and a fold down bed in the rear. They won't be as home-like as a full-on RV, but will get much better fuel economy and won't be nearly as difficult to drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    We want to stop in certain states for a while along the way too.
    Which states in particular? We've got members here from all over the country who can give you pointers on where to stay, where to eat, what to see etc. There are also guidebooks available from Fodor's and several other companies that outline all the attractions in all the states.

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    Covering all food, car and accomadation does anyone know roughly how much this trip would cost for each of us? so then we can liek combine our money and the trip expenses would be covered.
    As far as money goes, expect to spend about $500 per week for the van, excluding taxes, fuel costs, etc. You can rent conversion vans from RV Rental places. As far as fuel costs go, I do not forsee the cost of gasoline/petrol being higher in the states in 2008 than it is in the UK right now, but you never know. I'd budget gas at $5.00 per gallon just to be on the safe side. It's much better to err on the side of comfort than be stretched too thin and be eating ramen noodles and cold condensed soup the whole trip. Most conversion vans and full size vans are very lucky to get 15mpg. My aunt had an older GMC V8 conversion van that got 8mpg on a good day. I'd budget your fuel on the figure of about 10 miles per gallon, to be on the safe side as well. Also, figure out what places you want to visit and calculate the approximate total distance of that trip, and then add a buffer of 25% on top of that mileage to allow for side-trips, long-ways around, etc. You're probably looking at about $2500-3000 total for your fuel budget, and that will be a very comfortable budget. As far as lodging accomodations go, most campgrounds cost about $20 per night. Some charge per person, some charge per vehicle, some charge per site. There are free camping options as well for RVers, national parks, Wal*Mart parking lots, and other options exist.

    I'd also suggest budgeting hotel rooms for at least a few nights a week. You may want to have a nice bed to sleep in and stretch out, and a shower, especially if you're going to be visiting a town the following day.

    Quote Originally Posted by haelle03 View Post
    We'd also like to travel through back roads etc. if anyone knows any cool places to stop. Anyhow Thanks alot! :)


    Hannah x
    If you're looking for scenic drives, there are multitudes of options for you. Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia is one of my personal favorites. Trails.com has listings of scenic drives from various published books available online. You can get an annual subscription to the site to get full information for about $50. Also, search on Barnes & Noble and The Next Exit by Mark T. Watson before your trip. It has information on what kind of services/attractions/stores are at each exit along every interstate highway in every state.

    As I promised, I was going to give you a ton of reasons why you SHOULD do this trip, and I'll give you a couple of suggestions on things to do before the trip.

    Before you embark on this journey, take a small trip with the 4 friends you're going to be travelling with. Go someplace for a week to see how well you travel together. Do a road trip around England. See how well you get along when you're faced with adversity and challenge. There will be adversity, challenge, conflict and drama on your trip. If you, and the others, are ready, willing, and able to deal with this, work through it, and remain friends in the end, no matter what happens on the trip, GO FOR IT.

    Also, before the trip, make sure you file a tenative trip plan, along with maps and routes with someone before you embark, and check in with that person frequently. You can set up a contact schedule with that person, so they'll know to alert the authorities if they don't hear from you in a given number of days. Be sure to inform them immediately if your trip plan changes! This person will know where you last were, and where you're going, so if, for some reason, they don't hear from you, they can inform the local authorities in the right area and tell them where they think you may be headed, so they can narrow their search. Be sure to tell your contact what you're driving, along with the license plate number.

    This type of trip will break all of you down at one point or another. It will reinforce your relationships with your friends, and bring the 5 of you closer together than you could ever imagine. You will be like family at the end of it.

    A trip like this will be a lot of fun! You get to see a side of a foreign country that you never get to see from your perspective. The USA offers SO MUCH quaint and wierd things to see that it is almost impossible to see it all. Check out the book Wierd U.S. by Mark Sceurman, Mark Moran for some of the oddities the US has to offer.

    You will make memories and have experiences that will last a lifetime. You will live stories that your grandchildren will marvel at. It will be an experience that you will never forget.

    Take your time and just enjoy the trip. There is no need to rush through it, just to get to the next destination. The idea of a road trip is not the destination, it's the journey. The destinations make the journey justifiable to those who don't understand the mentality of the Road Tripper.

    I say go for it! Good luck, and have fun! Oh, and be sure to take a ton of pictures for all your friends and family back in England, as they probably haven't seen any of the wierd stuff the US has to offer either!

  5. Default

    WOW! thanks ALOT for all that help!!! Now we have basics of the amount of money we need! :)

    As for the states for definate i know we want to stop in Ohio (3 of the 5 of us are HUGE Maggie Grace fans! lol) and Louisiana (Britney Spears fan lol!) Thats the two i know we would want to stop in for a little while longer than anywhere else!

    And Again thanks for all the help! :)

    Hannah x

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wherever the journey takes me...
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Another option to save a little bit of money would be if you have friends or family (or your parents have friends *wink wink nudge nudge*) that live in or near the areas you want to visit, staying with them is a good option. It's also nice to see a familiar face along the way.

  7. Default

    lol thanks! for everything!

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