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  1. Default Highschool senior wants to commemorate graduation with a roadtrip

    OK, so ever since freshman year in highschool, me and my two best friends since 2nd grade (crazy, I know) have promised to go on a roadtrip when we graduated. Now reality is really hitting us; our top choice universities are pretty much in different corners of the U.S....so we definitely want one last awesome memory to hold onto.

    We want to go from our town in Maryland to Montreal, Canada, and have the trip last about a week. I think we can handle figuring out the route, but the question is, how safe is a trip like this for three 18 yr old girls? What safety measures can we take to make sure our parents are comfortable with the trip? We'll be on a really tight budget and haven't ruled out hostels, but the rents see that as "unsafe"...
    Last edited by thisyearsfashion; 11-22-2006 at 05:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A few ideas and resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thisyearsfashion View Post
    I think we can handle figuring out the route, but the question is, how safe is a trip like this for three 18 yr old girls? What safety measures can we take to make sure our parents are comfortable with the trip? We'll be on a really tight budget and haven't ruled out hostels, but the rents see that as "unsafe"...
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! I wrote a couple of articles that you might find helpful in your planning process. The first is a quiz that you and your friends ought to take and make sure your goals are still the same for this adventure. The second article has some tips for being safe out there. And the final one is one you can share with your folks...

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Thank you! The parent article is great. That's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

    As far as getting along for a week in the car together/agreeing on things to do...that has the potential to be pretty disastrous...But we are planning out the trip with the spirit of compromise in mind, haha.

    Camping has already been ruled completely out of the question by my parents, so if anybody has experience with hostels as a low-cost alternative to motels, I'd be interested to hear about that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Hostels

    I've never found hostels to be unsafe, although it is harder to protect your stuff living in shared quarters. However, with 3 people, it could very well be cheaper to split a low end motel than each paying for a hostel bed.

    May I ask why your parents have ruled out camping?

    Moderator and Quebec Resident Gen recently offered some Montreal lodging options in this thread that you should check out.

  5. Default

    Super! I wouldn't have thought about the university...

    Good point about the hostels being more expensive for three people. I just noticed a thread on this in another section...man, I really should have checked around a little before posting this! Hah.

    Camping was one of the things my friends and I were most looking forward to, which is why it's such a shame my parents have said, and I quote, "Girls can't camp alone" (when I suggested we bring boys they seemed even more appalled with the idea, so...I'm really not sure what their angle on this is). I guess they fear scary rapists/etc. Seems a bit illogical as I haven't ever associated this as one of the dangers of camping, but...
    Last edited by thisyearsfashion; 11-22-2006 at 08:07 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Camping and safety issues

    Camping was one of the things my friends and I were most looking forward to
    I seriously doubt you will find many camping opportunities near Montreal anyway, unless you leave the island and go on the south/north shore or towards the Ontario border. And if you do so, you will have to drive for many miles and go through several traffic jams to get to the island everyday unless you stay on the south shore, park your car at the metro parking lot and take the Longueuil subway (metro).

    Personally, I would stay on the island (University residences, oratoire St-Joseph, B&B), use the subway and bus systems and only use your car if necessary. I don't recommend driving through Montreal, especially if you are relatively unexperienced drivers and not used to tight parallel parking. Parking spaces are hard to find and some of the posted signs might as well be written in Chinese. Plus Montreal drivers can be kind of agressive (beware of taxi drivers!:-)

    Let alone the parking issue, Montreal is a fun and safe city, a lot safer than most American and Canadian cities. I left my hometown at 17 and lived by myself in Montreal for 2-3 years and I can assure you that it is definitely a safe city. Just stay clear of dark alleys, parks and avoid certain parts of town at night like Montreal-Nord and St-Henri -- and even so, they're not necessarily more dangerous than others and not commercial areas anyway.

    Here are some ideas of attractions you could explore. If you need some more info regarding safety, lodging, language, restaurants, etc., feel free to write me a note, I'd be glad to help you plan your trip and maybe teach you a few French words!:-)

    Gen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Safety stuff in general

    I think this sounds like a great way to spread your wings and get used to being on your own. I hope you can convince your parents to let you camp on the way to Montreal and back. Established campgrounds, especially private ones, are usually full of families. To be honest, I think these types of campgrounds are usually safer than low-end hotels. But I haven't had any problems in these either and, yes, they will be cheaper than hostels and more plentiful, too.

    My kids are 20 and 23. But both started doing short roadtrips while still in high school without us. We started by letting them drive overnight to a friend's or relative's home for short weekend trips. As they showed they could do this responsibly, they were allowed to do roadtrips requiring a hotel or camping overnight stay. By the time they graduated, I was comfortable with them going knowing that they would make good judgements. My daughter's graduation trip was a roadtrip to a big punkfest concert of some kind in San Francisco. She was gone about a week. My son's graduation trip wasn't a roadtrip but he flew to NYC for a week of theater-hopping. I didn't worry a bit because they had proven themselves. We talked daily as they took their cellphones with them so that really helped this mom feel better, too.

    I suggest you start with some short trips between now and graduation so your parents are more comfortable with your decision-making abilities.

    Congrats on graduating soon! And hope you have a good trip.

  8. Default

    Gen - Thanks for the tips on what to do/see in Montreal...you mentioned language...don't most people in Quebec speak English as well as French?

    I'm dragging my friends out to do some clubbing in The Village for sure...and then they said they were dragging me to church, so I guess that makes us even (I'm going to have to be repeating the compromise mantra in my head the entire trip...).

    Judy - thanks for mentioning family camp grounds vs. low end motel. It made my mom rethink her stance a bit! My friend has a beach house a couple hours away, and so we're planning some weekend trips there to get my parents comfortable with the idea of us traveling. Just don't tell them the drinking age in Canada is 18...

    ~

    Open to any other suggestions as to what to do in Montreal (we're probably only staying for a couple days, though) and especially on the way down/back. We definitely want to hit a New England beach, and some pretty areas in the Catskills and/or Adirondacks. Maybe NYC/Philly/Boston, but we've "been there, done that", so especially looking for unique ideas...A week seems so short, haha.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Beach, clubbing and drinking

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    To be honest, I think these types of campgrounds are usually safer than low-end hotels.
    I totally agree with Judy. Nice campgrounds are pretty easy to find on your way to Mtl and back (NY, VT and/or NH) and I'm sure they'd be much safer and cleaner than many low-key motels. As for Montreal, since there are not many campgrounds around, I really think a room at a university residence (UdeM or UQAM) would be the best option for you, for safety, hygiene and budget reasons.

    don't most people in Quebec speak English as well as French?
    It is quite true for the Montreal area -- especially west of St. Laurent blvd --, but although a lot of people speak both languages in the province, they're not a majority. 80% of the Quebec population are native french speakers while only 8% have English as a mother tongue. However, since English is taught as a second language in all primary and high schools (and further on) and because of our historical and cultural heritage, it is widely spoken among the province by both English and French speaking communities. Most English speaking and bilingual people are to be found in southern Quebec : Montreal area, Eastern Townships and the Outaouais region bording Ontario. So, my point is -- and I do have one BTW - if you stick to southern Quebec and even if do the trekk to Quebec City, language shouldn't be a worry for you:-). Besides, French speaking people are generally very fond of English accents so don't be shy to try out your French speaking skills!

    I'm dragging my friends out to do some clubbing in The Village for sure...and then they said they were dragging me to church, so I guess that makes us even (I'm going to have to be repeating the compromise mantra in my head the entire trip...).
    The Village (metro Beaudry) is definitely a happening place, especially if you are into alternative nighlife but I just hope your friends are not too prude because there are a lot of things going on, if you know what I mean. The youngest crowd hang out at Club Unity (it is closed because of a recent fire but they're reopening very soon). If you're looking for something a bit more classy, try out the Sky. Mado Cabaret is always a favourite for drag queen shows (lipsync, emceeing, etc.) and all the kitsch that goes with it (decor, music) but unfortunately the jokes and "bitching" that goes on between the performances are in French only. If you go there don't sit too close to the stage or you're going to get teased:o) The Parking has some very good hip-hop DJ's but they're only letting the ladies in one or two night a week. The rest of the time, the girls hang out at Metro Lounge or Drugstore.

    Outside the Village, for hip places, head to St. Laurent blvd (metro St-Laurent, go north of Sherbrooke St.) or Crescent Street (metro Guy-Concordia). For glamour, go to Club 737 and dance on the roof of this 46 storeys building. For grunge, check out Plateau Mont-Royal. For jazz go to Upstairs Jazz Club (mo Guy), Modavie (mo Champs-de-Mars) or House of Jazz (mo Peel). For breweries, stroll down St. Denis St. and the Latin Quarter. For Irish Pubs, check out the downtown area between Peel St. and Bishop. After Hours club are pretty much an underground thing but there are a few places widely known in the clubbing scene like Aria, Stereo and Circus.

    Since you said your friend wanted to bring you to church:-), ahem, I'd suggest the magnificient Basilique Notre-Dame in old Montreal (metro Place d'Armes) or the Oratoire St-Joseph in Côte-des-Neiges.

    don't tell them the drinking age in Canada is 18...
    Actually, legal drinking age is not 18 in all of Canada, but it is indeed accurate to say it is for Quebec. Just remember to keep an eye on your drinks if you have some, don't ever let your glass unnattended or out of sight, and don't drink and drive, it is severely punished here too. Plus, if I were you I'd use this drinking privilege responsibly if you want your parents to give you latitude in your future road trip projects.

    Open to any other suggestions as to what to do in Montreal (we're probably only staying for a couple days, though) and especially on the way down/back. We definitely want to hit a New England beach,
    Tell me more about your interests beside clubbing, and I'll try to provide you with some info about Mtl. As for the playa destination, my first choice when it comes to beaches in New England is definitely Provincetown (Cape Cod). Not only, I consider the Herring Cove beach to be one of the prettiest with its sand dunes but PTown is very lively in the summer. There is always some fiesta or festival of some kind going on and a lot of interesting people.

    Gen

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