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  1. Default Needed help from some Canadians

    Hello everyone, I have a very similar question as the other group of girls who wanted to travel across America but mine is slightly different. Me and my 2 close friends would like to go on a trip after we graduate because we're all going to different universities. We have never done such a thing so we're kind of confused where to start. I'll tell you what we know.
    There will be 3 of us.
    We're not far from Toronto so we're pretty close to the border.
    I'll be the only 18 yr old after graduation, their birthdays are closer to winter.
    We'll be driving my car.
    We are not 100% sure on destinations but we are thinking going down through Buffalo, hitting New York and eventually get to Florida.
    One of my friends only wants to stay in motels but I'm trying to convice him we should go camping b/c he's never done it and i figure it might be cheaper.
    We have already taken one day trip to Toronto for shopping on boxing day and we're plannin a weekend trip after prom so we're going to have some experience before the summer hits.


    So we would desperetly like some advice on how to plan this out, how much money we would need, how long you think this could be done for some ammatures. umm... thats all I can think of right now, so can you PLEASE! give me some of your great advice. It's muchly appreciated!
    Last edited by carmey012; 01-03-2007 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    For starters, our Planning Pages are a source of great information that will help you plan your trip.

    Camping (tent) will definitely be cheaper than getting a motel room, and should be easier for you as well given the age ranges of your group. See this link for more on that. It may seem like it's geared toward the parents, but you can get a lot of good information from it as well. And it never hurts to get the parents involved!

    How much time are you planning on spending in the States? Where in Florida are you planning on ending up? By answering these two questions, we'll be able to better help you plan your trip.

  3. Default

    ya, i love camping and my friend just agreed to camping too as long as we can stay in some motels so we can have a change of pace and an actual bed to sleep in. We went down there for a school trip once and it took something like 27 hrs straight so it can be done but I'm not sure if we're stopping in different places and what not. And in Florida wherever. We just want to be able to get to a beach and see the attractions w/o a huge drive and w/o paying a huge bill for visiting a tourist spot.
    Last edited by carmey012; 01-03-2007 at 09:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Please don't drive 27 hours straight!!

    Even if you switch off drivers, it just isn't safe. Sleeping in a car isn't as restful as in a bed...or sleeping bag. :-) There is no way that you will be driving safely by the end of that long speed run.

    You might check out this post for ideas about how to plan your budget.

  5. Default

    no, by camping, we mean like tent camping at camp grounds, oh gosh no, i wouldnt even sleep in my car if i was in my driveway and we wouldnt actually drive straight through w/o stopping, we'd kill ourselves. We're thinkin about stopping maybe twice before we get to florida, we just don't know how long to drive and where to stop because none of us have been through the states before.

  6. Default

    hey judy, i went to the post you suggested and i went to the Fuel Cost Calculator and I wanted to make sure I did it right and it makes sense to you guys.

    From my town to Florida is 1335.8 miles. I checked my car online and it says it has an average of 32 mpg and I went on gasbuddy.com and saw the average prices were around 2.30 but I wanted to be safe and said 2.50. My results were it would cost $104.36 in fuel. Does that sound about right?
    But I didn't calculate any stops or anythin.. B/c we aren't sure about extra driving that doesnt involve straight freeway drivin, how many extra miles should I add?

    You guys are going to get so fed up with me by the end of this, i have SOO many questions but I'm glad your helping =D

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default Error on the side of caution.

    I think your fuel cost estimate is going to be significantly on the low side.

    First of all, you've only calcuated your mileage one way. Since I assume you are planning to come back, you need to double everything to start.

    Second, its very unlikely you will only travel the distance from point A to point B. It looks like you used Orlando as your destination to calculate miles, but are you also going to visit some of the other cities, such as Tampa or Miami, that could add several hundred additional miles. Plus there will be some driving to find your campground, and probably a bunch of in town driving once you get to Florida. If you are only stopping in one city, then I'd say increase your estimate by at least 20% to cover all of the incidental driving you'll be doing.

    I also think you will be unlikely to get 32 mpg if that's what the EPA predicts for your highway mileage. Those calculations are made driving a brand new car 55 mph without AC, lights, or even the radio running. You will also likely be doing at least some city driving. 30 mpg would the highest figure I'd use, but you'd be even better off calcuating what your car actually gets for mileage (or km/Liter) during your next few tanks of gas.

    Finally, I think expecting gas to be $2.50 this summer is rather unlikely. Gas prices tend to go up significantly in the summer, and I wouldn't use any number lower than $3 per gallon for this calculation - and even that could end up being too low.

    Changing all of those things gives you a ballpark calculation of 3300 miles, at 30 mpg, at $3 per gallon. That totals out to about $330. However, that is the minimum I think you can expect. Budgeting $400 to $500 would give you at least a little flexability in case things end up costing more than you plan.

  8. Default

    hey again, ya i wasnt sure if that figure seemed reasonable. I also purposally only put the milage for going down because we're going to stop A LOT more on our way home because we want to see the sites and on the way to Florida we're drivin straight through expect to sleep and eat.

    So I was going to try to calculate that and then add the two milages than add like $100 to error on the side of caution. Does that seem reasonable or am I over complicating things?--I do that often.

    Can't wait to hear from you again!

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

    Default Re-read Michael's post above

    I think following his advice will give you the best guesstimate of your costs.

    And I totally agree with him that you need to find out the MPG for YOUR vehicle and not just go by the manufacturer's estimated usage. I have done numerous caravans with a car club where we are all driving the same vehicles. It is amazing to me how variable our fuel consumption is even though we're driving together so we are driving the same general speeds, etc. It isn't uncommon for me to have about 1/2 a tank left when others are getting closer to 1/4 or 1/3 tank. (And I'm not going by the gauge readings but by how many gallons we have to fill.)

    I would suggest putting a small notebook in your car and then doing the following each time you fill for the next month or two to get a good average.

    Jot down the total miles driven from your odometer. Write down how many gallons you put in your tank. Do this every time you fill.

    On your second tank, you can start figuring your fuel consumption for that particular tank. Divide the total number of miles driven on that tank by the number of gallons you put in your car.

    You need to do this over at least 5-6 tanks to get an idea of how much you average because it does vary by things like highway vs. city driving and other variables. Even weather can make a difference. I always get about 2 more miles per gallon in the summer than I do in the winter. Go figure.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Good to know!

    Quote Originally Posted by carmey012 View Post
    no, by camping, we mean like tent camping at camp grounds, oh gosh no, i wouldnt even sleep in my car if i was in my driveway and we wouldnt actually drive straight through w/o stopping, we'd kill ourselves. We're thinkin about stopping maybe twice before we get to florida, we just don't know how long to drive and where to stop because none of us have been through the states before.
    When I read that post, it sounded to me like you meant to drive straight-thru without stopping.

    How long to drive? It really depends on you. Some folks simply like driving longer hours than others. Some folks stay alert while driving longer than others. We've seen people on these forums who only want to drive 2-3 hours per day while others are looking forward to driving 8+ hours per day. What are you comfortable with?

    Where to stop? Wherever you are when you're getting tired of being on the road. I'm sure you're looking for specific recommendations but I'm unfamiliar with this part of the country and can't help with that. I suggest that you get a good map or atlas and see if anyplaces along your route jump out at you as places you'd like to explore a bit more.

    I'm sure if you do that and then come back here with a more specific route and places you're planning on staying overnight at, that you'll start getting more specific feedback and recommendations.

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