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  1. Default Louisiana to California - HELP!

    My roommate and I have always wanted to go to California, but we are college students and the airfare is well, out of out budget range. We want to try to do a 10ish (maybe a few days longer) trip from our home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana ultimately to the West Coast. Our plan is to leave around July 19th and be back by July 31. We'd love to make some stops along the way, such as the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Las Vegas, Redwoods, and travelling along Route 66. The problem is that neither of us have ever completely planned a vacation before. I've helped my mother on Disney World trips, but completely on my own - yikes!

    We're worried about money. I'm aiming to save around $1200 for me to spend on the trip - splitting gas and hotels, plus food and souvenirs. (Keep in mind that my roommate will also have roughly that much as well) Is that a reasonable amount of money? I've estimated roughly $500 total for gas.

    Here is my rough itinerary:
    Baton Rouge up through Dallas into Amarillo
    (maybe hit Route 66 at points through here)
    take I-40 until the Grand Canyon
    Head over to Las Vegas
    go over to I-5 up to San Fransisco
    take 1 down the coast to Los Angeles (making stops along the coast to see things)
    Touristy things in LA then down to the beaches of Orange County (I need my beach trip! haha)
    south to San Diego
    head back to Baton Rouge via * to I-10

    I would like to see places in Hollywood and see great things in California. The main goal is Cali and we want to spend several days over there. I'm also concerned about the drive all the way back to Louisiana. I would like to make a few stops along the way - but I don't really know where to go along I-10.

    Any help/tips/concerns...anything will be helpful for us!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Good on the gas

    Quote Originally Posted by lsu_meg View Post
    I've estimated roughly $500 total for gas.
    The exact itinerary is unknown, but the trip would be ~ 5100 miles and using our fuel cost calculator a reasonable expense would be $485, so your estimate is fine -- however, you also need to budget at least $300 for unexpected mechanical and other maintenance costs anytime you expect to drive 5,000+ miles.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Do you like to drive a LOT?

    You're looking at close to 5000 miles in 10 days. That averages out to 500 miles per day. Which means you will be driving about 8 hours per day. This doesn't leave much time to explore anything, or even for laying about on the beach. If you want to have time to play along the way, you really need to squeeze out those extra days.

    If you drop off San Francisco, that will help a bit but you'll still be driving about 4000 or 400 miles per day (for 6 hours of driving). This is better and gives you more room to play.

    The money will be OK but tight.

    If you average $80/day for hotels, that will total $800. Figure $450 for gas. Figure $400 in reserve for emergencies for a total of $1650. This leaves you $750 for food and entertainment. If you eat out of a cooler for at least 2 meals per day and only eat out once per day at lower-priced restaurants, you will probably be spending about $35/day for food. That is another $350 leaving you $400 for fun money.

    Like I said, tight but do-able. Just don't splurge too much on eating out or clubbing because that will zap your budget fast!

    You will be able to find some hotels for cheaper than $80 if you focus on staying at more economical hotel chains like Motel 6, Super 8, and Days Inn. While on the road, if you stay away from hotels in cities, you will probably find some hotels in the $50/night range. But, while in cities like LA and San Diego, the $80 range is more likely. So, if you do some planning and find lower-priced locations along the way, you will probably be able to save on hotels so you have more food/play money.

    Most of us here recommend that you always have some kind of travel service membership, like AAA, when you hit the road. This not only saves you money if you have car trouble, but it also gives you discounts at hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Another place to get discount coupons is at visitor centers, especially the larger ones that you often see at statelines.

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