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  1. #1

    Default Need help with a trip across the country!!

    I've been planning a road trip for this summer for a few months now and it's coming together very beautifully. But I still need some help around the edges. I'm really excited and want everything to go smoothly so we have a great time and see everything we can.
    Here's the basic facts of this trip:

    -Two people, me and my boyfriend, both age 20
    -Driving from South Jersey to a city near portland, OR (we have friends there so it's a general stop point on the west coast)
    -We were thinking of getting to OR as fast as possible through the northern states, then dropping down to cali and spend more time in the southern states working our way back over and up the east coast to Jersey
    -approx 5 weeks for this voyage, we'll be leaving for the trip on or around May 15th
    -I estimated about $6000 between us for the whole thing including food and gas, that's our minimum to save up to, hopefully we can get together more than that, but definately planning on 3000 each for now.
    -We'll be taking my 2003 Camry, averaging 26-30 mpg with a 16 gal tank, the car will be fully serviced for efficiency and safety before the trip.
    -I figured about $1000-$1500 to be safe for gas, we'll need at least two oil changes on the way, and I'll have new tires before the trip.
    -We're both hiking and camping enthusiasts so we'll be camping as much as possible as opposed to staying in a motel which is boring and expensive. We're thinking on average 4-5 days a week camping and 2-3 days a week in a cheap motel or bed and breakfast on average.
    -I'm very good at cooking and being resourceful, especially outdoors, I grew up in the pine barrons.
    -We want to stop and camp at as many national and state parks as week can, and see the beautiful natural parts of this country.
    -I am also a big music lover and go to many different rock, jamband, classic rock, etc. concerts and a few festivals around the area, and I would love to stop at a few good festivals and as many concerts as we can afford around the country. Plus that is a source of money since I make and sell jewelry which tends to do very well in a festival.

    we have a big list of destinations we want to make sure we stop at, things like national parks, natural wonders, museums, interesting cities, and a few friends along the way. We're doing all we can to save money like buying an annual national parks pass that just arrived, and maybe using a gas card. This list is what gave us our general route. it will be narrowed down a lot more and become more precise in the coming months.

    I guess I would like some advise.. does all this sound realistic? is it possible to get to our destination in OR in about a week and a half? (there aren't too many stops along the north that we'll be staying at for more than a day or two) So then we have maximum time in the south where most of the national parks we want to see are. What are good ways to keep costs down? Is there anything I'm forgetting?
    Any advise, questions, or criticism is appreciated.

    Thanks a lot!

    -Happy trips for everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Fairly sound

    Five weeks is a good length of time for this trip; I would give at least five days to make it across the country in a fairly comfortable manner. You don't want to push it from the start.

    For the oil changes, I would go to a synthetic as they usually have increased change intervals - in my car, the change interval is 10,000 miles.

    If you haven't taken any fairly long trips together yet, you'll want to take this quiz.

    You may want to set up some places to stay around the Memorial Day weekend, since that is right in the middle of your trip. I would recommend it, although it may not be absolutely necessary. Near the national parks as well, you may have to book ahead, since you will be partly in the prime Summer travel season during the second half of your trip.

    Most of your ideas about how to save money are sound - it sure looks like you've done your research!

  3. #3

    Default best way to map out the route?

    So my road trip for this summer from Jersey to Oregon up along the north states then down along the south states and up the east coast is coming together more and more but I need some advise on how to plan the actual route.
    We figured we're going to have a list of all the things we want to see (within the radius of the general direction, we don't want to zigzag too much) and we'll make if from one to the next, stopping at anything interesting along the way, then getting back on our route.
    Is there a program I can use that would help me put a long list of destinations in the most efficient order, and give directions from one to the next? Would a map program like Delorme street atlas work? (I have it at work) Or is there something better or easier? I was also going to get a big map of the US and put thumb tacks at our stops to start so we have someting visual in front of us to look at.
    Any advise is helpful! Thanks for the tips on my last thread :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Old Fashioned

    Personally, I think theres no better way to plot a route than to pull out a paper atlas - or your wall map and thumbtack method - and plot the route out by hand. I think you really can find the best route yourself this way.

    The various computer programs provide a good supplement, and are especially helpful in plotting mileages, but I find that I can find better and more enjoyable route that reflect my goals than any of the cold solutions that are generated by a computer's mathamatical forumal.

  5. Default I do both as well..

    My original basic planning for a big trip (multi days, a week or more) is pretty much to pull out a map and start day dreaming about how I might travel -- which also gives me some rough ideas of roads to travel, where to stop, places to see, etc. Then I'll do some more detailed planning to pick a specific route. That involves both some computer mapping, and some internet searching and some digging through things like AAA Tour books. I use the internet maps to give me specific distances between locations and specific routings, and I use the internet searchs to do things like get hotel reviews, get some different opinions on what to stop at and visit, and the like.

    When I do travel this all gets turned into a notebook or file folder. I have the paper maps for the basic route in it, as well as perhaps some printouts of specific destinations (like directions to a hotel or specific place to visit if I'm concerned about the directions). If I've found a really good description of somewhere along the way I'll throw it in too, including some of those optional "oh it would be nice to visit if I have the time" places. Lastly, I have downloaded some key waypoints and key destinations from the map into my little hand held GPS to answer those nasty questions like "Really how far away is that right now?".

    And oh yeah, I really do sometimes overprepare. But I'm usually pretty flexible about exact destinations and things to visit or specific routes, and I think having a good preparation helps give me this flexibility.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Preparations

    My preparations usually start months in advance for a big trip. In the past couple of years I've been making booklets of information (and have them bound) which include such things as important contact details, area attractions and restaurants, a route overview, a fuel and expense log, etc. I let my family have a copy of the route overview and contact details since I tend to be out of reach for most of the trip (I do make it a point to check in).

    The route plans are flexible, of course. Despite having enormous amounts of information at our disposal, the chances of something coming up that requires alternate routing are still very great - unforeseen road closures, weather conditions, etc. So in your search for "the most efficient route" between two places, keep in mind that it may not be "the most enjoyable" route.

    I think everybody should own at least one big map of the US, too.

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