Is this possible to do?
How should I plan to budget this?
Would you recommend an alternative route if this is too much?
There will be four of us, 3 18 year olds, 1 19 (all will be going into freshman or sophomore year of college). We're all going to be splitting all of the costs (gas, lodging, shared food, etc.) We are very prepared to rough it. We're doing this for an experience, not a vacation in the pleasure cruise sense. Long days, crappy accommodations are givens.
Our purpose (in order of importance)
1. See the country. Experience all of the cultures and differences in the United States. We want this to be something we'll remember for the rest of our lives. This could be the last time the four of us can have three responsibility-free weeks to do this. We want to make the most of it.
2. See important sights like Rushmore, Yellowstone, etc.
3. Reach the West Coast and travel coast-to-coast back to the east coast.
Here are the limits of the situation
- We have 20-25 days at most to do this due to conflicting plans.
- We can spend $700 each. $1000 each is the ABSOLUTE LIMIT.
- We're fitting 4 people and everything into a 1998 Volkswagon Passat.
So have at it. These are the only real givens. Below is just some planning that I've done and more questions I have.
I was looking at these routes, Oregon Trail and US-50
and I like Philadelphia (our home) -> Yellowstone -> San Francisco -> Ocean City, NJ (where one of us has a beach house. we figure this will be good because we'll need some time to just relax after all of this).
We're expecting to sleep in cars at least a few nights. I understand that truck stops are safe for this. Where else is okay? Any other advice relating to this?
What about camping? We've never camped before. Parks generally charge $12...individually or for a group? What do I need to know about camping?
We'll sleep in motels occasionally. What can I expect for rates for a double room? A single (with some of us on the floor)? Motels have to be clean, but no luxuries.
For food, we plan to get 90% of our meals from grocery stores to cut costs.
We can always turn back sooner if we're running out of money. We just cut down south and head east along US-50 and just cut the corner. I think this is a good safety net in case expenses add up or we just can't handle sleeping in cars/camping every night.
Or am I crazy to think $4000 will get 4 teenagers across the country and back in 3 weeks while being able to see enough to make it worth it? I figure you guys are the ones to ask, because I have no idea.