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Thread: Coast to Coast

  1. Default Coast to Coast

    Hi there, two friends and I are planning a road trip in the fall, starting possibly mid-september for 3 months. What we know is that we want to see as much as possible in the whole of US at the same time keeping costs down and not being too rushed. What don't know is what route is the most popular for three Bristish guys who have all just finished their studies, all 22. We wanted something which preferably starts on the east coast and finishes in the west and stops at all the major tourist destinations along the way. We don't know whether what to rent or buy, should we being staying in motels? Or using a camper van? None of us have very good experience with car maintenance. We've got maximum $18,000 dollars for the whole trip, and would love to see some of that back. We are up for anything and love doing it cheap, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Cheers from

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Planning Ahead

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    For some very rough guestimates on costs, let's say that 3 months is 100 days - making a nice round figure.

    Lodging: If you do a mix of low cost motels and camping, you can get by on about $50/day for a total trip expenditure of $5000.

    Food: Let's say that you scrimp and eat mostly out of a cooler with the occasional splurge for a sit down, restaurant meal. Call it $15/day/person for a total of $4500.

    Car: You shop for a deal and find a rental for ~$200/week for 13 weeks, so $2500. But wait - you're all under 24, so add $25/day/driver for an additional $7500. Yes, you can buy a car and hope to sell it at the end of your trip, or even use one of the companies that guarantee to buy back at the end, but you'll have to put up at least $6000 at the start of your trip to get a car that will hold up to three months on the road.

    Gas: Let's guess that you're going to drive 200 miles a day (on average) and that your car gets 20 miles to the gallon gas doesn't rise above $3/gal (cheap by your standards). That's another $3000.

    So if you rent a car, keep the miles down, sleep and eat on the cheap, you're looking at a ballpark figure of around $15,000 to $21,000. depending in large measure on what your car hire company decides to do about your age. So.... you're $18,000 is just getting to the realm of possible.

    Now you need to do a bit of homework. For starters, here are some general tips on travelling on a budget. For some of the ins, outs, and difficulties of buying and selling a car as a foreign national, start with this post and follow the other links therein. Note that one big advantage to renting is that any maintenance issues are the responsibility of the rental company. finally, don't worry about what is the most popular route, but think about what you want to see. Get a map of the US and start marking off where those places are. With 3 months you can see quite a lot as long as you do it efficiently.


  3. Default Brits on tour

    Thanks for the great advice, we were wondering whether renting or buying an RV would have any cost or comfort advantages, over say renting and staying in motels?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default All things considered....

    Quote Originally Posted by bendavis View Post
    Thanks for the great advice, we were wondering whether renting or buying an RV would have any cost or comfort advantages, over say renting and staying in motels?
    If you were an expert RVer, (that is you didn't need to learn how to live well in a RV for those three months) I would say that the choice would be close to a wash (about equal expense) but if you are novices, in any way, that the RV option could cost you as much as twice the over-all expense. Most RV parks cost $38 to $65 per night and you can often find nice motel accomodation for close to those rates. With a RV you wouldn't have to be in a fee park every night, of course, but the extra fuel costs and misc costs of running a RV will add up. I just don't think this is a viable option if the goal is to save money. If the goal is a great road trip experience, it might well be perfect for you!


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