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  1. Default Help planning a 6 week cross-country trip...

    Me and my cousin are college students who are planning a 6 week, once in a life time, road trip next summer. We are starting in Atlanta, and will be making a big loop to washington (Maybe Canada) and back. We plan on taking the southern route there, and a northern route back. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated. We plan to camp most of the way, and eat out of a cooler as much as possible. Most of the things we would like to see are national parks and the sort. We really just want to see the country before we really start our lives. Any ideas on "must see" places? Also, how much will this cost (Ball park)? Remember, I said we are college guys, which means we don't have much money, and we are tough enough to sleep in a tent. We do want to do some stuff though. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Basics

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    OK - Let's start with some ballpark figures. You're looking at around $1800-2000 just for gas. You can compute your own guestimate using the Fuel Cost Calculator, but I think that if you're honest with yourself about how many miles are involved, what your real-life gas mileage will be, and take a hard-nosed look at what gas is likely to cost, that's about what you'll come up with as well. Even if you eat all your meals out of a cooler, I think you're still looking at a minimum of $10/day/person or around $1000. Staying in commercial, state or federal campgrounds (i.e., staying legal) will run you, on average, $20 a night or another $1000. So you're looking at absolutely bare-bones minimum of $4000. To this, I'd add at least another $1000 for occasional restaurant meals, nights in a motel (beds and showers!), evenings on the town, admission fees, etc., and I'd add another $1000 contingency fund for unexpected car repairs, traffic fines, strange occurrences and the like, so $6000 is what I'd want in hand before I took off on the road with 2 people for 6 weeks.

    There are just too many options for anyone to recommend a specific route. With 6 weeks you can cover a lot of ground, but what to see is really up to you and your cousin. I'd suggest getting a good US road atlas and just sitting down together a few evenings over some beers and marking up the places you'd like to see. A general direction of travel should soon emerge. Be aware that next summer, you will be required to have passports to enter (and return from) Canada, another expense. But there are some things you can do to cut down on expenses, two in particular: 1) get a National Parks Pass at the first park you come to (don't get it beforehand or your clock starts ticking before you start using it) and 2) join AAA which will get you free maps, towing if you need it and will get you 10% discounts at many motels campgrounds and attractions.


  3. Default Thanks

    Thank you very much for the input, you guys do a really great job. I agree, I think we could make the trip on $6,000, but do you personally think this is enough to have a nice time? I made the statement of "poor college student", and I know you talored you response to this. I don't want to be stupid about it either. Would you consider going on this trip on this budget? Also, do you think 6 weeks is long enough to make a big loop from georgia, up the west coast, and back? What do you think about the idea of adding the east coast as well, and going around the entire US? I don't want to be rushed to bad, and we could possible add a little more time(week or two). It would be really cool, but am I crazy? thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You have lots of options!

    First, I think you can do it with $6000. However, this is going to limit the money you'll have for admission fees, checking out local restaurants that serve great localized cuisines, and just extra money for those unexpected opportunities that intrigue you. So, if you can come up with more, go for it. It will give you more options.

    Second, with the time you have, I don't think I'd get too hung up on planning your route. I think I'd just mark on your maps the must-see places you want to go to and get in the car and go. If you like some places enough to stay for a few extra days, do it. Just enjoy, meander, explore, and not rush yourself to fit in X places in X days. So, head west and explore and then, if you have time, add some places in the east. If not, don't.

    I know that may not seem very helpful but I really think you'll have a great time if you just go with the flow rather than over-plan. Just be sure to leave time to get back home without having to rush at the end. Enjoy!

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