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  1. #1

    Default Going on a solo road trip.

    I live in Kamloops British Columbia, Canada and I'm planning on going on a trip to a few states: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, possibly. I'm thinking about getting some maps and just winging it making my way as I go. Time's not really an issueŚcould be a few days to a few weeks. But I don't want to end up spending a lot of money. I was thinking about staying at camp sites (although I've heard you need reservations for most?) or just staying in the back of my van off the side of the road or something (is this against any laws? I heard safety was the main issue, but that doesn't really bother me).

    I have $1500, but only want to spend a little over $500. This would probably mean packing nutritionally balanced meals consisting of bread and peanut butter (I can hardly wait) and other cheap snacks. Gas will be my main expense, for sure.

    My main concern is crossing the border from Canada into the US. At the moment I don't have a passport and I was wondering if it is essential (I've heard you can make way with a birth certificate and photo ID and the like, but I'm not sure). If not, is getting a passport a time consuming procedure? Also, I'm only 19 and I'm not sure if there are any age restrictions when border crossing or anything. Also, would I need to exchange most of my money for American currency before crossing the border, or should I just convert a bit of it (what amount would you recommend?) and use a bank card for other things? Sorry, I'm a little inexperienced in all this stuff.

    Does this trip sound possible?

    EDIT: I'm not planning on driving day in and day out. That'd probably end up costing too much for gas. I plan to bring a few books with me to pass time and just camping out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,272

    Default You really need to speak with...

    Quote Originally Posted by nonfiction View Post
    I live in Kamloops British Columbia, Canada and I'm planning on going on a trip
    Wow, Kamloops is very nice place to be in the summer -- are you sure you wouldn't rather just stay up there and go exploring in BC and Alberta? Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! We have lots of ideas of cool places to explore in the Pacific NW of the USA, but you will certainly need to get a passport, at some point, to enter the USA. Actually, I am not positive if this is in place yet, USA citizens can enter Canada with only a driver's license -- but you really need to look into the current regulations for Canadian citizens.
    or just staying in the back of my van off the side of the road or something (is this against any laws? I heard safety was the main issue, but that doesn't really bother me).
    Each jurisdiction, forest service, state and Federal has different rules for this.
    I have $1500, but only want to spend a little over $500. This would probably mean packing nutritionally balanced meals consisting of bread and peanut butter (I can hardly wait) and other cheap snacks. Gas will be my main expense, for sure.
    It would be much better if you had $3000, but here are some money saving tips, (I wrote the article for Spring Break -- but it works fine for now too)
    Also, would I need to exchange most of my money for American currency before crossing the border, or should I just convert a bit of it (what amount would you recommend?) and use a bank card for other things? Sorry, I'm a little inexperienced in all this stuff.
    I wouldn't cash more than $150 into USA currency -- you get a much better exchange rate if you use a bank card.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default 2 weeks

    Hi,

    I'd say you could do at least two weeks with some judicious use of gas and food (sounds like you've figured that one out, but add some apples to your grocery bag, too).

    National Forest Service campgrounds tend to be cheaper than National Parks so use them when you can. That said, a couple nights in Olympic, North Cascades, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks are with the money to be close to the sights. To find info on legal, free places to camp, search for "boondocking" on the web. You'll find lots of sites with places, and suggestions on how to stretch your camping dollar. There are books on the subject, too, that may be available at your local RV supply store, or on the web.

    A beautiful place to camp (though not free) is Ozette Lake in western Olympic National Park, WA. The campground is right on the lake, and there is a nice loop walk to the beach.

    Enjoy,

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of co-author of "A Travler's Guide: America's Living History-The Early Years"

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