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  1. #1

    Default 18 year old trip summer 2008

    I did a search but I couldn't find anything helpful. I wanted to take a trip west from Illinois, someplace like Arizona, Utah... During the last year I've driven to Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Rockford,The Quad Cities, Milwaukee. All trips I made in one day. (I live in Central Illinois.) For the summer after I finish high school I wanted to go someplace that's not in the midwest.
    One of my questions is how hard is it to find a motel that would rent to an 18 year old? If its impossible I'm willing to camp (however if this is the case I'd like to know as I've never camped before and would like to make a few 'practice' trips in advance). I would rather stay at a motel though. My dad was a big traveler when he was younger but he doesn't know anything about laws so he's not help.
    Anyway, what would be your suggestions to someone who's 18 for a trip like this? I'd be going alone since putting up with people on trips longer that 3 hour is a pain, that and I enjoy driving alone. (my friends all became stoners anyway.)

    If this is at all possible the budget would be $1500. This would be for Late May 2008, If it's possible, I need to start getting things together now. (like the money mainly)

    I would really like to thank you for your time reading this and all feedback is welcome.
    (if you have any info at all to share, please do.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,884

    Default The World is Your Oyster

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Or at least the US is. If you have your own car and don't have to include the cost of renting one in your $1500 budget, then you can travel for about 2 weeks. You won't be living a life of luxury, but that doesn't seem to be your objective here. In any event, with a week out and a week back you can reach just about anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and most of Canada - the populated part anyway. For a better handle on estimating general costs of RoadTripping, read this post by Judy, and for ways to keep even those costs down, check out this article by Bob and Gen.

    The one thing you should do now in preparation is get a credit card. It doesn't have to have a huge limit, and your parents may have to co-sign on it, but no motel or campground is going to turn you away if you can present a valid driver's license and a recognized credit card. If you do decide to cross the border into Canada, apply NOW for a passport if you don't already have one. The backlog has become mind boggling because starting next year a passport will be required for all travel across our borders.

    My other general recommendations would be to have a goal for the trip, to take different roads there and back to maximize your exposure to new people places and things, and to try to find one or two things to see or do each day along the trip. Take a relaxed open-minded approach to this trip and you'll have a great time.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,859

    Default a good foundation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Renting a motel at age 18 shouldn't be a problem at all. As long as you have a credit or debit card, you should be ok. I can't think of any place I've stayed at that required guests to be older than 18, and being a single traveler should eliminate any concerns that you're renting the place to throw a party.

    I'm a big fan of camping, and its a great way to help stretch your travel dollar. You might try getting a tent and sleeping bag and take a few short trips anyway to see if its something you'd be interested during your trip. Another option that works pretty well for single travelers is Hostels. You have to deal with shared rooms, but they can be nice and cheap, but most of the other guests are going to be relatively young and single travelers as well.

    Otherwise, I think you are well on your way. A $1500 budget should get you out of the midwest without too much problem, but motels everynight and no one to share gas and food expenses will eat those resources pretty quickly. Your experience with short trips should have you in a good postion to deal with pretty much anything else that would come up on a longer trip!

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the fast and complete response. I do have a my own car that gets 35+ mpg so thats not a problem.

    Part of the reason I made this thread is because I've been doing alot of searching into this and I've found that in alot of the chain motels you have to be 21 to rent. I'm glad to hear that that's not the case everywhere.

    I'd like to add one more question to this.. Within my budget what would you all suggest would be the best trip, from Illinois. I'd really like a change of scenery for the trip, and I also like cities. I do have a valid passport and I'm in the process of getting a credit card with a low limit.

    Safety tips from the more experienced would be nice too..
    thank you again

  5. #5

    Default

    I have a question about camping, I've never done it and I'm not sure how to approach it. Is it safe? Are bugs a problem?

    And I'm not at all fimilar with hostels...

    I'm going to look all of this up but if anyone can tell me of their experiences with this..Please do.
    Thanks again for the fast response.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-04-2007 at 08:26 PM. Reason: navigation for clarity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,477

    Default Some hostel info

    Quote Originally Posted by fr8train View Post
    And I'm not at all fimilar with hostels..
    Here are a couple of articles that provide an overview about hostels in the USA:
    Introductory concept
    Some featured locations.

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    ^ I never really knew there was something like that. This site has tons of good info.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default This surprises me

    Quote Originally Posted by fr8train View Post
    Part of the reason I made this thread is because I've been doing alot of searching into this and I've found that in alot of the chain motels you have to be 21 to rent. I'm glad to hear that that's not the case everywhere.

    Both my kids did many road trips from the ages of 18-21 and never had a problem getting a hotel room. They stayed at chain motels, independent mom-and-pop motels, and in campgrounds. As others have said, as long as you have a valid credit card, you should be fine. But if you do run into any problems, please let us know so we can give accurate advise to other younger travelers.

    I
    'm in the process of getting a credit card with a low limit.
    Don't get it too low. If you near its max, it could cause you problems. My understanding is that motels will want a credit card number on file even if you pay cash for the room. This is so they have something to tap if you do some damage to the premises, steal something, etc. So even if you pay cash, but your credit card is too close to the limit, you may have trouble renting a room.

    If you want to keep the credit limit low, you might leave funds at home with someone who can go make a payment on your card, if needed, to give you room on your card for these types of situations. Or just get a higher limit if you can. That doesn't mean you have to use it to the hilt but it's good if you need it. In fact, if you have car problems that require repair or some other emergency situation, you might be happy you have the extra credit available.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fr8train View Post
    I have a question about camping, I've never done it and I'm not sure how to approach it. Is it safe? Are bugs a problem?

    And I'm not at all fimilar with hostels...

    I'm going to look all of this up but if anyone can tell me of their experiences with this..Please do.
    Thanks again for the fast response.
    I've only stayed in a few hostels and those were in Europe. It was a fun way to travel and we always met a lot of interesting people that gave us a lot of good hints of places to go, things to do. If you're traveling solo, it can be a nice way to get some companionship. I'm convinced most people are honest but I would never leave anything of value out. Keep your valuables hidden in your car or with you at all times, just in case.

    I do a fair amount of solo camping. Yes, it's safe. Just use the same good, common-sense...I tend to refer to it as my personal radar system...as you would in any other situation. Many campgrounds are fairly wide open without much privacy between campsites so you should feel very safe in them. It's not like you're out in the wilderness and vulnerable to whatever as there are people close-by. Some campgrounds will have more privacy for their campsites....and I really prefer these...but then it is wise for a solo camper to camp fairly near other people. I do tent to avoid isolated places when I'm alone. But, beyond that, you shouldn't have any concerns.

    In some areas, bugs can be a problem; in other areas, no problem. Most tents have good bug-screens on them. Just don't leave the tent open any longer than it takes to climb in/out so they don't have time to fly in and take up residence. Carry some decent bug spray with you for when you need it. I've had very few camping trips over the years where bugs have been such a nuisance to impact how much I'm enjoying my trip.

  10. #10

    Default

    I have done alot of other sorts of trips, but I have never done a road trip, I'm thinking of doing it this summer, any ideas as to what motels you need to be 21 or how to find out. I've camped in places where most would pack up and go home but a bed once and a while sounds good to.

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