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  1. #1

    Default First Timer -- looking for help

    I've browsed around this site (which is very helpful), but i just wanna try getting some good advice and tips from all you experienced road trippers. So I'm gonna post up what I basically plan on doing and if you guys could just post back with some help, that would be so great.

    Lil background on me, I'm a 24 y.o. from New Jersey, just graduated in May and still unemployed. I'm tired of sitting at home looking for jobs everyday and do nothing else, I had enough of sleeping in and watching tv. I figured I'd try to get away from my Jersey life for a lil while and go make something of myself and explore. This is the best time since I'm unemployed, but I do/will have money for this trip though.

    I'm looking to start my trip around the beginning of November, the second week the latest. I'll have about $2,000 for this trip. I drive a 2000 2-door pontiac sunfire with around 75,000 miles on it.

    I don't have a set destination, I wanted to just drive and see how far I get and where I go. I do have one stop, North Carolina to visit my aunt and then wanted to go west, but no other set stops. I'd like this to last as long as possible up until Thanksgiving and not go as far as California, but get to somewhere in the middle of the US and then head back home for Thanksgiving.

    I plan on having my car inspected and checked and filled etc. so it's perfect for the trip. One suitcase with 2 pairs of jeans, 2-3 shirts, 2 hoodies, socks, underwear, 2 pairs of sneakers, a jacket. All the necessary toiletries, umbrella, cell phone, laptop, 2 digital cameras and all the chargers (hopefully I can stop somewhere each day to charge these items), some snacks.

    I planned on stopping at any local hotel/motel for a nite, but i also read in other post of people sleeping in their cars. Can you do that, like police won't come and wake you up and tell you to move your car? There is a possibility of people coming to break-in while your sleeping, steal your things, and kill you right? Where do you park, just on the side of the road, into the woods, a parking lot somewhere?

    I plan on the snacks to fill me up and make frequent stops for breakfast, lunch, dinner and to fill up on snacks. Get gas wherever I can find it the cheapest and once I'm close to the second to last line in the gas gauge.

    If I see museums, attractions, local fairs, events, etc. I'll stop, check it out, as long as it's free or cheap.


    Does this whole plan sound like it could work? Please tell me if I am missing anything, overlooking something. If it doesn't work, can you tell me what I can do to make it work, how far do you think I can get with $2,000? Any and all help is so greatly appreciated, thanks so much!

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default A little to start

    Quote Originally Posted by dieseldawg23 View Post
    I planned on stopping at any local hotel/motel for a nite, but i also read in other post of people sleeping in their cars. Can you do that, like police won't come and wake you up and tell you to move your car? There is a possibility of people coming to break-in while your sleeping, steal your things, and kill you right? Where do you park, just on the side of the road, into the woods, a parking lot somewhere?
    Greetings dielseldawg!

    Sorry I'm not able to work on your other questions at the moment, I'm at work and have limited time and resources available, but, I thought I would tackle this one.

    Generally, sleeping in your car outside of a campground should be an option of last resort. Police will ask you to move your car if you're trespassing or loitering, so that is always a concern. The second scenario you described, I don't think is very likely, but anything is possible.

    Usually, if you plan to snooze in your car, it's best to do so in a campground. If you must, you can sometimes get away with it at a truckstop or travel centre, but typically not in private parking lots. Pulling into the woods is, in my opinion, more dangerous than any other options (I typically refer to urban or suburban areas), and not to mention possibly illegal. The best bet is to look for campgrounds, motels, and hostels that will fit your budget.

    Just my 2 cents!

    Have a good trip!

    -Brad

  3. #3

    Default thanks

    thank u very much for ur 2 cents! very helpful!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Truck stops always work, don't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad View Post
    If you must, you can sometimes get away with it at a truckstop or travel centre, but typically not in private parking lots.
    The few times I've done it, I've never had a problem. And at least one other contributor here does it regularly and has never reported a problem. I don't think it's the most comfortable way to sleep. For one night, maybe. But not several nights in a row. But I do think it's a safe option.

    I hope you pack more than a jacket for warmth. You might hit some real cold weather. A heavy coat, hat, gloves, etc. would be a good idea.

    Yes, I think your trip sounds fine. Just watch your budget and, once you get through half your money, start thinking about heading home so you don't end up stranded somewhere without money for gas.

    Check out the Gear Up section here for helpful tips about other things you might carry in your car. At the very least, you need a decent roadmap/atlas, blanket, extra drinking fluids/snacks, working flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, a cooler for snacks along the road (replenished at a grocery store not a convenience store if you want to save money), and other basics. Read through that section and you'll get more advise than you ever thought you needed, LOL.

    Anything specific we can help you with?

  5. #5

    Default thanks

    i'm def going to take ur advice into play with this trip and check out the gear up section...thank u very much for ur input!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default something that I've done before

    I am not familiar with the East/South East, but I can sure say that me & my husband have stayed overnight at rest areas in the West. Again, how safe are they in the area you are going to be, I am not sure. But rest areas are safe to my knowledge. But I wouldn't do it 2 days in a row.
    Stores like Walmart/Walgreens sometimes don not mind you stopping for the night in small towns. We've done that too.
    But you are the best judge. Follow yours instincts. Moreover, I've never traveled alone. Maybe that made the difference, I am not sure.
    But as people guided you, you will definitely be better off in campgrounds. And yeah, you need warm layers. If I were you, I would pack a sleeping bag & grab a tent too, just in case.

    Have fun!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Sounds like...

    ...about 2-3 weeks worth of travel for your 2 Grand.

    Howdy, I'm glad you're tired of sleeping in (always one of my favorites, but not very productive).

    With a couple thousand you can get quite a ways; but it isn't the distance that counts, its what you gain from the experience. You don't need to burn up the road (or your gas budget) to see a lot. With a cheap tent and sleeping bag you could head to Florida, following the coast around and then turn west toward New Orleans. About 3 or 4 days before Thanksgiving you would say "time to head home" and scoot on back north.

    With luck, the weather will be kind, and the break-down goonies will leave you alone.

    I'm not crazy about sleeping in cars in rest stops and such (my son did a bunch of it, but said he never felt very comfortable or safe). If you can find state and local campgrounds to pitch a tent (or stay in your car if the weather is bad) you'll be better off from a personal safety point of view, and not so bad off from a financial point of view. Remember, a visit to an emergency room after being roughed up is expensive as well as painful.

    Have fun, and hang loose,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  8. #8

    Default

    Thank YOU very much! Your info was very helpful to me!

  9. #9

    Default $$$ and motels

    how far do u think $1,500-2,000 will get u leaving from jersey paying only for food, gas, and shelter on the trip?

    how cheap do the motels get (cheap yet clean/safe)? like a ballpark price, i know it's gonna change from place to place

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default ballpark

    I think if you plan for about $50 per night you should be in good shape. You should be able to find a place for $40-50 after taxes most nights, once in a great while you can find a place in the $30-40 range, but there will be some times where you won't be able to find a place for less than say $70.

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