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  1. Default West Coast to East Coast

    Hello all, I'm planning very far ahead for a trip in 2010, and have been for a while. I am a roller coaster enthusiast, and am going with a few of my friends across the country to visit three dozen amusement parks and water parks. Right now the itinerary comes to 45 days, although it may end up being more than that. I have a couple questions, as this is my first road trip and don't have much experience with them!

    -With four people, how long would you say is a good driving limit for a driving only day? I have a few where we drive 10 hours, and one where we drive 12. That comes to three hours per person, though being on the road that long can be tough. Does this sound like a good limit, or should it be less?

    -We will all be over 18 when the trip occurs, but we will not be 21. I've done some research and it looks like this isn't old enough to stay in hotels in some states. Is this true? Is there any way around it? If absolutely necesarry, we could go with someone over 21.

    -On a 45 day trip with much driving and activity almost every day, I assume it's good to have "chill days" every so often. How often do you recommend we indulge these days?

    -As far as cost, here are my overestimations. Let me know if they seem like good estimates...

    Hotels
    $130/Night Average becomes $1500/person for entire trip

    Food
    $25/person/day becomes $1250/person

    Gas
    <2000/trip becomes <500/person

    As far as admission prices, all parks have extremely different pricing, but I've overestimated to 50 per park, times 25 unpaid parks (I get into some free) is $1250 per person.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Never Too Early to Plan

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Driving Limits: Around 550 miles is a good day's drive, almost regardless of how many drivers you have. One thing though, don't be fooled by the estimates that the various on-line mapping sites will give you as to how many miles you can cover in a certain number of hours. Those estimates assume that you never stop for gas, food or biological necessities, and never have to slow down for traffic or weather. Instead, count on averaging about 55 mph.

    Age: I know of no national motel chain that would turn away an 18 year old willing to pay for a room or two, particularly if you pay by credit card. Also, from your budget it looks like you plan to get two rooms a night, another thing in your favor.

    Chilling: Another good reason to get two rooms a night is to allow you to switch off who gets cooped up with whom. Yes, plan on days where you not only don't hit sights, but get out of sight of each other and go your separate ways. Much as you may like each other, 45 days of forced togetherness will prove to be too much. Plan ahead and lay in a 'chill' day every few days to a week and don't let small annoyances fester.

    Costs: Your estimates seem fairly realistic. Just remember that two or three years from now, things will generally cost even more.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Driving Limits: Around 550 miles is a good day's drive, almost regardless of how many drivers you have. One thing though, don't be fooled by the estimates that the various on-line mapping sites will give you as to how many miles you can cover in a certain number of hours. Those estimates assume that you never stop for gas, food or biological necessities, and never have to slow down for traffic or weather. Instead, count on averaging about 55 mph.
    I always raise the amount that mapping sites give me, usually by an hour or two depending on the length of the initial drive (If it's 4 I make it five, 8 I make it 10).

    Age: I know of no national motel chain that would turn away an 18 year old willing to pay for a room or two, particularly if you pay by credit card. Also, from your budget it looks like you plan to get two rooms a night, another thing in your favor.
    That's good news, I'll be sure to double check with some of the main companies, as I don't want to be stuck with three other people in a cramped car!

    Costs: Your estimates seem fairly realistic. Just remember that two or three years from now, things will generally cost even more
    That's the one thing I dislike about planning so far in advance. The estimates I have make the total about 4200 a person, but I'll probably have everyone save 4500-5000 for miscellaneous costs, and just in case any calculation was off..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Times and chill

    Time:
    It's always good to add a cushion to what the mapping sites give you. I've always enjoyed the optimism that these sites show, making the assumption that you will be able to travel at highway speeds for extended periods of time. I don't think it's happened yet where I've been able to maintain highway speeds for more than two hours at a time. On the East Coast, with all the cities, etc, it is especially true.

    Chill:
    I've been traveling with the same person for many years now, and while we always maintain the same lodging, we do take some time during the week (or two) that we are on the road to do our own thing and relax in our own way. Invariably, for her it is time at the pool, and for me it's time reading something. With 45 days to spend together, I would take the time rather than driving every day, perhaps stay three or four days in a spot and get to know the area a bit. When looking back on your trip, these are the times you are most likely to remember, maybe more than the days when you are putting miles of asphalt behind you.

    You've still got more than two years to get ready for this trip, so take that time to plan your route, prepare for emergencies, and maybe take some shorter trips around where you live now to get a feel for what your long trip may be like.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Theme Park prices

    I think your estimate of Theme park prices seems a little on the low side. These's days, its hard to find a top end park that is charging less than $50 a day. Disney and Universal in Orlando are both charging around $70 +tax, and I think most Six Flags are charging around $60. There are often places you can find discounts, and you might be taking that into account, but especially since your trip is still a couple years away, I think you might want to budget a little more money for this part of your trip.

  6. Default

    I think your estimate of Theme park prices seems a little on the low side. These's days, its hard to find a top end park that is charging less than $50 a day. Disney and Universal in Orlando are both charging around $70 +tax, and I think most Six Flags are charging around $60. There are often places you can find discounts, and you might be taking that into account, but especially since your trip is still a couple years away, I think you might want to budget a little more money for this part of your trip.
    If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's the prices at the amusement parks. We will all already have Six Flags and Cedar Fair season passes, which cover many of the parks. The smaller parks cost much less than $50, and some even have free entry with prices for ride tickets. Orlando is one of the centers of theme parks, and since we aren't going to either Florida or any Disney parks (which are very expensive), we won't have that problem. Also, as I said earlier, I get into some parks free.
    You've still got more than two years to get ready for this trip, so take that time to plan your route, prepare for emergencies, and maybe take some shorter trips around where you live now to get a feel for what your long trip may be like.
    Those are all great ideas, especially the last one. I've never been on a trip nearly this long, so "test trips" sound like a great idea.

    Thanks everyone for the input, it's been very helpful!

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