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  1. Default Need some help in planning a trip

    Ok, so here is the deal!
    I am 19 years old, I live in Montreal, Canada, and I really need a vacation. I've had my heart set on going on a road trip across America/Canada for a long time. I figure i could sneak away for two weeks and the sooner the better. Since I'm tired of being freezing cold I'd really like to go south.
    I am quite content with living with next to no comforts for these two weeks which means sleeping in the car or camping wherever possible (yes i do have camping experience and own all necessary equipment to do so). I have family in NJ, Texas and California which can provide a one night stay and other comforts. I realize California might be a little far for a two week road trip, but I'll wait until I hear your opinions until I make that Decision.
    This trip will be most likely be a solo trip which means I will have to front the costs myself.
    Basically I would like some suggestions and ideas on where to pull over to sleep, food, and route suggestions (Keeping in mind that I'd especially like to get to Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and if possible Arizona and Utah).
    More importantly I'd like to get an idea on overall costs for this two week adventure of mine including gas & food.
    Any help would be greatly and truly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Counterproductive Plan

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Hmmm... Night time lows in New Jersey get down to 22°F (-5°C) on average at this time of year. In Texas (depending on exactly where you're going) it will get down to 25°F (-3°C). Out on the plains, between Texas and Montréal, nights where it hits 0°F (-17°C) are not at all uncommon. So camping out or sleeping in your car are certainly NOT things to do if you're "tired of being freezing cold". I'm not trying to talk you out of taking a trip, necessarily, but unless you are planning to stay indoors at night, this will not cure what ails you.

    With only two weeks, and assuming you want to do more than just mooch a single free night's lodging from your family members, I'd say Texas is as far as you should aim for. That would also help keep your costs down. Motels can be had for as little as around $40 a night if you shop around. The lower cost motel chains include Motel 6, Econo Lodge, Super 8, Microtel, Red Roof Inns and others That's less than you'll be spending on gas on a typical driving day. So go on-line and look through those for where their locations are and/or get a brochure from one of them once you hit the road. For further tips on how to budget for your trip and how to keep costs down, read through this article and this post.

    Oh, and you DO have a passport and recognized credit card, don't you?


  3. Default

    Yes I'm good to go on the passport and credit card situation.
    I didn't realize temperatures dropped so low. Thats not a huge deal to me, I want to take the trip to get away from school, work and other things that come with daily city life. But you are correct, sleeping in a car when it is -3°C is not entirely fun but I'm sure it is doable with a comfortable mummy bag in the back seat.
    I did some calculations using your fuel cost calculator and stopping in such places like NJ, Louisville, Memphis, and Dallas, with a return trip I'm looking at $261 in gas. If i added heading to Phoenix and then Salt Lake City and re-calculated the return trip I'm looking at about $400 in gas.
    Using those guidelines is the trip out to Salt Lake City (as the final destination before heading home) feasible in a two week period? or should i call it quits after Dallas?

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

    Default SLC, too? It depends

    Do you really want to hit the road, enjoy the drive, and just get whistle-stop views of the things in the areas you're traveling through? Or do you want to spend a lot of time out of your car, walking around and exploring things?

    You could pack it all in if you want to spend most of your time driving. If you would rather get out of the car and play, you will need to make choices.

    I might suggest that you just play it by ear. This sounds like a perfect trip for meandering. Go towards the main places you want to visit but allow yourself the option of veering off course or stopping in unexpected places. Maybe you'll even find a particularly warm pocket in the country to warm your bones! If you like it enough to linger, then linger awhile. Some of the best trips are the ones where people just get in the car and go with no real plan. You never know what you're gonna find.

  5. Default My thoughts exactly

    To tell you the truth thats exactly what i was thinking of doing. Just driving to the certain destinations but with no certainty. I would like to leave some room for veering off track but i would not spend more than one day in any location.
    So the question still stands, Is two weeks enough to make it to Utah and back with stops in at least NJ, Memphis, and Dallas? but still allowing a little bit of time to stop in random places that meet my fancy?
    My goal was to see the country while driving but stopping every once in a while to experience a few different things along the way. No real plans, just an outline!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I thought I anwered that?

    Montreal-NJ-Memphis-Dallas-Montreal is roughly 3800 miles over the quickest route and will take you roughly 70 hours to drive. This includes time for extremely short fuel/food/bio breaks. No sight-seeing/exploring time. Over 14 days, this means you would average 5 hours driving per day. This leaves you plenty of time to explore, meander, and go a bit off the main path to see what's out there.

    If you add in a side trip to SLC, it's roughly 5600 miles, about 102 hours with the same quick fuel/food/bio breaks. Over 14 days, this is about 7.5 hours of driving each day. You could still explore a bit but your time will be more limited to do so. Exploring off your main route will be tougher to squeeze in.

    So, like I said in my last post, it all depends on how much of your time you want to spend driving and how much you want to spend exploring and just letting your muse be your guide. Only you can really answer that.

    Also, you might very well find that keeping up this pace day-in/day-out, even for only 14 days, gets quite tiring and that you might want at least one, if not two, days where you're not on the road at all. Maybe more depending on what you find to explore along the way.

    Also be aware that at this time of year, weather could get in the way of the best laid plans. A storm front could sweep in making travel take longer. In severe conditions, it might even mean a layover for a day or so until roads clear.

    This is the best answer I can give you. It's your call.

  7. Default

    Well Thank you for everything, you've all given me some good insight.
    I'll let you know how it works out! Thanks again!

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