Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default East Coast Road Trip

    I am new to these threads, just finding the site today due to researching about a plan to go on a road-trip this summer. It's still in the beginning stages but I'd like to do most of the research before we really decide on specific things. I've been trying to figure out costs, mostly for gas at the moment, since I heard that's what drains your money the most.

    I've figured that doing the whole east to west coast was too big of a plan. I've been on long drives before, never really for a road-trip though. The farthest I've gone before I think was from Atlanta to somewhere in California. Unfortunately I was around 1 year old...so yeah...I wouldn't remember that. The most frequent car-trips I've taken is each year from Atlanta, Ga to Chicago, Illinois with the parents and my brother. Most of our family lives up there. So I'm not entirely foreign to long trips in the car with not many breaks. When we take those trips we often do it in one day, sitting in the car for a good 6 hours before any breaks.

    I have also done a few camping events as a child. My brother was in karate and would do summer trips up to some place in Georgia (I'm drawing a blank where) and camp out for a few days while they did training and what-not. And he was also in some boyscout thing I went to which was camping. So it's not like I have NO idea what camping is like. So I've got some experience, but probably not as much as is ideal, but I'm up to the idea of camping out every other night or so, or more if needed.

    So now that you know the things I've had experience with. I'll tell you what I've been thinking about. I want to do this trip with a close friend of mine. My friend is 19 and I'll be 18 this April. Because I realize we need to split costs of gas and lodging, I've thought about inviting another two friends close to us, or at the LEAST one more friend. Both these friends are 19 and 20.

    Now then, I really want to do this trip to see a lot of natural places, parks and all that jazz. I'm a dedicated photographer, so I've been hiking a lot through Georgia to find secluded falls and interesting places, and that's one of the things I'm interested in, finding beautiful water-falls, mountains, valleys, anything really to make for a cool picture. Not to mention see cultural things as well, since people also make for good photos.

    So what I'm saying is that not all the destinations have to be big amazing events...just interesting...

    I've done some minimal estimation on prices for gas...

    My own personal car is Ford Taurus, though I'm not so sure about taking that because it's such a small car if we take four people! So the car I'm setting my mind on is my mother's 93' Mercury Villager, which we've always taken on our trips up to Illinois and has survived all of them. It says to have at the lowest 17 mpg, and using the fuel calculator it says to be 470 for a 2000 trip (which I rounded by using map-quest, but I'm expecting it to be a bit over that due to off track courses to places. So at the most I estimated around 600 dollars. Splitting that four ways would be 200 each...

    What I'm most curious about is how much food and lodging will cost. Say we camp out half the time and go to motels the other half. (I forgot to mention we'd be doing this for around 2-3 weeks. 3 being the most desired.) I've read around the site and found prices, but I'm not sure how to go about estimating this cost so I have an idea of how to split it.

    And food I've heard it's best to do the cooler for two meals and eat one hot meal a day? If not, correct me. We definitely don't mind making our own sandwiches and eating nuts and what-not between meals to satisfy our hunger. I've also had a recent disgust towards Mc.Donalds but I wouldn't mind eating their lesser fried stuff every now and then simply to save money...

    So an over view
    3-4 GIRLS (not that it makes a difference I'd think...) 18-20 yrs
    Starting from around Atlanta and wanting to end up in New York city. (I live in Atlanta, but the main destination in the north can be altered depending on what exactly is around certain parts.)
    Miles estimated is 2000 or more.
    Car, hopefully the Villager, 17mpg
    Motel and Camping (both are fine). I heard of truck-stops, so perhaps we can do some of that as well? The car is able to take out the two in between seats leaving the two front seats and a long back seat. (We do this every time we go to Illinois, so it's not a problem.) It leaves a good deal of room for putting food and things we need to reach during drives there instead of the trunk. We also don't mind sleeping together, obviously or sleeping on the floor if necessary.
    We will like to shower, at the least, every other day...especially if camping. We're women...come on.

    Hopefully this is enough information for you guys to estimate some prices and time it should take. I want the least amount and the most amount if possible.

    Also I am looking for interesting sites to see on the East side. Mostly out of Georgia, since I've lived here all my life...but either way is fine. And hopefully things you think I DEFINITELY should go to if the trip happens. I don't want to miss out on some once in a lifetime things.

    Thanks again for taking your time to inform me! I really hope to take this trip and enjoy it to its fullest. It will definitely be an experience.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default good foundation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got an excellent foundation for this trip, and you've clearly put a good deal of thought into it.
    Because I realize we need to split costs of gas and lodging, I've thought about inviting another two friends close to us, or at the LEAST one more friend.
    There is nothing wrong with going with 3 or 4 people and that will reduce your costs, but if 2 of you have a strong idea about what you want to do, and the other person or people are being brought along for the ride, you could have some tension. Make sure all of you take the Roadtrip compatability quiz

    What I'm most curious about is how much food and lodging will cost.
    We've got a few good threads that talk about building a budget. This thread has some excellent idea for estimating costs and This one goes through and "runs the numbers" for another group of young travelers. I would suspect that your costs will be a little bit higher traveling along the east coast, but those should give you some good guidelines.

    As far as your sleeping goes, I personally wouldn't recommend truck stops for this kind of trip. If you are trying to do a speed run or need to get somewhere ultra-cheap, it would be an option worth considering, but if you are trying to have a fun trip, being able to get out and wander around, be it in a hotel room or a campsite, is really going to be important. Truck stops could be a decent place to shower if you can't find one camping, however, many campsites have shower facilities.

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

    Default You've come to the right place!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Jiffy View Post
    I am new to these threads, just finding the site today due to researching about a plan to go on a road-trip this summer. It's still in the beginning stages but I'd like to do most of the research before we really decide on specific things. I've been trying to figure out costs, mostly for gas at the moment, since I heard that's what drains your money the most.
    How much of your budget is gas and how much is lodging, food, entertainment, etc. is really quite variable. It depends on how far your travel and what you spend on these other items. Of course, the farther you travel, the higher the gas costs. But if people always eat in nicer restaurants and stay in only hotels and then spend a lot of money on entertainment, those expenses can eclipse fuel costs.

    I've figured that doing the whole east to west coast was too big of a plan. I've been on long drives before, never really for a road-trip though. The farthest I've gone before I think was from Atlanta to somewhere in California. Unfortunately I was around 1 year old...so yeah...I wouldn't remember that. The most frequent car-trips I've taken is each year from Atlanta, Ga to Chicago, Illinois with the parents and my brother. Most of our family lives up there. So I'm not entirely foreign to long trips in the car with not many breaks. When we take those trips we often do it in one day, sitting in the car for a good 6 hours before any breaks.
    Well, I guess the one when you were a baby doesn't really count. LOL But Atlanta to Chicago is a pretty fair length roadtrip. However, I'm not sure where you get the idea that long drives means not many breaks. I've driven 1000 miles in a day (about twice what we recommend) and during that day I probably made about 20 stops, sometimes just a few miles down the road from the last one. These were quick stops but going a long way doesn't mean you shouldn't stop if something interests you.

    And, really, you should never go six hours without stretching your legs and walking around a bit. It's not healthy and it can impact your concentration making you a less safe driver. Plus, it's just not as much fun as stopping along the way.

    I have also done a few camping events as a child. My brother was in karate and would do summer trips up to some place in Georgia (I'm drawing a blank where) and camp out for a few days while they did training and what-not. And he was also in some boyscout thing I went to which was camping. So it's not like I have NO idea what camping is like. So I've got some experience, but probably not as much as is ideal, but I'm up to the idea of camping out every other night or so, or more if needed.
    Whether it's needed or not depends on your budget. Camping on the road is actually easier than setting up camp for several days. When you're going to stay several days, you usually want more things for comfort and for something to do while camping. If it's just a quick stopover for a place to sleep, you don't need as much of that. Here's a post on car/roadtrip camping basics that might help you out a bit.

    So now that you know the things I've had experience with. I'll tell you what I've been thinking about. I want to do this trip with a close friend of mine. My friend is 19 and I'll be 18 this April. Because I realize we need to split costs of gas and lodging, I've thought about inviting another two friends close to us, or at the LEAST one more friend. Both these friends are 19 and 20.

    Now then, I really want to do this trip to see a lot of natural places, parks and all that jazz. I'm a dedicated photographer, so I've been hiking a lot through Georgia to find secluded falls and interesting places, and that's one of the things I'm interested in, finding beautiful water-falls, mountains, valleys, anything really to make for a cool picture. Not to mention see cultural things as well, since people also make for good photos.

    So what I'm saying is that not all the destinations have to be big amazing events...just interesting...
    Are you looking for us to suggest places to go? Or do you already have some specific ideas?

    I've done some minimal estimation on prices for gas...

    My own personal car is Ford Taurus, though I'm not so sure about taking that because it's such a small car if we take four people! So the car I'm setting my mind on is my mother's 93' Mercury Villager, which we've always taken on our trips up to Illinois and has survived all of them. It says to have at the lowest 17 mpg, and using the fuel calculator it says to be 470 for a 2000 trip (which I rounded by using map-quest, but I'm expecting it to be a bit over that due to off track courses to places. So at the most I estimated around 600 dollars. Splitting that four ways would be 200 each...
    I usually figure 20-25% more miles than the direct route for off-the-highway stops at lodging, restaurants, attractions, and if something catches my eye that I want to explore. (BTW, splitting $600 four ways is $150 each but having $200 each is a good idea for a buffer.) Also, with what they're predicting for gas prices this summer, I'd probably budget for $4/gallon and then be pleasantly surprised if it's lower so you have more funds for the fun things on the trip.

    What I'm most curious about is how much food and lodging will cost. Say we camp out half the time and go to motels the other half. (I forgot to mention we'd be doing this for around 2-3 weeks. 3 being the most desired.) I've read around the site and found prices, but I'm not sure how to go about estimating this cost so I have an idea of how to split it.
    Here are some budgeting tips that should help you a lot. Some people just use a general rule of thumb of $100 per day per person. Frankly, for the way I travel...which involves a lot of camping and eating out of my cooler with few restaurant meals...that would be on the high side. Real high if I had passengers with me. So go through the steps in that post I linked you to and get an estimate. You can always come back here and ask for feedback on your estimate.

    And food I've heard it's best to do the cooler for two meals and eat one hot meal a day? If not, correct me. We definitely don't mind making our own sandwiches and eating nuts and what-not between meals to satisfy our hunger. I've also had a recent disgust towards Mc.Donalds but I wouldn't mind eating their lesser fried stuff every now and then simply to save money...
    I'm big on eating out of my cooler and here's a post with some of my tips on doing that. I actually might eat all my meals out of my cooler for a few days at a time, saving my money to eat as some kind of top-notch restaurant that is recommended for its wonderful local cuisine. If you read that post, you'll see that it's easy to do far more than just sandiwches and nuts and junk food treats. In fact, I normally get home from a roadtrip a few pounds lighter than I left because I eat so healthy on the road. I virtually never eat fastfood of any kind while on the road. OK, maybe a milkshake or ice cream once in awhile. :)

    So an over view
    3-4 GIRLS (not that it makes a difference I'd think...) 18-20 yrs
    Starting from around Atlanta and wanting to end up in New York city. (I live in Atlanta, but the main destination in the north can be altered depending on what exactly is around certain parts.)
    Miles estimated is 2000 or more.
    Car, hopefully the Villager, 17mpg
    Motel and Camping (both are fine). I heard of truck-stops, so perhaps we can do some of that as well? The car is able to take out the two in between seats leaving the two front seats and a long back seat. (We do this every time we go to Illinois, so it's not a problem.) It leaves a good deal of room for putting food and things we need to reach during drives there instead of the trunk. We also don't mind sleeping together, obviously or sleeping on the floor if necessary.
    We will like to shower, at the least, every other day...especially if camping. We're women...come on.
    Yes, sleeping at truck stops where truckers will sleep in their rigs can be a good, safe place to sleep in your vehicle. If only two of you go, this might work once in awhile. But with four? I think you might be a bit too crowded? Where will four of you sleep without moving all your gear out of the mini-van? And then where would you put it? You can give it a try but I think you'll be far more comfortable setting up camp.

    Showers are available in all commercial campgrounds and most national/state/county campgrounds. The only exceptions to this might be campgrounds out in more wilderness areas that only offer primitive camping. It doesn't sound like you'll be going far enough off-road to encounter any of these.

    You can do showers at most of the bigger truck stops for a fee. Fees seem to range from about $6-12 per shower. Since most campground will be in the $20-25 range (and some might be cheaper than that), you could actually spend more sleeping in the mini-van and paying for showers than it would cost you to camp and use their showers. While some showers at campgrounds are an extra fee, it's usually just 50 cents or so. However, many are included in your camping fee.

    I'm curious...why do you think you'll get dirtier camping and need showers more than you would any other day? Camping doesn't necessarily mean dirty.

    Hopefully this is enough information for you guys to estimate some prices and time it should take. I want the least amount and the most amount if possible.
    Well, you already said that the trip would be 2-3 weeks, preferably three. So you've got that figured out already. As for the amount, it is too variable. My rough, off the top of my head estimate for a 2000 mile roundtrip over 3 weeks would be about $3000 broken down as follows: $600 for gas, $275 for campground fees, $700 for hotels, $550 for one restaurant meal per day for each of you (at about $12 per person), and $800 for groceries along the way to fill your cooler. This is on the low-end. It could really go up from there depending on what else you do. I have not alloted anything in this budget for parking costs, entrance fees, souveniers, etc. But, really, you need to sit down with your friends and the budgeting tips and do some of your own research to get the best guess estimate you can.

    Also I am looking for interesting sites to see on the East side. Mostly out of Georgia, since I've lived here all my life...but either way is fine. And hopefully things you think I DEFINITELY should go to if the trip happens. I don't want to miss out on some once in a lifetime things.
    You might also poke around in the forums looking for discussions that sound intriguing to get even more ideas. And don't forget that we have a lot of articles that are helpful in the "roadtrip planning" section (see top of page).
    Thanks again for taking your time to inform me! I really hope to take this trip and enjoy it to its fullest. It will definitely be an experience.
    Well, I think you're on the right track. Planning is half the fun. I also suggest that you read our Roadtrip Compatibility Quiz and give it to your potential travel buddies to read, too. Work on it together. You'll want to make sure that you all have similar ideas of what you want to do on the road. Teenage Roadtrips and How to Plan a Great Roadtrip are also full of a lot of tips you should find helpful.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-25-2008 at 04:07 PM. Reason: content format

  4. Default

    I live in NC and have driven from NC to Florida many times and back. Also down to Atlanta and back lots. Driving on 95 through SC, on the way back from FL is BOOOOORING, in my opinion so if there is an alternate route that takes you away from that ( perhaps 85 up into CharlotteNC and then east on I85/40 might be better) Also, do consider making a stop in Wilmington, NC. Great town, awesome riverfront area with shops, restaurants. Wrightsville Beach is a really fun little beach town that is just packed with the 18-25 crowd during the summer. LOTS to do in Wrightsville beach for young college aged people. Lots of access to the public beaches too...definitely worth a stopover if you have time.
    Or...you could also go up through georgia and into NC on the Western side and drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway into Virginia. THAT is absolutely gorgeous and Asheville, NC is really really cool- also a college town with lots to do for young college aged folks.
    Lastly, the Outer Banks of NC are a sight to behold indeed. Not exactly the easiest place to get to, I'll grant you that, but if you are adventurous and willing to take the time, it is definitely worth the trip. The bigger tourist areas are Nags Head, Ocracoke, Kitty Hawk...but there are other lovely smaller towns along the way...plus many places to camp.
    Have a great time!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default In Eastern North Carolina

    Definitely stop and try some of that delicious eastern Carolina-style bbq. That would be pulled pork, in a venegar-based suace. Add cole slaw, hush puppies and sweet tea for quite a treat.

  6. #6
    travisva Guest

    Default

    I live in northern VA, so the first thing I recommend is to avoid I-95 between Richmond and Washington. It gets even worse between Washington and NY, (often stop-and-go in NJ), but it's probably the best route between D.C. and NY. Having said that, last summer, we made pretty good time from our home here to NY on our way to Canada. We left around 7 AM, got to NY around 1 PM. (If you're interested, I can give you the more detailed route from D.C. to NYC that we took.) From what I understand (but don't quote me), I-81 is pretty badly maintained, and I know the Pennsylvania Turnpike is crap. The alternative I'd suggest is Route 29 from Danville to Shenandoah NP.

    The Mall is where you'll spend most of your time in D.C. (where you must stop.) All the museums are FREE, so take your pick. Just to name a few...

    National Gallery of Art (also the Hirshhorn Museum and Sackler Gallery for art)
    National Museum of the American Indian
    U.S. Holocaust Museum
    National Archives (has Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, that sort of stuff)
    National Museum of Natural History (one of my fave's!)
    National Museum of American History
    National Air and Space Museum (if you're really into this sort of stuff, there's a more expansive one to the west, in Chantilly, VA, called the Udvar-Hazy Center)

    Union Station is a fun, cheap place for lunch, and the National Postal Museum is right next door. (it has a lot of interactive stuff. you'd think it'd be boring, but its actually my favorite DC museum)

    Avoid the Spy Museum (it is superb, but admissions are roughly $20 each).

    Also, you MUST see the memorials, including Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, etc. If you're lucky, you could get some really fantastic pictures. They look really cool lit up at night.

    Hope this helps!

Similar Threads

  1. East Coast Road Trip
    By max2204 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-26-2006, 09:29 PM
  2. Coast to Coast Canada/USA Road trip
    By Gitbgff in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-03-2006, 10:31 AM
  3. West Coast Road Trip, Need Partner
    By jeffdono in forum Share the Gas
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-27-2006, 12:04 PM
  4. Road trip report - Seattle to Yosemite
    By S in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-26-2004, 07:46 AM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-17-2001, 07:32 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES