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  1. Default Help me with my roadtrip, please

    Hey! I'm a 16 year-old, I live in Croatia and I like to travel a lot.

    A few years ago I started planning my roadtrip all across USA. I was planning to start in NY and go all the way to San Francisco by car. But yeah, I really need some advice.

    First of all, how much money do I need to take? I know that gas, food and motels to stay overnight could cost a lot... My friends and I really don't ask for much, we could sleep in a car or in a cheap motels, but it could still be expensive. And how much for the gas?
    And yeah, is it a problem in the US if people sleep in a car? I know that in some countries it's illegal, so I wouldn't like to have any troubles with police or something.

    Secondly, is it safe for girls to travel alone all across USA? We won't go to America now when we are 16, but we are planning to do it when we we'll be like 20 or even a bit older. I know that there are some places in the US (perhaps in the desert) where you can't find a house or a gas station for miles. What precautions should we take?

    I thank you in advance!

    (And btw, sorry about the mistakes, my English is not something :o))

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a head start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I love to see this kind of enthusiasm at a young age, and your english is better than what I read from some American 16 year olds!

    Being that you are still a few years away, I would really be looking at the big picture - things like what parts of the US you really want to see and where you want to focus your time and energy. You mentioned traveling at age 20, but you might want to wait one more year, because renting a car in the US is a whole lot eaiser once you turn 21. Traveling at age 20 in the US isn't impossible, but there are a lot more restrictions, and those can make it tough for young foreign visitors to do a road trip.

    Sleeping in the car isn't illegal in the US, and its perfectly safe if you do it in the right places. However, I really only recommend it as an occational stop when you are on the road. I just don't see it as a real great method to have an enjoyable trip since you really can't move around or relax. You might look into camping, which is one of my favorite ways to save money and have a fun place to relax at the end of the day.

    Finally, we have a lot of topics and ideas about Budgeting, but keep in mind that things could change a lot in 4 years. Right now, Gas, for example, costs 3 times more than it did 4 years ago. Currently the US Dollar is at or near record low against the Euro and other currenties, making it a great time to visit the US from overseas, that also could change significantly by the time you would come here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default The planning is half the fun!

    Michael gave your great suggestions. I'll touch on the safety issue since he didn't. Yes, it is safe for women to travel in the United States. Remember, wherever you travel is someone else's home town. Women frequently travel as pairs or small groups without any problems. And many of us do it solo safely. Just use good basic common-sense, just as you would when traveling in Crotia and other parts of Europe (or the rest of the world, for that matter) and you should be just fine.

    You've got several years to figure out where you want to go. I would suggest getting a good atlas of maps of the US and pouring over them. Mark the places that you really want to see. Also, read.
    * Read through the various discussions on these forums. You'll get a lot of good insight from people's personal experiences. You might especially enjoy the sections called "Roadtrip Field Reports" and "Off the Beaten Path".
    * Read through the various articles you'll find under the "Roadtrip Planning" tab in the top green bar above. You might pay special attention to the "International Visitors" section. Follow the many links on some of those pages to other websites that have a wealth of information.
    * Keep notes on the things that appeal to you the most because you are going to get information overload eventually and start forgetting things.

    And then when you start getting a vision of what you want to see, come on back here and let us help you further. We can offer further suggestions, help you fine-tune things, and more!

    Planning is really half the fun. So enjoy the process!

  4. Default I stick to my Big Plan :)

    Thank you so much for your help! I have a bit of a problem with my roadtrip-planning: my friends (and some relatives) keep discouraging me, saying that I'll never be able to do my roadtrip because I'll never have enough money/I won't be brave enough when the time comes/it's too dangerous, etc. etc. Can you believe that?! I keep saying them that hundreds of people have done this before me, but they stick to their bad predictions (?)... I try hard not to get discouraged (they really get tough sometimes!) so I wanted to show them my Big Plan, with all the things I want to see and all the places I wanna go to.. But then I thought: Why should I? It's not like their stories mean something to me. They just sound silly (and are probably jealous!), so why should I bother?

    But there really is something that bothers me: money. (I just hate it when it gets involved, but what can you do...) I've been saving for this roadtrip since I was, um, nine or so. But I'm concerned about the gas.. It seems really expensive (and who knows how much could it cost in a few years) so it gives me a little headache.. But there's plenty of time to think about it. And yeah, I decided when will I 'hit the road': probably when I'll be 25 or so, for two reasons: 1.) I will be old enough to go everywhere and do everything I want (I really want to go to those casinos in Vegas :)), and 2.) just around that time 40th anniversary of Elvis' death will be... how should I say... 'marked'? (Sorry for the strange vocabulary but I really don't know which words to choose!) Anyway, he's one of my favorites so I really don't wanna miss that :)

    And now for the Big Plan. I really want to see dozens of places, and here are some of them:
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas
    Monument Valley
    Colorado Mountains
    San Francisco
    Hollywood (Sunset Boulevard :P)
    Mount Rushmore

    etc. etc.

    I also want to hear other suggestions so if you have a nice place, share it :)

    Thank you all in advance,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default It's a bummer when people don't support your dream!

    When you're an adult, you won't need their permission. Just keep planning and saving and working toward making your dream a reality. Sometimes the people who love us are just scared and want you to be safe and can't imagine you going off on your own like that without them. You might do some solo travels closer to home in the meantime to get yourself and them used to the idea that you can do this. And you can, really! As long as you can finance it, there is nothing stopping you from doing this.

    Why don't you read through this discussion. While birdybird is a woman older than you will be, she had never travelled solo and had some people discouraging her as well. I think this will be helpful to you to read it. Follow the links in some of the posts for further helpful information.

    I think it's premature to start adding destinations. The ones you have listed are a good start to a wonderful trip! I think poking around here and other places learning about what to see is what you should focus on now. That and building that savings account, of course! Best wishes.

  6. Default

    Hi Blueberry,
    don't let anyone discourage you from your dreams, you only live once! Many people have tried to discourage me saying I'm crazy for going on a 6900 mile road trip on my own but I don't listen to them. 25 is actually a very good age to rent a car, certain rental places make it less expensive to rent when you're 25 and older. Also, don't worry too much about gas. Most likely yes it will go up, but a) you have plenty of years to save and b) Hybrid cars are becoming so much more popular and get many miles to the gallon so you should be ok when you have your trip. I have many of the same places marked for my trip as you, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Hollywood, Mt.Rushmore, amoung others. I estimated about $900 for gas alone. Just try your best to rent a hybrid car. By then cars might be getting 70 miles to the gallon! :) And like others have said, planning is half the fun, so don't stop and best of luck on your future road trip.

  7. Default

    And yeah, I forgot to mention Hoover Dam, it's definetly on the list... :)
    Thank you again for your advices.

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