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  1. #1

    Default Worried Father Seeking Advice

    This looks like a great place to obtain advice and input on a situation I have with my 19 yo daughter who has decided she is going to drive from New Jersey with three of her freinds to San Diego. They are all decent drivers but are lacking any experience in long road trips. This whole endeavor screams NO!to me and im trying to solicit enough experienced advice that I can present her with that would cause her to rethink the trip. Having never gone farther than up and down the east coast myself I dont have any further first hand experience than that to offer her. Im aware of the magnitude of different issues this kind of trip presents. I have voices to her these concerns but coming from those who have planned it and done it and know the pitfalls and risks it may carry some more weight..Its still in the discussion pahse so no concrete plans reservations etc have been made. Thank you very much for helping out!

    Signed Concerned Father

    Mods if I would be better served placing this in another forum feel free to move it

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,591

    Default worried about...

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I've got to tell you, if you're looking for a place to have someone tell you why you shouldn't do a roadtrip, I think you've come to the wrong place! This forum is for people who love getting out on the road, and most of us started that love for the road when we were about your daughters age!

    What we can do is try to ease some of your fears - which likely come for your own lack of experience, and fear of the unknown. Heck, if you've never driven away from the east coast, perhaps, you should get out on the road yourself!

    In any case, let's start with your fears. What are you most concerned about? What are the big pitfalls that you fear so much? Millions of people get out on the road each and every day, and in a lot of ways, driving across the country isn't all that much different than driving across town.

    What has your daughter come up with a plan so far? Where will they be going? Where will they be sleeping? How much time will they be gone? Who will she be going with? What are they doing for a car? How much money will they have? What will they do if something, like a breakdown, does happen on the road? Those are the kinds of things that will be a big factor in how safe they are on the road, and I would focus on those things rather than just telling your young adult daughter no, no, and no.

    I think this is an article that you'd really enjoy. It is more aimed at parents of high school aged teens, rather than college students, but I think many of the same principals will apply to your fears.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    114

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    I'll tell you a story - it's about my dad and how he handled his very headstrong daughter (me) when I was 18 and hitting the road with friends for the summer before going to college.

    This was back in 1984 - before everyone had cell phones, before prepaid calling cards, before homogenized America where every town has the same restaurants, hotels and malls. This was when you had to hand map routes on paper and there was no satellite GPS in the car or on your phone. This was before ATM's across the country and you traveled with Travel's Checks because even credit cards were somewhat of a novelty most didn't have, let alone use. And it was before the internet, so planning what to see and do was really a lot of research before leaving because you didn't have instant access to information while on the road - you needed your plan before you left; and your budget.

    Think for a second about all the technology and improvements your daughter has at her fingertips, things that do make her trip safer and easier now than 30 years ago.

    My dad sat me down and tried, in vain, to talk me out of going. I'd saved money for three summers to do this, planned for almost a year and wanted to see things and just chill before going to college. My dad knew I wasn't going to change my mind, so he asked first to see our plans, which I did share with him and told him excitedly about all the things we planned to do and see....then he had me to promise two things - one was to keep ICKY on my dashboard (it was a troll doll he'd given me, named ICKY, when I'd gotten my license just three months after turning 16 - ICKY = "It Can Kill You" and that furry haired troll was my reminder each time I got behind the wheel - did you drink? Outta the car! Are you tired? Outta the car!, etc.), and two, I'd call at least every three days to let my parents know I was okay and where we were. And I did as promised and about six weeks later, we were back and I have an amazing memory of that first huge road trip on my own, sans parents.

    Your daughter is 19 - she is an adult, so treat as one, let her know your concerns, help her with her planning so you understand what she's doing, where she's going and what they're off to see......you have to let her spread her wings to go!.....show interest in what she wants to do, don't try to squelch that - she'll remember your support as easily as she'll remember you making it a miserable experience when she goes anyway.

  4. #4

    Default

    I knew I came to the right place..My intitial reaction was to say go for it! knowing what a great opputrunity it is for someone of her age to experience. I cant say I am neccesarily looking to disuade her as much as I am looking to ease my own anxieties over her going and top provide her with experienced advice. For instance I have a coworker who warned me at length regarding the midwest. The stretches of prolonged nothingness and how that would effect her in the case of an issue with the car(2010 Toyota Corolla) and the concerns of no cell service in large parts of the midwest..

    To answer some of your ?

    The planning is still in its infancy so there has been little accomplished to date. They are driving a car there to drop off to a Marine boyfreind there and flying back

    Theyre going to San Diego
    Planning on two weeks total
    There will be 3 girls 19 18 18
    They have AAA Plus in case of car problems. I work at a new car dealer and plan on having the car gone over top to bottom
    They plan on staying at hotels at night but as of yet have no reservations(at 18 19 can they even be given a room?)

    I am basicaly looking for a Cross country driving for dummies type help lol

    I really sincerely appreciate the quick reply to my post and thank you very much!!

    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
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    I think your co-worker may be projecting his/her own fears if it were their child?

    The midwest really isn't podunk - cell service is good in the vast majority of places they'll drive through and while there are stretches for miles where there is little to nothing, there are signs before you get into these areas (for the most part) that warn you that it's XX-miles until the next services. For example, in Kansas, if they take the scenic route (Route 40) from Oakley to Colorado Springs, there is a 65 mile stretch with nothing - nada, zip, zilch - so there are stretches that you'll encounter that and it means if you go that way, you have a full tank, check tires, go to the bathroom and make sure you have something to drink until you're past it.

    What you could do is help them map their route so they're not in podunk, but along busier routes and byways. If you go into Goggle maps and route from say, St. Louis to Topeka, then don't clear anything, go in the top search box (which lets you search over your route in the map) and enter "hotel" - goggle maps will then pin each hotel on the route so you can see your options (or lack thereof) to decide good stopping points. If they have a pretty good idea of where they're going each day - with or without making reservations now - they'll know where they'll run into no hotels for miles and know they need to stop before that.

    Regarding reservations - yes, at 18 they can book a hotel. They should have a credit card to do it, otherwise a debit card will leave their accounts held up with hotel holds which could pinch their cash since the holds on debit cards can take 5-7 days to clear - doing that for a week or more would tie up a lot of cash in the account as unavailable. Hotels don't do that with credit cards.

    I'm so glad you're not looking to talk them out of it - you'll be a good help for them in planning if you help them map their route!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-30-2013 at 03:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Missouri
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    Also, a 2010 car that's been maintained - it shouldn't have any problems. AAA is always good to have and it will get them discounts at hotels too!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    2 weeks is PLENTY of time to drive cross country and see some wonderful sights too. If they wanted to drive from sunup to sundown on Interstates just to "get there" the trip can be done in 5 days. There are VERY few stretches of Interstate highways ANYWHERE in the country without near-continuous cell service. The only one that really stands out in my mind is the 100 mile stretch of I-70 between Green River and Salina UT - and there is a pocket of service right around the midway point (this is with AT&T). There will be service on most major non-Interstates and in most large towns out in the middle of nowhere. Your (her) carrier should have coverage maps online. Most, but not all, hotels will rent rooms to anyone at least 18. There are some which still require 21. I don't see the need to make reservations, most Interstate exits have one or more hotels near the highway. Going without reservations keeps things more flexible - they won't feel that they HAVE to drive X number of miles in a day, and if they come across something interesting they can hang around for a while and not have to race through the night to get to their reserved room.

    I'd recommend to them to get on the road fairly early in the morning and be off the road before dark. I would also ask them to check in with you (and the other girls' parents) every night via phone or text with a status report - where they are and in which hotel. Heck - I send out a group text every night when I travel and I'm 64 years old!

    For best coverage, I'd recommend that at least one of them have a smartphone on either Verizon or AT&T, and they bring a wifi-equipped laptop. Most hotels have wifi, either free or at a nominal charge - as do a lot of fast food places such as McDonalds and Starbucks. Recommend they don't stay in hotels in large cities, stay in the suburbs or in smaller towns. If they stay in suburbs, the west side of the city will make for an easier exit in the morning, they will be going against rush hour.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Missouri
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    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post

    I'd recommend to them to get on the road fairly early in the morning and be off the road before dark. I would also ask them to check in with you (and the other girls' parents) every night via phone or text with a status report - where they are and in which hotel. Heck - I send out a group text every night when I travel and I'm 64 years old!
    I do too - if DH isn't with me, I'll either call (if I know he's still awake) or text him (so he'll hear the ding but not have to wake, so he knows we're okay) once we're checked-in for the night and in the room. That way he can sleep peacefully knowing we're safe.

    I think at their age, and the season, they can easily be into the area they'll stay for the night by around dark - still can go out and have fun after settling in, but it'll be reassuring you that they're not still out driving late if they get into somewhere around dinner and call it a night for driving anymore. That also allows them to see the area they're staying in - worst thing you can do is wake up in the morning and realize you're in a war-zone of an area because you couldn't really see the town in the dark!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally Posted by riggo66 View Post
    For instance I have a coworker who warned me at length regarding the midwest. The stretches of prolonged nothingness and how that would effect her in the case of an issue with the car(2010 Toyota Corolla) and the concerns of no cell service in large parts of the midwest..
    Out of curiosity, what did they warn you "at length" about in regards to the Midwest?

    If one of those things was cell phone coverage, then I can tell you right off the bat that they're already misguided. I do tons of traveling all over the backroads of the midwest and it is rare when I don't have cell reception, and if you're on the interstates, you usually have solid cell and data coverage.

    When it comes to cell coverage, the big issue become the mountain west, where when you get away from the interstates, the lack of population and often rugged terrain can limit cell phone coverage. But again, on the interstates it is rarely an issue.

    And of course, it is worth another note that believe it or not, people did take roadtrips before 1999 - i.e. the cell phone boom. Pretty much anyone who ever traveled in the last century did so without cell phone coverage, and that never was much of an issue. Yes, cell phones can be handy in an emergency, but like any electronic device, it should really be considered a backup to good planning. Plus, as long as you are on a major highway, it is again, very rare to go long without seeing other motorists who can help - just like they did in the 20th century.


    ps - I'm even more convinced now that you should be planning your own roadtrip to get a perspective from outside the east coast!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Contrary to the belief held by quite a few East Coasters, civilization does not end at the Appalachians!

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