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  1. #1

    Default Around the USA - 2009

    Hey, ive been wanting to do a roadtrip around america for quite a while now, and i think its about time i just went ahead a did it. if i can get the money together, i want to leave february next year, and finish up in april. ive done quite a bit of research into some places id like to visit. originally, i was going to start and end up in new york, but ive recently found out, that it would cost considerably more for me to rent a car from ny, than it would from another state, (any suggestions as where would be cheapest?) as im only 22, and coming from the UK. here's a list of the states im most likely going to visit, NY, Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio. i could post a list of all the things i have that i want to do, but it'll take a while, ill write it up if someone wants to know.

    what im asking really is,...

    Is it achievable in 3 months, how much cash do you think i need, ill probably stop in b&b's or hotels, depends where i am, (ie, vegas, gotta be on the strip, hehe) how much it could cost in fuel, and any places you think i should visit that generally aren't on travel and tourism websites, because that's where ive got most of my ideas from so far??

    and as this will be my first road trip, not even done one in the uk, not much i want to see here to be honest, any tips for a non us resident road tripping in the us. im sure ill have plenty more questions for you all, but they can wait. thanks in advance.

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

    Default Time is Both Long and Short

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, your dream of doing a circuit of the US in a couple of months is certainly achievable. It can be done relatively comfortably in 3-4 weeks, so you'd be spending less than half of your time actually driving. In round figures you're looking at about 10,000 miles, so assuming a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon and $4/gal gas just the driving will cost you $2,000. Judging from your stated tastes in lodging and my own rules of thumb, I'd say another $9000 in food lodging and admissions. Add in another $3500 for the car rental and you're up to $14,000 (£7,000). That's a fair amount of money to save up in the short 6 months before your planned departure and doesn't include the airfare to get here. There are things you can do to save, and one of them might be to book your car hire through a European company. Just make sure that whoever you rent from knows that you are under 24 and quotes you the surcharge for an underage driver. If the prices you've been looking at don't take that into account, you could be in for a very nasty surprise. It could add as much as $1500 or so to the cost of the hire. Finally, for a good start at finding out what's available to you in each of the states you're considering driving through, have a look at these eclectic lists

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Umm... Utah?

    I notice in your list of states that you're dancing around Utah but not actually going there... I assume that you've made no plans to visit that state.

    I can't really say too much since I skipped Utah the first two times I roadtripped... always looping around it but never going in.

    BUT I think you'll be doing yourself a major disservice if you pass it by this time around. The majority of Utah sits on the geologic Colorado Plateau, and as such the rock formations there are the most dazzling, if you're into that kind of thing. If you stick to the southern portion of the state (south of I-70 and east of I-15), you can drive through some breathtaking areas. There's 5 different national parks, and they all offer something different. All I can say is Hwy 95 through the Glen Canyon area for the win.

    Other than that, good luck on your planning!

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the info so far. Yeah, it will cost a lot of money, maybe i underestimated how long it would take to save that much cash, might have to put it off till next summer, and might be best to find a decent job!!!

    ive been looking at different basic quotes for a car, and with an added surcharge of $25 a day extra, if i remember right, it worked out at about £1500 - 1600. as for lodgings, im willing to go for most things, just not camping, im not a big camper, dont want to have to buy all the gear, plus, i like a daily shower, haha.

    as for not wanting to visit utah, its not that i dont want to, id love to see as much as i can, i wanted to go to seattle as well, but, i couldnt get everything else into the 90 days. as far as im aware, 90 days, is all im allowed to stay in the us at any one time, unless there's some way i dont know about for a tourist to stay longer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Better to wait and have enough instead of getting caught real short

    Quote Originally Posted by Soulforged2358 View Post
    ive been looking at different basic quotes for a car, and with an added surcharge of $25 a day extra, if i remember right, it worked out at about £1500 - 1600. as for lodgings, im willing to go for most things, just not camping, im not a big camper, dont want to have to buy all the gear, plus, i like a daily shower, haha.
    If you don't like camping, then you probably shouldn't do it on this trip. But just wanted to point out the cost savings. You can generally camp for $15-25. Motels generally start at about $40-45 but you will usually end up paying more like $55-75. So you can see the savings add up quickly. And the type of simple, basic camping gear you can guy for this trip will only run you about $100-200 (depending on what all you feel you need) at most "big box" stores. What you save, even if you only camp part of the time, will easily pay for the camping gear in just a few nights.

    And most campgrounds have showers so, if this is what is stopping you from considering camping, don't let that be a deterrent.

    as for not wanting to visit utah, its not that i dont want to, id love to see as much as i can, i wanted to go to seattle as well, but, i couldnt get everything else into the 90 days. as far as im aware, 90 days, is all im allowed to stay in the us at any one time, unless there's some way i dont know about for a tourist to stay longer.
    That is a dilemma with roadtrips. With 90 days, you could definitely drive through many parts of the States (including Seattle and Utah) but, the more driving you do, the less time you'll have to really explore the places you go through. Some go for "whistle-stop" tours and some would rather see less things but see them in more depth. It's possible to do a combination of both as well. Sometimes these choices are hard to make. I've been known to flip a coin. :)

  6. Default Camping benefits

    Just wanted to add to what Judy said about the benefits of camping:

    My friends and I love to make our trips as cheap as possible. It started as necessity (we were poor college students) and ended up being part of the challenge. As such, we have never spent more than $10/night for camping. That's totally doable in the western states if you play your cards right.

    To start with, get yourself a “cheap and free” camping guide. I lived off of one on my last trip and got camping about half the time for nothing. The west is full of public lands and national forests, much of which you can camp on for free. For example, on my way to the north rim of the Grand Canyon I pulled into a small clearing in the national forest and pitched a tent. Stayed at the Grand Canyon for two nights for absolutely free. As for showers, you can shower at the GC for under $2, I believe. $4 total for two nights.

    When you can’t find a free campground, you can still go cheap. I like to pay for one every 3 nights or so in order to get a shower. You can still find one for under $15 if you try hard enough. If not, I never pay more than $20. I stayed at one in southeast New Mexico for $8 -- showers included. You can't beat that. It was a great, empty campground, too, inhabited mostly by rabbits.

    More free campgrounds are available if you’re in the offseason. I camped right outside of Yellowstone at a campground for free one night because they weren’t open yet to accept money.

    That said, the east is generally much more difficult to find cheap/free camping than the west, and I would expect to spend more like $20/night than $10. And obviously, if camping isn't for you, it isn't for you -- but for me for a 90-day trip, the difference between spending $900 for lodging and $4500 is worth it. But then, I like to camp.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Soulforged2358 View Post
    as for not wanting to visit utah, its not that i dont want to, id love to see as much as i can, i wanted to go to seattle as well, but, i couldnt get everything else into the 90 days. as far as im aware, 90 days, is all im allowed to stay in the us at any one time, unless there's some way i dont know about for a tourist to stay longer.
    90 days is a heck of a lot of time. I was able to visit all 48 states in under 30 days (albeit a little rushed). If I had 90 days at my disposal like you, oh man, the possibilities...

    You could probably catch most of the highlights of Utah in about 3 or 4 days. If you're visiting the Grand Canyon and/or Monument Valley in Arizona, those places are right at your doorstep anyway. And of course, there's plenty of camping opportunities in that entire area.

    Of course, if your itinerary plate is already completely full from Day 1 to 90 with things that you're set on doing, then ignore my blabbering. I would just hate for anyone (especially out-of-country) to miss that area. I would choose it over a majority of the "midwest plains" states than you intend on seeing.

  8. #8

    Default

    i might consider camping providing they have showers, (being a guy with long, its required, haha) i think it would just take some getting used to, never done it properly before, it'd be another experience i know that.

    ive been looking over my schedule, and i realised id set aside a few days to see NYC, but as i went there in april, ive seen all the major tourist spots, and some not so touristy things. the one thing i had to do, was see a yankees games, and i did, so was well worth it, hehe. so i could rearrange so i only spent a couple of days in NYC, (i need to do some shopping, clothes are so much cheaper than here!!) and put in utah or seattle. just need to decide which one...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default For a camping novice

    If you've never camped before, it may not appeal to you. However, if you're on a strict budget, it's a very simple and fun way to save money while on the road. I far prefer camping to hotels while traveling. Others disagree. It's a personal decision.

    You might want to do a camping trip at home before you try it during your roadtrip. If you find you hate it, then it's probably not the best way for you to save a buck. The tips here might help get you started if you want to give it a try.

    Re showers...as previously stated, it is actually rare to find a campground that doesn't have them. But if you do decide to camp and find a campground without one, you can easily have a shower anyway. If it's hot, just fill a bucket with water, douse yourself, wash your hair, and then rinse with another bucket of water. Or invest in an inexpensive portable shower bag. Many state parks that don't have camping but do have swimming also have shower facilities that you can use, even if you don't swim there. And, if nothing else, you can purchase a shower at most truck stops although, at an average of about $10 for a shower, this would be my last resort.

    ETA: Tough choice! As a resident of Washington state, I would love to tell you to come here but I think Utah is closer to the other places you're visiting and is a wonderous place to visit. So, with heavy heart, I would recommend Utah for this trip. Save Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest for a future trip.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 07-30-2008 at 10:53 AM. Reason: added comment

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Big picture

    I'd start by saying that I agree with Judy that camping can be a great way to save money on the road BUT if its not something you think you'd like, this might not be the time to force yourself to try it or learn how. If you save money at the expense of your own enjoyment, then have you really gained anything?

    As far as plotting out your trip, I'm getting the impression that you might be trying to overthink things. You're talking about 3 months here, so you should have a pretty good amount of flexability in where you go and what you do. When you start talking about things down into the detail of where you'll spend specific days, I think you'll very much in danger of getting so focused on a schedule that you don't let your trip develop into anything more than a point to point to point march.

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