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  1. Default two people, one year in a vw westie camper, no destination

    hello :)

    last year, my boyfriend was bitten by the wanderlust bug while traveling around the country for seven weeks with his friend in a van. i wanna know what it feels like to drive into the sunset and know that i dont have to turn around.

    in two years, we plan to spend a year on the road, living out of a 71 westfalia (in great running condition), with only a gps as our guide. we plan on starting with two weeks in the florida keys, followed by who knows? we plan on using the trip as a way to find where (or if!) we should park the westie and find a roof to put over our heads.

    we would also like to do this a cheaply as possible. sometime during my boyfriends roadtrip, cash became an issue, after which he relied on credit cards. the plan is to have ZERO debt going into this trip, and spending only cash with a credit card for ABSOLUTE emergencies. we want to make all of our own meals, only stay at motels for showering purposes, and pretty much be all around self reliant.

    i'm a massage therapist with a national license, so depending on the state, there is a chance for income. we also plan on attending a few summer music and art festivals (burning man, being one of the reasons for the trip) where we can sell of barter clothes and jewelery i make.

    we really both love the outdoors, and plan on tent camping at a few national parks. the national park pass i read about on another post is a great idea!

    what do you find (besides gas) is your biggest expense? are there any places where we could shower for free? or at least cheaper than a days rate a motel. what is the best way to cut down on food costs? buying in bulk or buying fresh as needed?

    we want to make this trip proof that we can enjoy life for all the beauty and wonder the earth has to offer, to find fulfillment in things that have no monetary value.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You can shower for about $10 at most truck stops. Stick to the big chains (Flying J, TA, Petro, Pilot) and make sure you wear shower flip-flops.

    [Here's an article with more information about Truck Stop Showers]
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-23-2008 at 09:55 AM. Reason: added link to a resource article

  3. #3

    Default Year long road trip

    We took a year long trip too - you will never regret it - it will be in your memories forever. We traveled in all 48 contiguous states, went to all 43 NP and had the time of our lives. We also used a small van - be it more outfitted than a Vanagon - we took a PleasureWay Class B Motorhome. We have also had a Roadtrek - both are very nice, you might take a look at older ones of those, they would certainly be more comfortable and have a full bath on board. But, we were on the other end of our life spectrum from you - we had just retired and wanted to see the US before we couldn't physically do it!

    Our budget was much different than yours - no more "shoestrings" at our age! - but there are lots of things you can do to economize. Your top 5 expenses will probably be: food, "lodging" (campgrounds, motels on occasion, shower spots, etc.), gas and maintenance (remember - you'll have to have/do service on the van much more often due to covering so much territory), attractions/entertainment (entry fees, NP pass, etc.) and staying in touch types of things (cell phone, internet, pictures, postcards, etc.).

    Hope that helps and have a great time.

    Carol White
    Author of "Live Your Road Trip Dream"
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-23-2008 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Preferred format for signature

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Sounds great !

    Living the dream in an old V.W. Westie, it doesn't get much cooler than that!

    Welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    in two years, we plan to spend a year on the road, living out of a 71 westfalia (in great running condition), with only a gps as our guide.
    I find it handy to always have good old fashion paper maps at hand to view the surrounding areas you are passing through and will be useful in the event of a G.P.S failure [you never know].


    we really both love the outdoors, and plan on tent camping at a few national parks. the national park pass i read about on another post is a great idea!
    what do you find (besides gas) is your biggest expense? are there any places where we could shower for free? or at least cheaper than a days rate a motel.
    As well as the good suggestion of truck stop showers most of the National park sites have shower blocks in the main campgrounds as well, although of course there is the camping fee if you stay over.

    we want to make this trip proof that we can enjoy life for all the beauty and wonder the earth has to offer, to find fulfillment in things that have no monetary value.
    Good luck on your adventure and I hope it's all you want it to be.

    Dave

  5. #5

    Default Go for it

    I second the suggestion to obtain a US Highway Atlas from one of the major publishers. GPS is cool, but is not a complete substitute for a map and the skills to read it.

    In the Western US, there are tens of millions of acres of land within the National Forest system. For example, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF in Montana is 3.2 million acres alone, and it's just one of many NFs in Montana. National Forests are riddled with campgrounds of all types. Some have user fees, but many, many are free (but limited in terms of services available). If I were planning this trip, I'd get a Woodall's or similar US campground guide and make sure it covers the NF campgrounds (and therefore gives you info on what's available in them). I'd also invest in a couple or three 2.5 gallon solar showers (the 5 gallon ones are a bit unwieldy at + 40 lbs full of water). Also available are small vertical shower enclosures which can be rigged up alongside of your van. You'll be suprised how nice a short but hot solar shower can be, and it's free.

    There are cheap or free camping opportunities in state parks, BLM lands, county parks, and power company lands. It's great to camp out in Yellowstone, no doubt, but it gets expensive and crowded. For me, the NF campgrounds are the way to go.

    Have fun planning!

    Foy

  6. #6

    Default Gimme those old style maps

    The prior posters are dead on. I love my GPS but it doesn;t always work correctly. It's always good to have a backup.
    Also, I've never spent hours browsing a GPS to plan trips in quite the same way you can pore over maps and atlases.

    Your trip sounds fantastic, like something that many people would like to do but few will actually accomplish. You should try to post a blog and pictures online so others can live vicariously through you.

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