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  1. Default Questions on Trip from Boston to San Francisco

    I am planning a trip starting from Boston, and along the fringe of great lakes and get to Chicago. After that, I am going to down the Mississippi river and aim at New Orleans. Then I will turn west along the border with Mexico and pass Phenix to LA, the last stop will be San Francisco. My major interest are the cities on the route, and want to finish in one month.

    Do you think it is realistic? how much do you estimate if I can find four person together with a car? or any other suggestions about this general plan? like interesting place along the great lakes, in Mississippi watershed or Arizona and New Mexico desert?

    Great thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Basics

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    A month is more than sufficient for the one-way trip you describe, you could even make it in three weeks and have a week to get back to Boston by a more direct route if you should need to. For a solo trip of this nature, a ballpark figure on cost would be about $3500-4000, assuming you use your own car. Renting a car would cost an additional $1000 or so, plus a several hundred dollar drop-off fee if you're only going one way. Adding additional people does not increase costs that much. If you all share the same motel room, then your only added cost is food and the per person cost drop accordingly.

    Since you are most interested in cities, you should be looking at Cleveland Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. But don't overlook the scenic aspects of the Great Lake such as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the many wildlife refuges along the Mississippi, or some of the natural wonders of the Southwest such as White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad or Kartchner Caverns, Saguaro National Park, Joshua Tree National park, and the Pacific Coast Highway.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The big ditch !

    As you have a nice amount of time you could head North from Phoenix to the "big ditch." [otherwise known as the Grand canyon] If you have not been before it would be a shame not to, and with your main interests being city's head for Las Vegas afterwards.

  4. Default Detailed plan

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I have developed my plan further. It is going to be Boston - Buffalo - Cleveland - Cincinnati - Chicago - St. Louis - Memphis - New Orleans - Houston - Dallas - El Paso - Tucson - Phoenix - Los Angeles - San Francisco. I have one month, rent a car, with other two partners, and most time we want to stay in the safe hotels in the city. What's the daily cost it will be for each people you think including everything? What's kind of car are recommended for renting?

    How long do you think I should estimate to drive in between each city? I don't want to be too harsh and tired, and wanna to leave some flexible time for some discovering detour.

    Please refer my attachment and you are very welcome to suggest interesting place around this route.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If I may make a suggestion - safe hotels *IN* cities can be costly - up to $200+ a night for a room. I prefer to stay out in the suburbs at Interstate exits, the rates are considerably less and the places are no less safe. Then again, if you want to be centrally located in the city to walk or use public transportation to get around, be prepared to pay. Downtown hotels in large cities also often charge up to $30 a day to park a car.

    With this criteria, I would budget up to $200 per person per day to live well. I would rent a "full size" sedan, that should be plenty good for 3 people and luggage. Cars that meet this definition include Chevy Impala and Nissan Altima. This should be very close to the same price as the next step down - "standard" - which would be like a Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion.

    We recommend that you drive no more than 550 miles a day if you are using the Interstate highway system, less if you use secondary roads. Google Maps can give you a good estimate, HOWEVER it does not account for any stops or delays - so add 20% to its drivetime estimate.

  6. Default How much to rent the car

    Thanks. It sounds good idea to stay in hotel outside city. Should I take any chain hotel or randomly motels? what's the average rate then? are there three beds room or usually two beds?

    How much to rent a "standard" car including insurance, on way drop off fee and other necessary equipment do you think?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Everything varies too much to give you exact $$

    Quote Originally Posted by Ztrip View Post
    Thanks. It sounds good idea to stay in hotel outside city. Should I take any chain hotel or randomly motels? what's the average rate then? are there three beds room or usually two beds?
    Some people like specific chains. Some like those chains for price. Some like those chains because of the amenities they offer. Some like them for the free breakfasts. I tend toward discount chains without breakfast as I'm not a breakfast-eater. I don't care how early I get up, I can never really eat before 10am and I'm well on the road by then. So I lean towards Motel 6, Super 8, Day's Inn chains. But these might not be right for you.

    Rates vary. Some chains might average in the $45-55 range. Some in the $60-80 range, or $80-100 range, or $100+ range It all depends on what they offer, as generalized in the paragraph above. And the rates between the different motels in a chain will vary based on location, how close they are to city centers or tourist attractions. How many other motels are in the area providing competition, etc.

    Most chains will offer a clean, safe room regardless of the price. But this can vary, too, if it's in a really gnarly location, for example.

    While there can be a lot of good mom-and-pop type motels along the way that are locally owned, not part of a chain, they can be a bit harder to identify from the not-so-good ones. Obviously, a very clean and neat, well-maintained exterior ups the odds it's a good one. Chains are supposed to have standards that must be met to keep the chain sign on the building so that should assure you but there are still some out there that aren't necessarily up to the standard. Or at least you wonder how they could be.

    You can always ask to see the room before you pay. If they refuse, then I think that's a good sign that you wouldn't want to stay there.

    Standard rooms are typically either two double-beds, or one queen. Some might have two queens, or one king but you usually have to pay a bit extra for those. Most will rent a roll-away bed to you if you need more beds for a small fee.

    How much to rent a "standard" car including insurance, on way drop off fee and other necessary equipment do you think?
    You will really need to research this. Prices can vary based on the exact location you pick-up/drop-off at, even within the same city. Time of year can make a difference, too. Check with your current auto-insurance provider to see if they cover you in a rental car. Also check with your credit card as some cover the insurance if you use their card to rent the car.

  8. Default Road Trip Car renting in Boston?

    I am planning to rent a car in Boston and drive to Los Angeles. Any suggestion on rate, place to rent and suitable types of car? Either Sedan or SUV? Great thanks!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-25-2009 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default already answered

    As Judy already mentioned, this is something you'll simply have to research. Prices can vary way too much to even make much of an accurate guess. You should expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for a one way drop off fee.

    There is probably no reason to rent an SUV unless you have a desire to drive one and you don't mind paying several hundred dollars more both in rental fees and gas.

  10. Default Motel selection

    Hi I am ready to begin road trip. But when I check the motel on line like super 8, the single room with two beds are around 80 $, that's pretty expensive. is there anyway to book cheap and safe motels?


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