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  1. Default New to Road Trips Wisconsin to Washington State

    Hello me and a bunch of my friends (3 cars 3 or 4 people in each) are planning on going on a trip from milwakee wisconsin to Washington States Seatle. We are doing this for are kind of "right of passage" trip. We are going to be just graduating high school and we are planning on only being gone 2 weeks at most. But we are young and really have no clue what we are doing. Each of us are think that we should bring around 300 dollars but we really dont know for sure. We want to go through iowa, south dakota, wyoming, idaho, then to washington state on the way there. Then on the way back going through idaho, montana, north dakota, minisota. We are going to be camping the whole time no hotels. We are going to have one 3 to 4 person tent per car but we really do not know where to camp if we should just do it on the side of the road down some obscure road off the highway or what. The cars we are taking is 2 vans and a smaller car. We want to hit Mount Rushmor, the salt lake, yellowstone, devils tower, but we dont know what else to hit. Also we would love it if we could have a few tips becuase we are totally new to this and we would really like to do it this summer.

    Thanks so much,
    People that want to experince the world

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Let's say for a moment that the round trip is 5000 miles, and you are taking three cars, let's figure they're getting 25 miles per gallon. Let's say that there are 10 people total, giving you a budget of $3000, and let's guess your average fuel cost to be $2.65/gallon. You would've already spent 50% of your budget just on fuel. Which, depending on your other costs, isn't necessarily a deal breaker. Being conservative, figure on $15/night for your tent sites at a campground, of which you will most likely need three (depending on the campground rules for cars/people per site), and you're at
    around $2200 in outlay. Leaving you $800 for 10 people for 14 days of food, or less than $2/meal. And that's without figuring in any ancillary costs such as entertainment, etc.

    Here are some tips for saving money on the road. Please be sure to read the clarifications made in that thread, as well as the links.

    You also have to coordinate between three separate vehicles, and you will be sleeping in fairly tight quarters (I find a 6 person tent just about comfortable for 2 people), and driving an average of 7 hours a day. In my experience, the perfect 1-2 punch for making a day on the road into a chore is to be tired and hungry.

    With that, I would make the following recommendations:

    1. Limit the size of your group. I understand that you want everyone to go and have a good time, but if you can limit it to 2 or 3 people in one vehicle, that would definitely help. The others can go on a trip of their own design, and afterwards you can all talk about the different experiences you had.

    2. Cut down on the size of the trip. 5000 miles is a significant undertaking, especially for a first road trip. I would cut out the Washington portion of the trip, perhaps making your Western terminus Boise, ID. This makes the trip about 3500 miles round and allows you to get to many of the places you mentioned.

    3. Increase your budget. Figure each day on spending $15-$25 for camping, $25 for fuel, and the remainder on food, etc. Even if you pack a cooler you'll still need to fill it. The question is, how well do you want to eat? Sticking to healthier, more filling meals is part of a well-executed roadtrip. (I've seen what fettucine alfredo from a buffet can do to a person...)

    Finally, take a look at our RoadTrip Planning Pages and have you and your friends take our RoadTrip Compatibility Quiz.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default think smaller

    I completely agree with Tim, if you want this to be a roadtrip that actually gets off the ground, you need to think smaller - specifically with the size of your group.

    While there is the great "rite of passage" trip that everyone dreams about, the reality is most of these trips don't actually happen.

    In a case like this, you plan to have a huge group and most people say yes because it sounds like fun, but they don't put any thought into the time, money, and effort that's actually involved. As the trip gets closer, people start to realize they've got other priorities, and you start losing people like dominoes, and suddenly the entire trip plan collapses. Trust me here, stories like that happen more times than you can count.

    I'll also say if somehow you did get a big group to actually go, there would be some significant extra issues of trying to keep everyone together, and to get everyone to agree on what to do.

    Your plan just to camp on the side of the road is not smart and will likely get you a court date (imagine a cop showing up with the mini tent city you'd need for your large group. They aren't going to be happy, and will probably not believe you were just there to sleep) - but when you throw in the sheer size of needing 2 or 3 campsites, its going to take extra planning and reservations to find enough sites in many cases so that you can be together.

    I think you'll really be better off if you find a few people who are really committed to getting out on the road. 3-4 people generally work best, and really provide about the best cost savings.

    In any case, I think you'll need to significantly increase your budget. As Tim laid out, you'd really struggle to make it work, and that's before you factor in the little things, like firewood or buying a 12 pack of soda and road snacks that can quickly chew up dollars. Having done these kinds of trips myself many times with my friends (basic camping with one motel night here or there, no major entertainment expenses, most meals cooked at the campsite) I found its hard to do a trip like that on under $500 per week, per person. Even that would be pretty bare bones

  4. Default

    Ah thanks for the info and yah cutting out seatle will be defenatly done :). So you can get arrested for sleeping on the highway :/. Well then where do you go to sleep are there camp grounds or something ive never done this. Also i am pretty sure each of us can get up to 500 dollars as are max and we can defenatly cut it down to two cars with 3 in each. Thanks for the info i think you guys saved me from a diaster.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default yes and more

    If you've never camped before, doing it on a two week long roadtrip really isn't the best place to learn. I would strongly suggest that your group go out and spend a weekend camping so you get a feel for how to use your equipment, figure out what things you really need and don't need, and of course, make sure that camping is something you actually enjoy doing.

    You can find campground most anywhere, including the Milwaukee area. A couple of my favorites that you might check out for a weekend trip would be Kettle Moraine State Forest south, near Dousman, and a brand new campground at Harrington Beach State Park near Belguim. Those are both within 45 minutes of Milwaukee, although you'll probably need reservations on the weekends. Waukesha County Park system also has 4 primative campgrounds that you could check out - and generally can use without reservations.

    I will also make note that I said $500 per person per week - so if you are going to be on the road for 2 weeks, you'll probably want to have $1000 each. I suspect you'd need every dime of that, but in any case, I'd much rather overbudget than to get to Montana and realize that I'm out of money.

  6. Default

    Ok thanks so much!!

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