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  1. #1

    Default Two month road trip


    First of all, i am from Denmark, sorry if theres any grammar problems.

    I am planning a road trip in the US this spring (May-June), i searched the web for a good forum to help me plan my first trip to the US, and stumpled across this site, i must say it seems to be the right place for me.

    I have some questions that i would love to get some answers for. What i am also looking, and hoping, for is general direction/advise for things i need to take in mind. Things like where to get off the Interstate, or where it would be smart to cover as many miles as possible.

    I am 23 years old, but not completely inexperienced on the road, i did some road trips here in Europe, only a few weeks at a time tho. Never done anything as extensive as this.

    On my trip across the continent (and back) i want to experience the differences in American culture, while getting great "nature moments", combined with a few wild nights out.

    My original plan was to start in Miami, maybe stay a few days to get rid of possible jet lag. Then pick up a rental car, preferable a convertible, going through the southern states to L.A. spending a few days there maybe. Then taking the 66 to Vegas, where i would spend a night or two, then on to Grand Canyon ending up in Chicago. After a few days here my plan was to drive to New York via Washington. Where my last week/couple of days would be spend before flying back home.

    Do you reckon two months would be enough for that? I'm aiming for a laid back trip without having to "hurry" to much.

    As for my route, do you have any recommendations? Maybe some sights to see? I'm very open minded, and i don't really know what is on my route. What do you think a 23 year old would want to see? :-)

    I also have a question regarding spring break. I would like, if possible, to take a swing by one of the many places i know young people get together and have fun. When and where is it going on, and is any of those on my route?

    I also thought of going just coast to coast, but more like a zig-zag way, would that maybe be a better idea?

    How are the rules on camping and such? If its not possible to camp in the wild, how are prices on camping sites?

    Thank you very much in advance for the time taken and answers given, i'm sorry if i asked question already answered in here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default basics

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a good start for a basic outline. 2 months should be a nice amount of time for this trip.

    However, I am curious if you realize how expensive your trip will be, particularly with the car rental. Being under 25 means you'll be looking at a fee of about $25 per day underage charge - in addition to whatever the base rental rate is. Returning it to Miami - your original destination - will save you quite a bit too, as a one way rental will also mean additional fees that could cost you several hundred dollars more.

    As far as the route goes, you should know a couple things. First, Route 66 is a decommissioned highway that hasn't officially existed in about 25 years. There are still stretches of the old road that are out there, but its not a main highway. The road also never went to Vegas, however there would be plenty of other stretches on your way to Chicago where you would be following its general route.

    For what to see, it really is best just to get out a good map and a few books and do some reading. You're going to know far better than anyone else what will interest you, particualrly when it comes to the big stuff. And once you have a better idea of what else you could do, you might decide there's a better choice of route that would incorporate those stops. But all of those things really are personal decisions.

    Camping - there are some areas partiuclarly out west - where there are National Forest Lands where dispersed camping is allowed. These will be free with no services (pack in/pack out), but you'll have to make sure to check with rangers to see what the regulations are in a given area. Otherwise, campsites will generally run about $20 a night.

    Spring break will be long over by the time you arrive (its in March), however, if you were hoping to find something you'd see in a movie, you'd probably be disappointed. However, starting in Miami should give you plenty of opportunity to enjoy a beachfront party scene.

  3. #3

    Default Thank you

    Thank for the quick reply!

    I've had contact with a car rental company, that will give me a price of just under 5400$ including young drivers fee and alternate drop off, which was 250$. Since i am staying in NY for like a week, i will just drop it off when i get there, cutting a week off my planned rent, and lowering the 5400$ rent price.

    Thank you for the info on Route 66 and Spring Break. I guess i have to do some reading now!

    About camping/living, how about private bed & breakfasts, are they hard to find, and any idea on prices?

    I am also trying to roughly calculate miles and gas prices. Google maps gives me a total of 5700 miles, but those are on main roads, so i guess i will use a "tad" more. I was thinking about making it 6700 miles. On gas prices i just quickly checked Florida prices
    they said around 2.5$ per gallon, so i will calculate with 3$. The car i am renting is a Chrysler Sebring Convertible or equal. On Chrysler's home page the mpg for the biggest engine is 16 for city, i doubt the rental car will be with the 3.5l V6 but to be on the safe side i will use 15 MPG in my calculation.

    Now 6700 miles, 3$ per gallon, and 15 MPG, gives me, with your calculator about 1340$

    With your experience on long distance road trips like this, how many miles would you add, what would you calculate with in fuel prices and so on? Am i way to far on the safe side, if thats possible ;-)?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Word on Your Assumptions

    Your guesstimates on miles, mileage, and gas costs are all good ones to use, and in total will probably give you numbers that are a little high but realistic. The one place you may be a bit off on your thinking is in what you expect from B&Bs. There are many of them everywhere in the U.S. but they differ a bit in concept from their European counterparts. On my travels in the British Isles and mainland Europe I have made extended use of these facilities as they tend to be spare rooms in family homes let on the relatively cheap to supplement income. In America, however, they tend more toward the 'boutique inn' type of establishment with rooms appointed in antiques in historic or scenic homes and tend to be considerably pricier as a result. If your plan was to save a bit of money, B&Bs here are not the way to go. Rather I would suggest that you look for some of the older family owned and operated motels (rather than the large chains). A good source of info on where these are and what standards they meet is AAA. It might be a good idea if you were to join AAA within a day or two of your arrival - that way their tour books which list motels and their maps are free, and you get 10% discount at most motels and many attractions, that over the course of 2 months should pay for the cost of membership.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-25-2010 at 11:03 AM.

  5. #5

    Default B&B's

    Yes, i was thinking of B&B's like families spare rooms, or something like that..

    Thanks for the AAA tip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    When traveling on Interstate highways between cities, the cheapest hotel options are generally the budget chain hotels such as Motel 6 along with the small independent motels as already mentioned. They will be found at or near the interchanges in smaller towns. If you want to stay on the cheap in cities, the best option is hostels.

    The most widely rented convertibles are the Chrysler Sebring and the Ford Mustang. The Sebring will probably have the base 2.4 L 4 cylinder engine that should average you 20 mpg or better. The Mustang will have a 4 L V6 which will probably average about 18.

  7. #7


    A few quick random suggestions based on your rough plan:

    If you are looking to do some camping, I would definitely check into getting a pass to the national parks and staying there as much as possible. There are so many great parks in close vicinity to the Grand Canyon, especially southern Utah and it is some of our most scenic land. Also check out Monument Valley at the border of Utah and Arizona. It is in Navajo land so it is not considered a national park but is just as nice.

    As mentioned, only portions of Route 66 remain. Most of it has been paved over by Interstate 40 from Oklahoma to California. There is a great stretch of original road in Western Arizona that the interstate did not follow that has a bunch of cool little towns like Seligman, Kingman and Oatman.

    As for wild nights out, Miami Beach, the waterfront in Savannah, GA, Panama City Beach, FL and the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA are all a good time. You can also go to almost any college town in America and find a long strip of bars right at the outskirts of the university with plenty of people your age.

    Also, as previously recommended, get a membership with AAA. They will provide you with free guidebooks that are very handy when looking for places to stay. It will more than pay for itself with all of the discounts you get on rooms and meals.

    My wife and I took a road trip 2 years ago where we zig zagged around the mid-west out to the Pacific Coast (we're from Philadelphia, PA) and one of our favorite cities on the trip was Denver, Co. Since then, my 23 year old sister has mover there and has had nothing but good things to say about it so that would be another recommendation. Boulder (University of Colorado) and Rocky Mountain National Park are within easy driving distance as well.

    Have fun.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default to avoid confusion

    If you are looking to do some camping, I would definitely check into getting a pass to the national parks and staying there as much as possible.
    Getting a National Parks pass is a great idea if you plan to be stopping at more than 4-5 parks. It costs $80 and covers the admission fee to every National Park and Monument in the US for one year. Fees by park vary (the biggest/most popular ones like Grand Canyon are $20, but smaller ones cost less and all are listed on the national parks website), so if you think you're only going to be visiting a handful of parks, you should do the math and see if it will pay off.

    However, this pass only covers admission fees, it does not cover camping fees, or fees for other tours, parking, etc. You do (typically) have to pay admission to camp inside a national park, however I don't want you to think that if you buy a parks pass your camping fees would also be included.

  9. #9


    Thanks for all the great tips! As i understand it, the AAA has separate divisions in every state. If i buy a membership when i get to the US, i take it it will cover all of the states? Also any idea on the price?

    Also on the national park service website, i cant find any info on a year card. Can't find anything to confirm the price. Do you know if its a personal card or does it cover the group? I am bringing a friend or two. I guess you just buy one at the first park you arrive at?

    If i guesstimate with 50$ per night, would that be to high? How much would a camping fee typical be?

    I am trying to get as much planned and budgeted before i head out, but i don't want to over budget.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Thanks for all the great tips! As i understand it, the AAA has separate divisions in every state. If i buy a membership when i get to the US, i take it it will cover all of the states? Also any idea on the price?
    Before you consider a AAA membership, consider this.... Your rental car will be covered for roadside assistance, you will not have any need for AAA there. On top of that, if you are a member of an automobile club at home, you may find that they have a reciprocal arrangement with the AAA, and as such will give you access to free tourist information, maps and guide books for every place through which you plan to travel. Check at home first.

    If you want to go ahead and get a AAA membership you can arrange for one from the International Division of AAA. I am not sure of the price, but recall, it was worth it. Here are the contact details:

    AAA International Relations & Club Correspondent
    1000 AAA Drive - Mail Stop #73
    Heathrow, Florida 32746-5063 U.S.A.
    Phone: (407) 444-7223
    Fax: (407) 444-7750

    My friend, who was the contact for international relations has just retired. I believe the new contact there is Greg Brannon -

    Quote Originally Posted by phillydevil View Post
    .....They will provide you with free guidebooks that are very handy when looking for places to stay. It will more than pay for itself with all of the discounts you get on rooms and meals.
    All of this, is of course, quite correct. But you do need to remember one thing.... the only establishments which are in the guide books are the ones who were prepared to pay the price. It has happened on quite a few occasions that more reasonable rates were available nearby, and when asked, also gave the AAA discount. It pays to keep an open mind, and shop around. (The same applies to their camping guide books. I often found very good cheaper campgrounds, and most still gave the discount.)

    And by the way, I always got the discount even when using my automobile club card from home, by simply mentioning that the AAA have a reciprocal arrangement with them.

    Lifey who uses AAA all the time

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