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  1. #1

    Default Toronto to Los Angeles Road Trip, Suggestions Needed!

    Hey everybody,
    I came across RTA a couple days ago and I was reading a few road trip plans and the advice seemed helpful so I thought I would post mine. We are four 18 year old Canadians planning an epic road trip from Toronto to Los Angeles. Most of our parents have done this trip actually, but with different routes and stops. We plan on contributing $1000 per person. So my first question is if that is enough money for the bare minimum. By that I mean gas, hotels, food, and some entertainment. I used gasbuddy, but I'm sure that I will need more than $400 American as we plan to drive around the cities or where ever we stop.
    Next up: Routes. To calculate which route we are going to take we looked at google maps, which probably isn't the best way to do this haha. Two routes came up; the I-80 route which is around 4000km and passes through Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha, Denver, St. George, and Vegas to end up in LA. The other route was the I-40, which is around 4200km and passes through Chicago, Springfield (both Illinois and Missouri), Tulsa, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff to end up in LA. We figured that we would take the I-80 route on the way to LA and the I-40 route on the way back. My second question is pretty vague but it is: Does this make sense? haha and by that I mean are these good ways to travel or am I not making any sense? lol
    What are some good places to stop on the way there and the way back looking at the cities and routes that we travel to?
    What car would be better for us? A 2010 Mazda 3 or a 2008 Honda Odyssey?

    Not much planning has been put into this yet, but we are all determined to make this trip happen so we plan on putting a lot of effort into our plan.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions and help!
    p.s. if anything I wrote didn't make sense it's because I'm dead tired haha

    Edit: We have around 3 weeks
    Also about hotel info... Do you need a credit card to book a hotel? Also is 18 an year old ok for booking a hotel?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,907

    Default right track

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you are on the right track as you start your planning. $4000 total sounds reasonable for 4 people on a 3 week trip, although you'll still need to be watching your budget and you will not be able to get too extravagant, you should still be able to be comfortably cheap.

    Google is a good place to start with your routing, but that shouldn't be the only thing you do. There are a lot of things you could do to detour off of either of those option, but it requires a little bit of work to see what is out there and what else you could do. There are many many more options, you just need to figure out what it is that you are looking for. Personally, I like using real paper maps for this, but the drag/drop feature of google can be of some help too.

    For the car, I would recommend the Odyssey. The Mazda 3 is a good car, but pretty small for 4 people on a 3 week trip. I'd rather have the space that the mini-van will provide.

    Yes, you will need a credit card, that's pretty much mandatory for all motels. There may be times where you run into problems finding a room because of your age. Most places are ok, as long as everyone is over 18, but some places may require you to be 21.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,387

    Default Debit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach23 View Post
    Do you need a credit card to book a hotel? Also is 18 an year old ok for booking a hotel?
    You do not need a credit card to stay in hotels. You do however, need a card, and Visa is excepted everywhere. May I suggest you get a Visa debit card. Much less chance of getting you into financial difficulties. Check your bank for their terms and conditions.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,907

    Default

    That is a good point about a debit card, as that will be acceptable as long as it is a Visa/Mastercard debit. The one thing to note, however, is that motels will often put a "hold" on your card just to cover themselves in case of damage. Its not a big deal, but it wouldn't hurt to have a couple hundred dollars extra in your account just in case there is a hold and/or it takes longer than you expect for that hold to be released.

    This issue actually can come up every once and a while if you use pay at the pump for gas.

    And of course, for both credit and debit, make sure you check with your bank to see what charges/fees they have for foreign transaction since presumably you will be dealing with a Canadian bank.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,387

    Default Quite right

    Michael is quite right, there can be a delay in having the 'hold' removed from the card. However, in your case, if all four of you keep your funds in your own accounts, and all four of you have a debit card, you should always have funds available. As stated, this may happen at fuel stops as well. Depending on your banks' charges, you may find that paying cash works out cheaper. Visa charge a 2.5% currency conversion fee, and some banks charge on top of that. Of course, even though you need to present your card, you are still at liberty to pay cash. I always do.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks a lot for the quick responses guys! Alright so I think I got the financial order taken care of now.

    What about the routes?

    Thanks,
    Zach

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,907

    Default

    Like I already said, the google-supplied routes are a good starting point. However, from there you need to figure out where it is you want to go. There are a million options and possibilities, but the "right" answer depends solely on finding the roads that will take you to the things you want to see. That means, you need to spend a little time looking at maps and reading up about what places might interest you and balancing that with the time you have available/how you want to break up that time (on the road vs. sightseeing, in CA vs the journey there and back, etc)

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