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  1. Default New Jersey to Bellingham, WA, 1 way in 28 days

    So me and my brother will be taking a 28 day trip from NJ to Bellingham, WA. We would like to take a southern route and spend alot of time on the coast line and in the national parks/mountains. We have reserved a Chevy Cobalt with Hertz for June 19th-July 17th for $1273. Its a one way trip and we already have plane tickets home so the budget need not worry about that. We have $3000 total saved so far and hope to have $5000 saved by the time the trip arrives. Should we be overstepping our selves the first thing to get cut would be the time closer to the east coast. A southern and western explorations is what we are looking for. We will be avoiding most cities and focusing on camping/hiking national parks and camping on the beach. Can anyone offer advice in terms of route selection or budget or anything? Any ideas at this part of the planning process would be much appreciated!
    Our initial budget breakdown is this

    Car rental - $1273
    Car insurance - $924 (could be eliminated if it works out with me trying to get insurance through the mastercard I just applied for)
    Gas - $600-900 (est with $3.00 per gallon over 7300 miles with gas mileage variables of 25 city-37 hwy)
    Food - $840 (30 bucks per day avg)
    Camping/Lodging - $560 ($20 bucks per night campsite avg but will prob be offset with a few days sleeping in walmart parking lots)
    National Park Pass - $80
    Tent - $80
    Habachi Grill - $30
    Other supplies procured for free from parents house
    Tolls - $300

    Here is the rough route we would like to take.


    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...,60.688477&z=5
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-14-2010 at 04:10 AM. Reason: added map

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default

    I think you need to budget a bit more for gas - you aren't going to see 25/37 mpg and there's a good chance gas will be considerably more than $3 a gallon this summer. Also, if you must sleep in your car, do so at a truck stop, not in a Walmart lot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default National parks.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you plan on camping in the National parks, the popular ones can get booked up very quickly and you might want to consider making a few bookings if it isn't too late already.

    A couple of things of note on your route are the exclusion of Arches NP and Canyonlands near Moab and rather than staying on I 70 you could head towards Hanksville and Torrey on 24 passing Capitol Reef and drive along scenic byway 12 to Bryce canyon and then on through Page, with that in mind there is also the wonderful NP of Zion nearby.

    Between GC and LA you would have the opportunity to pick up parts of the original route 66 and you could also consider cutting through Joshua tree NP.

    From LA to San Fran I would take a couple of days and head on the coast road around Big Sur between Morro bay and Monterey, it's one of the great coastal drives.

    From San Fran you head to Truckee/Tahoe but I would strongly recommend that you head in a more Westerly direction to the amazing NP of Yosemite and head over Tioga pass [CA120] and take 395 North.

    Unsure as to why you would head all the way back to SF, you could head through Lassen Volcanic park on the way to the Redwoods.

    Another couple of NP's you could catch are Mesa Verde near Durango and a short detour East from Montrose is the Black canyon of the Gunnison.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    I agree that your fuel budget is using some very conservative assumptions. Gas prices are already at $3 in many parts of the country, and are well beyond that on the west coast. I think your estimate that you will drive 7300 miles when your point to point distances are 6300 is also a bit low. I'd guess that when all is said and done, you'll spend close to $1000 on gas - or in other words your high end estimate is probably what you should be using for your low end best case guess.

    However, I think you're really overpaying for insurance. $900 for a month of insurance seems really excessive. I'm assuming that neither you nor your brother has a personal car that has insurance? I tend to be very skeptical of credit card insurance, because their coverage only applies if you have no other insurance at all - which means you're putting all of your faith for insurance in a credit card company, and that's more trust than I'm willing to give them. You might also check out some of these options - while they are more aimed at international visitors, you might find that they'll work for your trip too.

  5. Default thanks

    thanks for the responses, they are greatly appreciated!!!

    a few questions-

    glc - Should we not expect to at the very worst hit the city mileage (25 mpg) for the car? am I overlooking something that would make this go down?

    Southwest Dave -I def agree about Yosemite. I made a AAA trip planning map that had a few small alterations in the Colorado/Utah parks as well as Yosemite but that advice is excellent. And I am going to look into Lassen Volcanic Park, I guess the drive back to San fran was to maximize the amount of days we spend on the beach on the west coast while we are there as we drive north of san fran. but maybe this should be re considered.

    Thanks for the heads up about booking the campsites. I guess my reason for not doing so already is that with a trip of this length I imagine that it would be very hard to correctly gauge the precise night in advance that we will need the camp sites at each place. I have mapped it out day by day but it seems like it would be stressful to be so tied to an exact day by day itinerary. I will have to look into this though as we do want to camp in the parks when possible and affordable.

    Midwest Michael - My brother and I are both on our parents Allstate coverage for our respective vehicles (vehicles we cant use for this trip unfortunately). I spoke to Allstate and was told that our coverage only covers the vehicles we normally drive and will be completely useless with this rental car. Yes the 900+ bucks just for insurance really sucks. I checked out those other sites the link you sent recommended but it appears that the Euro based insurance options are not applicable for US/Canadian residents. If anyone has any other suggestions for cheaper places to look for the rental car insurance please let me know. Another note on the insurance - The credit card option just was declined because I don't have a high enough yearly income so theres no way to avoid that I will need to purchase insurance I guess.

  6. #6
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    I would really double check that - get a second opinion. If you are listed on your parents policy as a regular driver, then you really should be covered in a rental car. At least that is the case for the vast majority of insurance policies in the US, and since Allstate is one of the largest carriers I would be rather shocked that you would not be covered while driving a rental.

    At the very least, you should talk to your agent about what it would take to expand the coverage to a rental car- I'd bet it would be far less than $900.

    Speaking of fine print, you are certain that your price quote for the rental car includes both your underage driver fee and the one way drop off fee? When you factor in those two fees, your rate sounds almost too good to be true. Its within reason and you may have simply found a really good deal, but I would make sure I wasn't in for any big surprise when I get to the rental counter.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I would really double check that - get a second opinion. If you are listed on your parents policy as a regular driver, then you really should be covered in a rental car. At least that is the case for the vast majority of insurance policies in the US, and since Allstate is one of the largest carriers I would be rather shocked that you would not be covered while driving a rental.

    At the very least, you should talk to your agent about what it would take to expand the coverage to a rental car- I'd bet it would be far less than $900.

    Speaking of fine print, you are certain that your price quote for the rental car includes both your underage driver fee and the one way drop off fee? When you factor in those two fees, your rate sounds almost too good to be true. Its within reason and you may have simply found a really good deal, but I would make sure I wasn't in for any big surprise when I get to the rental counter.
    Yea I will double check that with our insurance agent...

    Regarding the rate quote: Yep thats legit. I even went in and personally confirmed it with the Hertz office. Hertz (according to these employees) does not charge 1 way drop off fees. In regards to the under 25 thing: I am actually just 25 (i know its shameful still being on parents insurance but meh haha) so there wont be an underage fee for us. It is simply too expensive to pay to put my younger brother on the insurance so I will have to do all the driving.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Well, that makes more sense. It was mostly the underage fee that I was expecting to jack up the rate, without that it seems like a pretty typical price.

    And it is correct that Hertz doesn't technically include one way drop off fees - they just roll the fee into the daily rate.

    If you are over 25, it would probably be cheaper for you to put your car's insurance (or whatever car you typically drive) in your own name on your own policy - just make sure the policy covers you in rental cars. With your age, you aren't really saving any significant money by being on your parents insurance, and as long as you've got a reasonable car and a reasonable driving record, you could probably buy 6 months of full coverage for the $900 you're going to be spending for the rental insurance.

  9. #9
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    I just did some math - I'd budget $1050 for gas. That's point to point mileage plus 20%, 25 mpg, and $3.50 a gallon.

    Talk to your insurance agent about adding a "rider" to your policy to cover the rental car. I used to do that when I was driving beaters with no collision coverage.

  10. Default

    Thanks for the insurance advice guys.

    Regarding our route: We are now leaning towards cutting out the east coast completely and driving through nashville in a straight shot to New orleans and then continuing on the planned route from there. We are subtracting Rocky Mountain National park (to save time) and adding a whole mess of national parks in Southwestern CO and most of the big Utah parks. We are also going to take your advice with the route leaving yosemite going northwest through Lassen Volcano park instead of back to San Fran. We think these changes will free up some more time to get some beach time in CA and OR

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