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  1. Default Going across the country - and back! San Diego - Boston - San Diego in two months

    Any tips on how much you think this would cost a group of 6 (adults and kids). We will rent a minivan and bring camping gear. Also, we will plan only from San Diego to Vegas to the Grand Canyon. We do plan to spend two weeks visiting relatives in Boston area but we won't be able to stay with them. Besides that it will be unplanned, what would you do or see? And how can we fit us all in the van with all our gear?!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Research needed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Sounds like a fun family adventure !! With an unplanned trip, plus not knowing what your interests are there is no way of [gu]estimating a cost for your trip. The same goes for "what would you do and see", even with an idea of your route and time, there would be too many options to be able to offer meaningful advise on such a large scale trip.

    It's a similar situation with the van and your gear, you will have to make it fit. You could get roof bars and/or external storage box or perhaps a small trailer for your camping gear. Camping can be done for anything between up to $10 and $50 plus per night with National parks usually just under $20 and some State parks [and other] offering free camping. You can get an idea of van rental costs in the 'Travel' link above, and if you are mainly cooking for yourselves, it shouldn't be that much different from home. You will find a fuel cost calculator in the planning pages, where you will need a rough idea of mileage, mpg and ave cost of fuel. If I was pushed, I would reckon on at least $200 a day plus your rental costs, but that could be way off the mark as trips are wide and varied.

    I would recommend you take a good look around the site, as it covers all aspects of Roadtripping, and if you have some specific questions as you look around, please just ask.

    Enjoy the planning ![even the unplanned trip requires a little planning]

  3. Default More info

    Here are a few more details:

    - We will have children in the group, they will all be around 10 and below. We are taking them to Legoland first. We are interested in history so reenactment places and museums and general historical sites would be terrific. But not sure how to find them all. We will take our local zoo, children's museum and aquarium membership passes so we can go to ones we come across along the way for a cheaper price.
    - We will be using a rental minivan (don't need info on renting, just on how to pack it all in) We won't take a trailer and maybe not a rooftop box thingy (not sure if rentals can do that).
    - We would prefer not to go too deeply south since I'm not a big fan of hot weather.
    - We already made reservations at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (cabin) but might change that to campground if I can get a spot
    -We need a campground near Lincoln, MA for two weeks OR some kind of rental home. Even at a suite hotel, it can add up.
    - I could use help on how to pack and what to pack in the minivan considering we will mostly camp out. For example, we won't take 6 sleeping bags, people can share. We will take sleeping pads also. Would a netbook be useful to keep in touch (perhaps blog) with family left behind or look up info about areas we are traveling towards and should we buy a cheap cell phone as a back up in case our regular phones don't get reception somewhere.
    - We are open to doing a loop like going through the middle of the US, then loop up to Boston, up to Canada until we hit the west coast and then return down to San Diego. Not sure if we could do it in two months though.
    - I'd like to know how cold it will be at the North Rim in Late May/Early June. Is it really that cold?!

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Realistically speaking, 6 people in a mini-van is really not going to leave room for cargo - especially if you are planning to bring camping gear. I wish we had an answer for that, but there's no magic tip we can provide that's going to turn a mini-van into a clown car with unlimited space.

    Even in the best case, you're going to be packed into the van like a sardine, and fighting for any room at all to move - which is never good, but is even worse with small children.

    A soft sided cargo bag would seem to be required - and even with that, you're going to have a real tough time fitting everything in. I wish I had a better answer for you, but 6 people is simply a difficult number for a one car trip - even with a mini-van or large SUV. In those situations, to fit 6 people into the car, you have to have people sitting in areas that would otherwise be used for cargo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I think you are going to need a full size 15 passenger van to do this with any degree of comfort. Those aren't particularly cheap to rent, and they guzzle gas. You would probably want to remove the back 2 rows of seats and store them somewhere - perhaps the rental company would do that for you.

  6. Default

    Yes, the space is a big issue. We may rent a passenger van but I was having trouble finding one to rent in San Diego (from traditional rental car companies). Any suggestions on how to find one? Or suggestions about anything else? I am thinking of putting everything like clothes in duffles to shove under bench seats and as foot rests under the feet of the children. We will not take much extras and only buy souveniers that are small (like post cards or pins). Mostly we will take the tent, sleeping bags which will pack down into a very small stuff sack and some sleeping pads that will make camping much more comfortable. One small cooler under my feet and another in the back for storage.

    Any more advice?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Enterprise rents 12 and 15 passenger vans in San Diego. Call (619) 696-5000.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Other than a large passenger van, I don't think you'll have a lot of other options except to maybe rent 2 cars.

    I really think you are being too optimistic about how much room you'll have for your stuff, and I also think you're underestimating how much room camping gear for 6 people is going to take up. There's just not that much room under a bench seat, and trying to use up all the floor space, even under the kids feet is going to make everyone feel very cramped. If this was a short trip - even one that lasted a couple days - you might be able to find a way to make things work, but being squeezed in that tight for a 2 month trip is really going to make it difficult to enjoy your time on the road.

    It really just is one of those things - 6 people is an awkward number for a roadtrip. Its a number small enough where you'd like to avoid doubling up on things, yet its a number thats just a little too large for a lot of things that are really designed for 4 or 5 people. I'm sure you'll find a way to make it work - there's just a lot of stuff like this that will be challenging.

  9. Default What would you take for camping for two months?

    Okay, so I should rent a bigger van. I'll look into it. However, if we still get the minivan, what am I missing? I am getting my house painted so I took out the camping stuff to live outside for a little bit. I thought while I was at it I would see how much fit into my minivan. Well, the tent, the sleeping bags (not stuffed in so actually they would have taken up only a third of what they did today) and sleeping pads took up much of the trunk but not all of it. I could have fit a cook stove, cooking stuff box and towels into there too without blocking the back window. And I don't have a big trunk so I must be forgetting some things. We don't plan on taking things like tables or chairs and just some very basic clothes and coolers, that's it.

    Please remind me of all the bits and pieces that I am not taking into account.

    Thanks for your help!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Linky.

    As Michael mentioned, packing stuff into a vehicle for a short trip [or while it's sat on the drive] is quite a bit different from the reality of travelling like it for 2 months, however everyone is different, some will pack light and others want to take the kitchen sink with them !

    This thread and the links herein should help you to make a list of things you may, or may not of thought about taking.

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