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  1. Default Road trip virgins preparing to lose it...

    Hello all!

    My name is John, i'm 21 years old, and I'm from Philadelphia. My two best friends and I will graduate from Penn State in May. After 4 years of living together, we are all moving back to our respective hometowns...for good (Philly, Long Island, NY, and Annapolis, MD) As a last college hurrah, we have decided to spend summer 2011 road tripping across America before we have to enter the "real" working world.

    We will be trying to keep costs as absolutely low as possible. We will be camping as much as possible, using, buying groceries instead of eating out, etc.

    Our mission is to "Escape from our suburban, mid-atlantic bubble and in the process discover and experience as many new places, people, and things as possible. What we want more than anything is a true adventure."

    Since none of us have any long roadtrip experience, I was hoping that you experts could lend us some of your wisdom, tips, and suggestions.

    We have alotted 35-40 days for the trip. Money is our only constraint, so the better we budget, the longer we can travel.

    Are any locations on this list below not worth the time/hype?
    Are we forgetting any "essential" destinations?
    Is $1500/person, $4500 total enough for 35-40 days and 10,000 miles? If not how much would it take?
    What not-so-obvious items should we bring with us? We have tents and other basics covered.
    How can we make this as much of an adventure as possible?
    Any other ideas or suggestions for beginners?

    This is our prelininary itinerary:

    Day 1. Sunrise on Atlantic Ocean (Long Island NY) to Niagara Falls (7 hour drive)
    Day 2. Cedar Point, OH
    Day 3. Chicago (5 hours)
    4. West towards South Dakota (7 hours)
    5. West to Badlands, SD (7 hours)
    6. Black hills/Rushmore
    7. West towards Yellowstone (8 hours)
    8. Yellowstone (REST DAY)
    9. Yellowstone/Grand Teton (2 hours)
    10. Salt Lake City/Salt Flats, etc (5 hours)
    11. Arches national park (5 hours)
    12. Bryce canyon National Park (5 hours)
    13. Zion National Park (3 hours)
    14. West towards California (10 hours)
    15. Sequoia national park (REST DAY)
    16. Yosemite National Park (3 hours)
    17. San Francisco (3.5 hours)
    18. Pacific Coast Highway (8 hours)
    19. San Diego REST DAY
    20. San Diego (Zoo and Beach) REST DAY
    21. Northeast to the Grand Canyon(9 hours)
    22. Grand Canyon REST DAY
    23. Albuquerque (6 hours)
    24. Carlsbad Caverns (6 hours)
    25. My Uncles House, Allen, TX (9 hours)
    26. Allen, Texas REST DAY
    27. Allen, Texas REST DAY
    28. Austin TX, (3.5 hours)
    29. Austin, TX (REST DAY, friends house)
    30. New Orleans (8.5 hours)
    31. New Orleans REST DAY
    32. Nashville (?? ?)
    33. Washington, DC (???)
    34. REST DAY at friends in MD
    35. Back to the beach we started at in NY

    Considering the fact that I have never been west of Pittsburgh, PA, I know that this will be one of the best experiences i've ever had.

    Thanks so much for the feedback and advice!
    Last edited by NittanyLion07; 12-26-2010 at 10:38 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I'd examine the itinerary and adjust it for the following considerations:

    1. If you are getting your drive times from software, add 20%.
    2. Limit your driving to 550 miles per day point-to-point on Interstate highways, less on other roads.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Lots to see, little to spare.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You don't say what your road trip vehicle will be but I presume you have your own ? It's possible that half your budget could be swallowed up in gas and campground fees and that looks to be the area of most concern. If you had $800 each after these expenses that only equates to around $20 a day for food and entry fees etc not to mention things that are often overlooked such as laundry and personal hygiene products.

    If you are just 'winging it' without reservations then you can just turn around and start heading for home as your budget dictates but it is also wise to have an emergency fund in case of a mechanical failure or something as simple as a tyre blow out.

    Your trip looks rushed in certain areas and too much in others. Trying to visit Arches, Bryce and Zion from SLC in 3 days is not going to leave any real time to enjoy these natural wonders. You won't get from SF to SD in 8 hours on Interstate, on the coastal Highway it is a full 2 day drive. From Zion NP I would consider heading direct to Yosemite via Tonopah on US 6 and direct to Yosemite for a days rest. You could do this via the 'ET Highway' [NV375]. Just West of Tonopah is 'Millers rest area' which is on of the few rest areas you are permitted to stay the night and it's free.

    To save money you can purchase an annual parks pass for $80 that will gain you access to all NP's for everyone in the car for a year. It does not include camping fees which can be $15 to $18 a night but the reservable sites can sell out real quick. Walk in sites are available on a first come first served basis but you need to be there early to try and secure a spot.

    Take a look around the RTA site, you will find all you need to know about road tripping by using the search engine and looking at the links above and as and when you have questions just ask. While you are at the planning/day dreaming stage I would think of ways to cut back on your living costs right now and work on increasing that budget. Putting by as little as an extra $20 a week now could make a huge difference when on the road.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the feedback guys!
    I've added 20% to all the routes and will use te suggested routes as well.
    I guess we're gonna have to try and save up more money than we anticipated.
    As far as time spent in destinations, I think we'll just wing that and stay as long as we can/want.

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