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  1. #1

    Default roadtrip around america lodging questions

    So me and my friends are planing a road trip for summer of 2013 we will be going from CT across the top of the country down CA across to LA into FL for a little then back up the coast to CT. We are trying to figure out how much each of us are going to need to save in order to go on this trip, one of the expenses that has become larger then we first expected is campground costs. I'm now looking into staying in truck stops, but I'm not sure it will be allowed.
    Does anyone know about sleeping at truck stops? Do we have to pay? How to know if it's safe or not? (we are four young women and if its not going to be safe we will just fork over the money for a camp site)
    Also is around 30 a reasonable average for campsites? Or am I just finding expensive campgrounds?
    Thanks so much for any help!
    P.S. This is my first post in this site so I hope its in the right place and not too confusing!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,900

    Default having realistic expectations

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Sleeping in Truck Stops is generally safe, but I have to say its a absolutely horrible idea in your specific case.

    First of all, 4 people sleeping in a car just doesn't work. Its hard enough for one person to get comfortable enough to get one night of sleep inside a car, doing it with 4 people means you'll all be completely exhausted by the 3rd day.

    There's also the fact that I assume you want to have fun! A truck stop is a decent place to stop if you just need to get off the road and rest, but you are talking about a long term roadtrip. You're going to need a place just to relax after a day on the road, and you're going to need a little space from your friends (and yes, that is hugely important no matter how good of friends you are.) At a truck stop, you don't have any place to sit around, you can't cook your own food, when you stop for the night, you pretty much are stuck in your car.

    $30 a night isn't unheard of for camping, but its a little on the high side. You'll usually find the best values looking at public sites like State Parks, National Forests, and similar sites. I would still plan for at least $20-25 a night. However, I'd also budget in some funds for a few hotel nights along the way. The trip you've described it going to need about a month worth of time, and there are going to be nights where you're going to want a real bed. I'd plan for at least one motel stay for every week on the road.

    Not trying to discourage you from doing a roadtrip by any means, but the trip you've outlined really is a huge plan, and it is going to be expensive. A very rough number I'd be looking at is $1000 each. There are a lot of factors that can make your trip cost more or less, but that's a round number to think about. There are also lots of factors beyond money that make a trip this big difficult, especially what sounds like a first time trip. I would strongly encourage you and your friends to take some smaller trips together between now and 2013 so you get used to each others traveling styles and find out what issues you'll likely have when you are on the road.

    As you have more questions, feel free to ask!

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the advice!
    I really like the idea of taking smaller trips togeather before hand, I'm sure it will help alot.

    Do you have any advice about food? We havent really discussed what we want but we need simple cheap options that we wont be really sick of too quickly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,900

    Default

    Well, the cheapest thing you can do is make good use of a cooler. I'd also recommend getting a camp stove or a portable grill. Those will allow you to buy your food at a grocery store instead of restaurants, fast food joints, and gas stations. Here's some more tips on the subject.

    I'll also say if you aren't used to buying your own food, this is another area where it is very easy to underbudget. At a minimum, you're going to need to budget $10-20 per day per person for food, and at $10 will mean that you really will have to cook nearly everything yourself.

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