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  1. #1
    DarkTripper102017 Guest

    Default Shippensburg, PA to Phoenix, AZ

    I am planning my first real road trip. I will be alone both ways, am leaving tomorrow, and have a budget of $770. Also, I would like to be back by the 24th (26th latest). I plan on spending a maximum of two days in Phoenix. My car gets an estimated 19MPG. As far as capacity, I have driven six hours with minimal downtime but have never found a need to drive further than that (I was extremely bored by the drive, not really tired).

    Is my budget too low?
    At what intervals should I rest?
    What preparations should I make?

    Thank you. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Time and money.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you want to be back by the 26th then you will only have 1 day in Phoenix. The other 8 days you will be driving for 9 to 10 hours every day with only time for short stops for food, bathroom, and mental/physical health breaks and to fill with gas. Split your days into segments of about 550 miles. Your budget will barely pay for the gas, it is a 4400 mile round trip which is going to require about 230 gallons of fuel. Food and lodgings on top of that will make the costs significantly higher than your budget.

    Is there a reason you have to go to Phoenix ? If not it would be wise to consider a shorter trip or more time and a bigger budget.

  3. #3
    DarkTripper102017 Guest

    Default

    I was expecting to be driving 12 hours a day, so that is a relief. I have business in Phoenix; I can get an additional $300 and add one day, but those are my absolute limits.

    As far as preparations, what should I do?

    Thank you. :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Some thoughts.

    Hopefully your car is up to date with it's servicing and you should check that all fluids are topped up, oil, water and often overlooked but very important, the screen wash. Check your tyres are in good shape and at the right pressure including the spare and that you have the basic tools in there if it should need changing. Keep an eye on the weather and road conditions before and during travel and you should be fine.

    With such a tight budget it would be wise to plot your overnight stops roughly and see what budget Motels there are along the way. If you stop near any City's try and work it out so that you are staying to the West going out and the East coming back so that in the morning you don't get caught up in the rush hour traffic City bound.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Here are some details that may help you.

    Take I-81 south to I-70, then I-68 to I-79 to rejoin I-70. This will avoid the tolls on the PA Turnpike. Then follow I-70/I-44/I-40/I-17. Use the appropriate bypasses around the big metro areas. You will have about $10 in tolls in Oklahoma.

    Spend your first night in Indy. There's a Motel 6 at exit 52 on I-465 on the south side that starts at $36 a night. Spend your second night in Joplin MO, there's a Motel 6 at exit 8 on I-44 that starts at $38. Spend the 3rd night in Santa Rosa NM, the Motel 6 there starts at $40. There will be taxes, so allow $50 a night for lodging.

    I'm not endorsing Motel 6 specifically, but they are generally okay and are one of the cheapest national chains. They are barebones with very few amenities.

    230 gallons of gas is going to cost you over $700! 6 nights on the road is another $300. That's $1000 right there before you pay for any food or any expenses in Phoenix.

    Even on this short a notice, you can fly Southwest from Philly to Phoenix and back for around $700.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default the point?

    I really have to agree that with your time and money, a roadtrip really doesn't make any sense. You are barely going to have enough time to drive to Phx and back, without making any stops beyond the minimum quick roadside breaks. And your budget simply isn't enough to pay for gas, sleep, and eat.

    Just doing a quick search, you can fly from Dulles to Phx, leaving this Tuesday and coming back Saturday, for under $350. Play around with your dates, and compare with flying out of Philly, Pittsburgh, or other airports in the area you might be able to do better.

    That might actually leave you enough time and money to rent a car and take a quick roadtrip in Arizona, maybe make a run up to the Grand Canyon, or something like that.

  7. #7
    DarkTripper102017 Guest

    Default

    I have decided taking a bus the better option; it is much more affordable. I will be driving there for spring break though (money and time will not be a problem then), so thanks for all of the help everyone! :)

    I wish there were alternatives to Greyhound that go cross-country, but unfortunately, there are not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Well, Greyhound is the only bus service that goes from coast to coast, but that's hardly the only option for going cross country.

    As I mentioned, airfare is often the cheapest method for a trip like this (and looks cheaper than Greyhound from a first quick look) and of course there is also Amtrak which provides train service to Arizona, with bus connections to Phx from Flagstaff or Tucson.

  9. Default

    What about Amtrak? Could be alternative to taking a Greyhound bus.

  10. #10
    DarkTripper102017 Guest

    Default

    Amtrak is in the same boat as Greyhound; no competitors and bad service. Only real difference is the price (Amtrak is more expensive). I checked Amtrak ticket prices before considering a road trip or bus ride, and Greyhound is the clear winner ($356 vs ~$600). When I said Greyhound alternatives, I meant bus lines. In regards to flying, I am not getting dosed with radiation or having my junk touched by some guy, especially one with a fake badge.

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