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  1. Default All State Roadtrip

    I'm currently 16 years old and while I know that is young to plan a road trip it doesn't scare me. I know the issues and restraints I'm going to have to face with. That is the main reason I'm going to wait a few years before I start my big adventure.

    My big dream is to see at least one town in every state (that can easily be reached by car). I've been consulting the net for a few weeks now and I haven't really found a good site/software to plan my trip with. Does anyone know a site/software that, if I type in a bunch of things or cities I'd like to see, gives me the easiest and shortest route? I know of Randy McNally's site and it's been slightly helpful, but the biggest strain is that you have to enter all stops in order. I want to be able to enter sightings as I feel like it and it will update my route automatically.

    I know a 'cross country road trip is expensive and so I'd like everyone to know I'm not just jumping into this adventure; I'm planning this. I got 2 summerjobs this year, and I also work weekends at a bar. I don't have my driver's license yet (you have to be 18 years of age in Belgium) so this gives me at least another 2 years to save up money. I believe I'll have made a substantial amount of money by then which will allow me to make a carefree trip.

    Now what I'm really looking for is people who can give me tips to make this trip. I'm making this trip with a friend who lives in Charlotte, NC. So we'd start out our trip there.
    We want to see the clichéd sightings of course, but some off-the-beaten-path spots too. We'd be prepared to reserve a few days for the bigger cities like LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, etc.

    People who live in quirky towns who say there's a really nice festivity there and who say it's must-see or -do please reply to this. I want to get to know the US; inside and out.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    The first thing to do is determine what you are going to use for a vehicle. If your friend owns a suitable and reliable car, that takes care of that. If not, you will need to be at least 21 to rent one, and if you are under 25 there will be a daily "young driver" surcharge that will make the rental get very expensive.

  3. Default

    The friend I'll be doing the trip with will actually be over 25 years old at the time we're making the trip. If the car is registered on her name, would there be any issues then? How much does it approx. cost to rent a car for about 50-60 days? Rates will probably be different for the type of car we're renting, no?

    Is there a possibility to change rentals depending on what area we're driving in? 'Cause my friend and I both agree that for the days in say Florida we'd prefer a convertible rather than a sedan or hatchback or something.

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


    Even if your friend is able to rent a car, you will not be able to drive it until you are 21 (and that's if you pay an additional fee for the extra/underage driver). The only way you'd be able to drive at age 18 is if your friend owns the car.

    You can certainly change rentals, but doing so will mean some rather large fees. Every time you drop off a one way rental, you can expect to pay several hundred extra dollars. The cheapest way to rent a car is to do a round trip.

  5. Default

    Okay, well I phoned my friend last night and she said she is in fact looking to buy a car next summer. So there should be no real issues as to me driving the car. She wants to get a convertible but would you say it's recommendable to do that in the Great Lakes area or the North West? We would be going in summer but I'm not really affiliated with the different climates in the US.

    Also, if I were to give you a hypothetical route, would you be able to tell how long it would approx. take us to make the trip?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    In the summer, a convertible is fine anywhere in the country, but it gets quite hot in the south so it should also have air conditioning.

    If you want to go to all 48 "lower" states, you will need at least 2 months to do it comfortably.

  7. Default

    I live in northern Minnesota, and I think this would be terrific place to visit. If you have the time, consider spending a day or two in Duluth, and maybe even a day driving up the north shore of Lake Superior to the Canadian border.

    If you'll in in Minnesota or any of the other northern states in July/August, you'll be fine with a convertible. I know people that drive convertibles all year long. They just don't put the top down in January :-)

  8. Default

    Thanks for that advice cwk. ;)

    and maybe even a day driving up the north shore of Lake Superior to the Canadian border
    I don't know if we could fit that in, but I'll certainly think about it; it sounds good. :)

    I got 2 more questions atm:
    1) If I were to fly in to Charlotte, NC on the 30th of June 2013 and leave the 1st of September of that year; how much money do you think I'd need to trip around? Not including flights to and from the US.
    2) Would you recommend booking a hotel in the bigger cities like New York, Washington, Baltimore, Boston, LA, San Francisco and such? Or just do it as we go? I don't want to have too many pressure to get to one place, but a little bit of certainty wouldn't be too bad.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There are so very many variables that coming up with a generic "cost" for a roadtrip - especially one that wouldn't happen for more than 2 years (its hard enough to predict fuel prices 2 months from now.)

    Not including the costs of the flight or the car, A rough minimum cost would be at least $10,000, but it could very easily be more, depending upon your approach.

    You really shouldn't have problems finding a place to stay in major cities, as there are always enough rooms where something is available (although you may have to pay for it or go to a less than perfect area.) The areas where is it more likely to be an issue are areas like national parks, where you've got a high demand, but only a limited number of rooms in a specific area.

  10. #10


    My apologies for dragging this old thread back into the light, but I have an answer for one of the OP's unanswered questions

    Quote Originally Posted by bacarisse View Post
    Does anyone know a site/software that, if I type in a bunch of things or cities I'd like to see, gives me the easiest and shortest route?
    What you're asking for is known as the "traveling salesman problem" in computer science. It turns out to be challenging to find the perfectly optimal route, but good reasonably fast approximations are available. There's a free tool to find such routes using Google Maps over at that you might try playing with. (I have no connection to that site, I just found it useful.) Good luck!

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