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  1. Default Cross country roadtrip


    A few friends and I wanted to take a roadtrip across the country from New Jersey to California and back after graduation, we would all be 18 and we're working on convincing our parents. I was just wondering if anyone has some convincing arguments for why it's safe and we should be allowed, if three weeks is enough time, an estimate of how much we should have saved and any stops that we should definitely see? I appreciate all advice!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Since you'd all be 18, there isn't really any "parental permission" involved at this point - but I'm sure that's not what this is about. Rather, you're wanting to reassure your parents that you'll be safe and out of harm's way. Or that's what I think, anyway. Would this be an issue of their trusting you (which means you'll need more than some forum post to help you,) or their trusting the world "out there?"

    This may go a bit askew, but I hope the point is clear:

    I think everybody who takes trips such as what you are planning has some thoughts that maybe it's not the safest thing to do. Of course, evidence suggest otherwise, with millions of people traveling to and fro every day without the slightest of incidents. Keeping your wits about you - that is, being aware of your surroundings, knowing your own limitations, and being flexible enough to change plans should that become necessary - is probably the key to a successful trip. There are certainly some areas of the country that are more inclined to crime and sinister behavior than others. On the other hand, every place is somebody's home. You're more likely to run into a friendly local "out there" than a psychopathic nut job with fire in the eyes. You're more likely to get three tips on good places to eat, watch fireworks, or see a nice sunset than told three ways to "get lost." I believe that people are generally pleasant and agreeable, no matter where they live, if given the time to show that side. Unfortunately, we are blasted daily with news of the exceptions to the rule - and that's why it is news.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You've Already Made Your Case

    At 18, there are simply no more "convincing arguments" to be made. You've been demonstrating (hopefully) your maturity and ability to handle different situations all your life, and certainly over the last few years as you've taken on more freedoms and responsibilities. I realize that my case is not entirely typical because of the circumstances surrounding my upbringing and background, but when I went to make my first long RoadTrip with friends (I was also 18 and headed for the beach - Florida) I didn't even ask. But then I already had a full-time job with a major chemical company and had already paid my own way through two years of college. The point is, your parents know, probably better than you, what you are capable of and what you can handle. You clearly need something from them - a car, money, something - or you wouldn't be this worried about their approval. If that's the case, you're dimply going to have to trust their judgement. After all, you've had a major hand in forming their judgement of you for the last 18 years.


  4. Default

    Thanks for your tips, and I just want their approval before I go so they aren't angry with me when I return because they just seem worried about it all. Also, any advice on good stops to make or how much I should be saving for a trip like this? Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default understandable

    I certainly understand your concerns about your parents, as 18 is that interesting time where you are legally an adult, but much of the time you're not truely independent. Odds are that most of you are still relying on your parents, be it living with them, getting their help for school, and probably getting help with a car, either using one that they bought or having help to pay for insurance. Certainly, you need their input if you want all that help to continue!

    Actually, there is an RTA article right on that point. This one is more directed at parents, but its all stuff that you should be thinking about too, and work with them to ease there concerns.

    I will say that from a parents perspective, even if you are the most responsible teens in the world, I completely understand their concerns about starting off with a cross country trip. Going on a coast to coast trip for your first trip is a little like jumping off the high dive before making sure you can swim in the shallow end. Even on the perspective of being with your friends on a trip, you're all going to have different travel styles and going to handle the stress that also comes with the fun differently.

    The reality is that to go all the way to California, you're looking at 2 weeks to drive there and back, so you need 3-4 weeks just to make the trip worthwhile. As far as costs, it depends a lot on the details of exactly where you'll be staying, what you'll be doing, etc. This thread is from some travelers a lot like you and should give you some ideas of how to create a budget, although keep in mind its a couple years old, so some prices have increased since then.

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