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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    Posts
    6

    Default 6-8 Week Trip for Summer'13

    Hey Guys,

    I'm a new member to the forum but I have been reading old post about trips and such. So I'm hoping maybe y'all can give me some tips or advice as to the trip I'm planning.

    I know it might be a bit early to already start asking for help but I just want to plan ahead as much as possible. This trip first started as a while idea as "just getting on the road and drive". Even though I love the idea, it seems a bit unrealistic and irresponsible.

    There is going to be four of us going in this trip, on my Grand Cherokee 2001, that I'm rebuilding at the moment. I'm trying to make this jeep as comfortable (suit our needs) as possible for us four since we will be out for quite a while. We all want to have about $2,500 for the trip, while I personally want to take $3,000. We pretty much already have the layout as to what cities.

    Phoenix, (room for free)
    Fontana, Ca (room for free)
    Las Vegas (room for free)
    Moab
    Salt Lake City
    Grand Teton National Park
    Devil's Tower - Mt.Rushmore
    Arthur Iowa (room for free)
    Milwaukee (possible room for free)
    Chicago (room for free)
    Niagara Falls (Canada Side if possible)
    Boston
    Maine (room for free)
    Either Philadelphia or New York
    Virginia Beach (possible room for free)
    Jacksonville Florida
    New Orleans
    Austin (room for free)
    San Antonio (room for free)

    We will ending our trip in Fabens, Texas which is 30 miles away from where I live, but most of my friends live out there and we will be having a welcome home party! :D

    Now with most of these cities we are planning to stay up to three nights. So as you can see we do have friends and family in a lot of cities which will cut our lodging cost.

    So what do yall think? Does this sound like a possible trip? Is our money budget good enough, even for some drinking, maybe a baseball game? Any attractions yall recommend us? Any meals idea since we will be camping in some cities where we dont got friends or family members? Anything else that I might of missed.

    Thanks for taking your time to help me out.

    Greetings from El Paso

    -Raul

    P.S I have gone on camping trips with 2 out of the other 3 before., also our ages by then will be 23,24,26 and 28, with me being the youngest. But I have known these guys for about 9-11 years. One of em I met when I was 11, and we used to be roommates in phoenix as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Also, is there anywhere we can camp on the shore in the east coast?

    Again sorry for all the questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,609

    Default Never Too Early to Start Planning

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I've currently got three separate RoadTrips under various stages of planning, the lat of them for next summer, Starting to plan well in advance of a trip simply gives me plenty of time to search for possible places to add to the itinerary, better routes to get to them, and decide on the best way to include it all - including some downtime to recharge my batteries en route. Usually a year ahead of any trip I'm concentrating on finding places that I'd be interested in visiting. There will always be more than I can get to, but I still want to get as complete a list of possibilities as I can. In your case, you've got four people who will be supplying 'input' so the sooner you get everyone making their suggestions, the sooner you can work out the basic itinerary, the next step up from your current bare-bones outline.

    So, is your plan workable as it stands? Six to eight weeks is certainly sufficient time to cover the 7,500-8,000 miles that will be entailed, but $10,000 will be fairly tight. I make it roughly $1600-1700 for gas, but nearly $17,000 for eight weeks of food and lodging for four people in what I consider comfortable, but certainly not extravagant, settings. Now you can save on that by staying with friends some nights, using some of the cheaper chain motels, and eating most meals out of a cooler that you keep packed with supermarket visits (but that will take up room in the Jeep.) So, at $10,000-$12,000 you're all going to have to be constantly watching the pennies if you want to stretch this trip to eight weeks. Six weeks would cost less, but will still be tight. You can find campsites everywhere, including state parks and commercial campgrounds along the east coast. But these will be crowded during summer season, and the commercial sites in particular need to make all their 'revenue during the relatively short time that tourists (you) are around, so they may not be as low cost as you're hoping.

    So, looks like some more planning and perhaps some paring down is in order.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    Posts
    6

    Default

    From what we had research we were going to spend about 1400 in lodging by camping (koa.com) and cheap motels (four people to a room) in the 9 cities were we dont have a place to stay for free. As to food, with all due respect, I think $17,000 is a bit excessive for lodging and food for us, well maybe not for beer money. We wouldn't be dining out in restaurants really, we will definitely be living off from groceries. This ain't suppose to be a fancy trip or anything but I really gotta go back and check our numbers, you making me worry :P



    Is that how much you spend in your road trips?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,821

    Default

    I would not take koa.com as the say-so in camping fees. Frankly, KOA's are among the most expensive camping places available. You are better off (price wise) in county and state parks, national forests and national parks campgrounds, with an occasional foray into independent campgrounds. When my husband and I were young, we would camp out for 2 nights and spend the 3rd night in a cheap motel ($45/night or less for two) where we could get a good shower and have a bed. Camping would cost you $15-30/night, where a motel for 4 (assuming you'll share a room with two beds) would run about $60 - 85. With motels, don't stay in downtown of large cities. Staying in independent or cheaper chains and outside of downtown will keep your price down.

    Food is what you make it too. Hauling a bit in the trunk in a cooler and a bag would be a lot cheaper than 2 or 3 meals in restaurants every day. (It's also less tiring.) Most motels have a breakfast plan, but if you are camping, you can do a box of cereal with milk out of the pantry if you can all agree on one or two cereals.

    Hubby and I budget $5.00/gallon these days (usually spend less) at the middle-range mpg for our vehicle, taking the mileage from the round trip and adding 25% for tourist mileage. That's fuel. For motels, we budget $65/night. We budget $60/day for food when we decide to eat out all the time, less than that if we tote cooking equipment.




    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    I would not take koa.com as the say-so in camping fees. Frankly, KOA's are among the most expensive camping places available.
    Donna
    Thanks for the heads up ma'am. Definitely will have to revise the camping spots. I honestly think we will be cooking a whole lot more than eating out. But still gonna calculate with what you gave me! Would it be 60/day for food per person or for both of you?

    Thank you for taking your time and helping me out ma'am. :D

    -Raul

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,576

    Default the high cost of free lodging

    Out of curiosity, are you really that close to all of these people you plan to be staying with for free?

    I mean, its one thing to be staying with your good friends who've moved to a new city or to be staying with a sibling, its quite another to be planning to stay with your 3rd cousin 2twice removed who you met once when you were 12 years old at a family reunion.

    While that is an exaggeration, there is something to be said about inviting yourself and your friends to be crashing at someones house. Anytime you are a guest, you are going to be limiting your own freedom to an extent, and of course, if you are staying with a relative, then your friends are basically staying with a stranger which can be a little uncomfortable.

    Of course, then there is also the reality that staying for "free" usually isn't free. Generally, out of common courtesy, you should be providing something for your hosts, such as taking them out to dinner or bringing a gift. You start doing that, and you can end up spending more than you would on a campsite.

    Its not to say that free sleeping is always bad, I've certainly done it. But I can also say that staying at a friends place is a lot more fun than staying at your friend's grandmothers house. and there are always tradeoffs for what you get for "free." I would really make note of that because of the very large amount of time you're planning to be spending staying at someone elses place.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    Posts
    6

    Default

    You actually be surprised all of those "free" places are really good friends of ours, only in chicago would be staying with a cousin of one of the guys. They invited us out to go stay with them and to be their guest, if not our route would be completely different.

    I didn't want to stay with any uncles or aunts due to the fact that they have daughters and other reasons, and I didn't want anybody to feel awkward to have strangers in their house.

    As to taking a gift to our host we had already had that in mind, so no worries there. :P

    Thanks for your advice!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,609

    Default Other Costs...over the Long Haul

    Michael has pointed out a few of the hidden costs of those 'free' stays. Now let's consider some of the other 'costs' incurred in a two month RoadTrip. You say that you'll keep costs down by camping and sleeping four to a room. That is all well and good and would work for a short, or maybe even a moderate RoadTrip of up to a couple of weeks. But think about this. You are planning on spending almost every moment of two months with the same people. in very confined spaces: a Jeep, a tent, or a cheap motel room. Ben Franklin had it right that "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." Take it from someone who has 'been there, done that' - this will not be a happy little band of campers past the first week. I know, you're all the best of buddies, have known each other for years, even roomed together. Not the same thing as enforced togetherness for week after week after week, after week, after week..... My cost estimate was based on getting two rooms, minimum, when you're spending the night in a motel. That's both so that everyone gets an actual hot shower and so that you get to trade off who has to spend the night with whom. There is a point past which saving money will simply cost you any and all pleasant memories from this trip. I would strongly recommend that you scale this trip back to what will fit into your budget, and allow you a comfortable trip with the 'luxury' of some alone time, rather than try to squeeze fifty pounds of potatoes into a ten pound sack.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    7,932

    Default Awareness.

    All of the above points are good ones and are put there to make you aware of certain situations and things to consider when planning. However, being made aware of different issues and working through them during this planning stage will help you too have a better trip when it comes around, and it's certainly a long way from being all 'Doom and Gloom'.

    You have a long way to go before your trip commences and if it were I, I would be looking at budgeting right now at home and make cut backs where at all possible and make every cent count towards this trip. Save, save, save ! You don't have to be extravagant to have fun, but not having to watch every cent as you go and have to calculate if you can afford a can of beer today, is far more enjoyable. You will want to splash out every now and again and so you should, but that can put a big dent in a small budget !

    You will also need an emergency fund incase you need to pay out for repairs on your vehicle while on the road. Again a small job could be an expensive part while on the road. You really can have a fun trip and as long as you always have enough money left to turn around and get home, you don't have much to worry about. If you don't reach all the places planned and/or need to head home sooner rather than later, so be it !!

    Until then, keep planning, keep dreaming and keep enjoying it !!

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