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  1. Default MI to San Francisco, first timer advice needed!

    Hey there!

    It's my first time taking a real road trip. We're headed West from Michigan. Would love to end up in San Francisco, but some stops along the way are Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Cadillac Ranch, and any other tips that you all have would be incredible. I think we have about a week and a half to two weeks to work with, is that not enough time? I'm thinking we take a car there and fly back? We're planning to stay in hostels and have limited budgets.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Default


    A one-way car rental (drop off fee) and one-way airfare might be more than your limited budget can cover. Driving one way for 1 1/2 to 2 weeks would definitely allow time for sightseeing whereas a round trip to San Francisco will mostly be "car" time. Other posters can probably give you a better estimate of the total number of car days for Mi - SF - Mi. You may also want to look into motels because there may not be hostels at or near all of your destinations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default conflict

    You've got a bit of a contradiction that you'll really need to figure out.

    If your goal is to keep things as cheap as possible, then doing a one way car rental and flight is not going to matchup well with those goals. Doing that really is about the most expensive way to do a roadtrip, as your car rental alone is likely going to cost you about $2000 once you factor in the one way drop fee. You'd then have airfare, and all of your other trip expenses on top of that.

    However, if your goal is to do this trip in 1.5 to 2 weeks, then doing a one way trip is likely your best choice. Making the trip via the places you want to go would require about 5-6 days of driving. Factor in time to actually see and explore those places, and 1.5 weeks would make for a comfortable one way trip, but quite rushed as a round trip.

    If you choose to drive round trip, I'd say you'd want a bare minimum of 2 weeks, and if you can even add a few more days on top of that, it would be quite helpful.

    A note about hostels, since you said "we," they may not be a big money saver. Since they typically charge per person, hostels for 2 people generally cost about the same as a cheap motel and if you've got 3 or 4 people it can actually be more expensive to hostel. There can be some advantages, like good locations and/or ability to meet and converse with other travelers, but budget isn't always one of them.

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