Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. Default Cross Country trip for Summer 2014

    Thought I would introduce myself on this forum since I will probably be using it a ton for planning the upcoming trip. My 3 best friends and I are planning on taking a road trip the summer after we graduate Highschool. We've been talking about this since freshmen year and well this summer Its time to start planning. We want it to be 3 weeks - 1 month long and want to try and do it on $1000-2000 per person. The tentative route is Atlanta to San Francisco and everywhere in between. All of our parents are fairly on board. My parents, especially my dad are very safety oriented. He always talks about how we need to check out everywhere we are going to make sure the area is safe and everything. I agree with him, but I feel like he wants this trip to be much more planned than we are going to want it to be. I guess in general I just want some general tips, especially on easing my dads worries and making sure we can come to an agreement on the planning of this trip.

    All in all, we're all really excited. We've always considered ourselves pretty adventurous and want something memorable and meaningful we can all do together before we go to college. We're open to suggestions. Maybe this weekend I can post some more locations we have in mind.


    ~ Jackson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It sounds like you've done a nice start to your planning.

    I can tell you, I think you are going to need to be on the higher end of your budget. You're going to be spending more than $1000 just on gas. If you all eat on a shoestring budget, you're still going to spend another $1000-1500 minimum on food. Things like that add up quickly on a month long trip.

    What will you be doing for transportation for this trip? Where will you be sleeping? What are you thinking for food and entertainment? Those will all be big factors in what your trip looks like in every aspect, including budget and safety.

    Also, will you all be 18 at the time of this trip? If even one of you is a minor, it brings up some pretty big issues.

    As far as general tips, the one thing I strongly recommend is that you take at least one or two small weekend type trips together so you can get a feel for what you like while traveling, and what kinds of things you'll need on the road, that you wouldn't think of until you've actually had a little experience. The reality is that while it is fun to be on the road, there are also a lot of challenges. Spending a month living together is tough, and even the best of friendships can be destroyed if you aren't all on the same page. (and if you say it can't happen to you and your friends, you're at the highest risk of it happening!)

    Some "required reading" for you.
    This quiz is something that you and friends must take to get on the same page.
    This article is something you should work through with your parents, that will help work out some of your safety concerns.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-01-2013 at 07:36 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'll be sure to show the article to my parents, and me and my friends will look at the quiz.

    For transportation my parents have pretty much said they will furnish a car for the roadtrip, and that I can take it to college too (thank you to them for that!), and even if they can't we have a 2001 volvo s60 that I drive now and they would let me take. And as cramped as that would be, we could still swing it.

    We're planning on doing cheap hotels, camping, and rest stops.

    Most of our entertainment would be nature oriented. I'm a photographer and me and all my friends enjoy the outdoors, so we would buy a national park pass. Most of the time would be spent outdoors, or as one of my friends put it "bumming around the US" exploring small towns and forests.

    For food I'm sure they're will be some fast food, but I'd like to buy a dutch oven and cook alot of our food when we camp.

    One of my biggest concerns right now is that one of my friends wants another to come along on the roadtrip with us. He's a good guy, and the other three of us like him but our opinion on him coming on the roadtirp sways back and forth pretty often. We agreed on sort of "testing the waters" this summer with some weekend trips to small mountain towns around us, but I ultimately don't think the majority of us will want him to come on the roadtrip. And, on top of that it would be a logistical nightmare to add another person. The car I'm getting will be a small SUV, which would be a very uncomfortable ride for 5 people, hotel rooms would be more complicated, we already have a pretty nice 4 person tent, etc, etc. If he does come on the road trip and theres a split decision on him coming then I'm worried there will be more problems between all of us, and if he doesn't come I'm worried the one friend that really wants him to come will resent us for outvoting him. Like I said, certainly something to worry about.

    Thanks again for the quick response!

    Edit: yes, we will all be 18
    Last edited by greenjackson16; 05-01-2013 at 08:03 PM.

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


    I will say that rest areas are not some place you should consider sleeping. First, rest areas are not safe places to sleep. Second, with 4 people, sleeping inside your car is not a good idea, as no one will get any real rest, and without rest, you can't have any fun.

    Your instincts on adding a 5th person seem right on to me. 5 people in one car is not going to be comfortable, and it adds lots of other issues like hotels, as you've mentioned. I would really focus on the practical when talking about adding him. Realistically, at that point, you need to be talking about a trip with 2 cars - which is going to balloon your expenses.

    BTW, have you actually tried sleeping 4 people in a 4 person tent? Most companies idea of a 4 person is 4 people sleeping shoulder to shoulder with no extra space. I usually recommend getting a tent that is rated for at least an extra person or two, simply so you have a little space.

  5. Default

    Since you have a 4 person tent then you might consider adding a 2-3 person tent. We've found that it is often easier to find suitable space for several small tents on a campsite rather than one, large tent. Smaller tents will allow you to spread out and have some separate space.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Oakville, ON, Canada


    You should also keep in mind that many hotels require you to be 21 years old to rent a room and require a major credit card. If you check in with a debit card they will hold your funds for up to a week or longer which will kill your budget. I agree with your thoughts on the fifth person. The car will be cramped and hotels become a challenge. If you are camping, I agree on the idea of adding a 2-3 person tent. Having been camping with the Boy Scouts, a four man tent really isn't for four plus gear.

  7. Default

    That sounds like a really great trip! I really like the idea of the park pass too. I understand what you're saying about the 5th person. Sounds like it will really complicate things, especially if he's not one of your best friends.

    I'm planning to go from the east coast to the Grand Canyon later this year. I'm still I the early stages of planning, but it's fun to plan anyway. I wish I could do something like you're doing, but I don't have anyone that would do it with me, so my trip will be more like straight driving to the canyon and back.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Solo, but not alone.

    Hi Pantograph3 and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pantograph3 View Post
    I wish I could do something like you're doing, but I don't have anyone that would do it with me, so my trip will be more like straight driving to the canyon and back.
    No need to think that just because you will be doing such a trip solo, that therefore you need to make it a "... straight driving to the canyon and back." trip. There are many ways to make your trip a great adventure. Many roadtrippers, yours truly included, travel solo, some by choice, others through circumstances.

    If you are not already a member, think about joining Couchsurfing. Even if you do not wish to, or need to use the community for accommodation, most members are willing to meet travellers and show them around their local areas. This applies particularly to the more rural States. You may even find that you will enjoy doing this for folk who travel through where you live.

    Another strategy is to join another lone traveller at a table, whenever you stop for a meal, or even a cuppa. A smile and friendly, "May I join you?" will indicate if you are welcome. Don't be upset if you are not. Just don't ask someone deeply engrossed in a book.

    Similarly with the occupant(s) of the vehicle filling up at the pump next to you. An outstretched hand with a friendly "Hi! my name is......" will soon have you sharing travel experiences. The same can be done when lining up at a cash register, waiting to be served.

    So many opportunities.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Jackson - another thing you'll need to realize: it's a big possibility that you could lose one of your fellow travelers between now and the actual trip. Someone doesn't have the required funds, or needs to work during the summer, or things like that. This can jeopardize the rest of you if you are planning to divide the cost of the fuel into 4 and suddenly it's 3 of you - hotel rooms, same issue.

    Also realize that the national park pass does not cover camping fees at those parks. Nor does it guarantee a spot in one of their campgrounds. Some of those parks will require reservations, too, and may require a small deposit or to be completely paid when the reservation is made.


  10. Default

    Thank you everyone for the detailed feedback! Sorry I haven't been able to reply until now; I'm quite busy at the moment with end of the year work and AP exams.

    Funny you guys should say that about the 4 man tent. It's actually a 6 person tent, but we just call it a 4 person one because thats what it fits comfortably. For camping in the National parks I'm interested to learn more about "dispersed camping." I've never been able to find a straight answer on the internet, but the way I understand it is that there are areas in National parks where you are allowed to camp for free? I do not know if these would be safe or applicable for us. Because we are by no means master outdoorsmen or campers. If anyone has information on this, feel free to share.

    I haven't thought about that with Hotel rooms. I have a credit card thats linked to my parents account right now that I might be able to work something out with them so that I can use it, and we pay them back at the end of the summer. I think they would be willing to do that for us. We'll have a computer with us on the road, do you think I could get around the 21 and older restriction but reserving online? or would they check age at the desk when we check in? This certainly poses a problem. I was hoping we could find some cheap, crappy motels to stay at along the way, but again I don't know how safe those would be, and thats a big concern of my dad.

    I certainly understand that theres a possibility of one of us dropping out. I doubt this will happen, but again you never know. We've all discussed this, and if one of us were to have to drop out the roadtrip could still happen, it would just be shorter. Our plan for the roadtrip is drive straight out to the west with little stops, because thats where we want to spend most of our time and then have our midwest stops on the way back to the east. That way if we spend more money than we planned we would (which I'm sure we will) we can cut out the less interesting parts and still make it home without asking our parents for help.

    Thanks again for all the help!


    I hope you get to take your trip. It sounds like a good time, even alone. Sometimes its good to get out by yourself. And like Lifemagician said, you can maybe even meet some new friends. This roadtrip is the first of many world traveling trips I want to make in my lifetime. I plan to most summers in college, and even for a few years after college travel the world. I'm certain at least one or two of them will be solo trips, It would be a good self discovery experience.

Similar Threads

  1. Summer '10 Cross Country Road Trip
    By qotsa1chris in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-15-2011, 09:36 AM
  2. Summer Cross Country Road trip
    By mq330 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-26-2010, 07:52 AM
  3. My summer Cross country road trip. Just need a little help.
    By JasonHald in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-16-2010, 04:15 PM
  4. summer cross country rv trip
    By meatman921 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-06-2006, 02:14 PM
  5. Summer cross-country trip with my 2 best friends...
    By Aboslet1 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-07-2006, 09:44 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name