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  1. Default High School graduation road trip!

    me and my 3 best friends want to plan a road trip from Kansas to California. We are not sure where to start planning or how much money we need or anything! We want to see everything from big cities to national parks! Also any tips on how to best convince our parents? I think if we present them with sound research and plans they will be more willing to say yes. Please help! we want to end our senior year with a bang especially since we are all going to different colleges and you can never be too sure where life is taking you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Hurdles

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    This is not meant to discourage you from wanting to take a RoadTrip, but let's start by just enumerating the obstacles in your way, starting with the most difficult to overcome.

    First, there is your age. Since you say that you are planning this trip as a high school graduation celebration, I have to assume that one or more of you is 17. If any of you is 17, then you cannot legally get a motel room or stay in one rented by a non-relative. You cannot sign for medical care should it be needed and no doctor or emergency room will give you any treatment other than the absolute minimum required to sustain life until your parents arrive on scene.

    Second there is the cost. At the absolute minimum you're looking at about $500 for gas, $600 for motel rooms ($400 if you camp every night instead), $2000 for food (if you prepare most of your meals yourselves and avoid restaurants like the plague), $300 for national and state park admissions and similar incidentals. On top of that roughly $3500 you'll need to budget money for higher cost stops like amusement parks, zoos and museums. Do you have that money in hand now?

    Third, the vehicle. Renting a car at your age will be prohibitively expensive. Your only choice is to use your own (or your parents') car. Do you have a car available that can do 3000+ miles, that gets decent gas mileage, that won't run the risk of breaking down on you, that will fit all of you and all your gear comfortably? If you do, how will the non-owners of the vehicle reimburse the owner for the wear and tear that will be done to the car, the miles put on it, the oil change(s) needed, the insurance costs? There's a lot more to driving than just putting gas in the tank. Will the owner even let all of you drive the car. Are you all covered under his/her insurance?

    Fourth, and notice how far down the list we are already, a route and itinerary. Can you get to your destination and back in the time you have available without driving dangerously long distances on too little sleep? A good rule of thumb is a maximum of 550 miles a day. Do not plan on sleeping in a moving car, do not think that you can drive farther faster because you have multiple drivers, actually the opposite is true - more drivers mean that each and every stop will take longer. Do not believe the totally unrealistic driving time estimates you will get from software-based maps that assume you will always be able to drive at or above the speed limit, will never need to stop for gas, will never need to use a bathroom, will never get hungry, will never encounter traffic, construction or even a slow RV in the passing lane.

    Fifth and finally, convincing your parents. They will have all of the concerns I have just listed for you and they can smell BS coming a mile off. If you have solid answers and a well thought out, mature plan, they'll listen. If you come at them with half-baked ideas, shortcuts, and vague promises to be good, they'll still listen, but expect "No" for an answer. Remember, you've been demonstrating to them your ability to handle situations just like this for the last 17 years or so. If you haven't convinced them already, you have little hope with a few last minute words and assurances.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-19-2013 at 05:24 PM.

  3. Default


    This issue came up recently on the forum. Read it here and you'll see that having a good, realistic plan is an essential first step. Many people are limited by the amount of time and/or money before they even consider distance or desirable places to visit.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-19-2013 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Added link

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