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  1. Default First road trip - Maryland to Texas, will be a single person trip

    Hello fellow road trip america members

    I am currently planning a summer road trip from Maryland to Texas (Dallas)

    I will be traveling alone with my car (Kia Soul, small station wagon) and i planned time frame to be around 10~11 days

    I am estimating 4000 miles total, so i am estimating fuel cost to be around 500 dollars (my car has EPA estimation of 30 highway)

    Keep that in mind that my budget is around 1000~1500 dollar



    Unfortunately, i do not have time to go west so i planned to take southern route when i go to texas (virginia - north carolina - georgia - florida -alabama ...). I did some research and found out many good places are on the west cost, but i am pretty sure there are good places to visit in those areas.

    Can anyone recommend good & memorable locations from those states? I have limited time window and want to make most out of it.

    (Virginia, Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee..)


    I guess i will take cooler and portable burner along the journey. Anything else important that i will need?

    How about lodging? Many people recommended buying annual pass for national park (80 dollar) and that does not cover for camping

    Do i need to set up tend in order to camp, or can i just park the car and sleep inside? I have never been to national park before, so i am very unfamiliar with this kind of thing. It will be very helpful if you guys can give me some insights.

    As far as sleeping in the car, i found out i should not be sleeping in rest stop and private properties. For those of who slept in the car during your road trip, what places do you recommend?

    Please share your tips and recommended places to me, it will be really appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A roadtrip is great no matter where you go, and while you might not find some of the huge natural landmarks of the west, there is no shortage of things you'll be able to do in the southeast.

    I suspect that a National Parks pass will not be worth your money. Most of the National Parks in the southeast are either free or relatively low cost, and I'd guess you wouldn't be visiting enough of them to pay for itself. Check out the fees for each park you're planning to visit to be sure.

    Of course, National Parks are not the only places to camp. There are also state parks, and also many times county/town parks where camping will be allowed. There are also some private campgrounds that are reasonably priced.

    If you're paying for a campsite, you can camp anywhere you want on the site, including in your car. However, I think you'll find a tent is a lot more comfortable. Even if you do sleep in your car, at least in a paid campsite you can get out and move around. There are places you can sleep in your car for free with permission, like truck stops and some walmarts, however you can't appear to be camping and pull out your portable stove and start cooking a meal, for example.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A roadtrip is great no matter where you go, and while you might not find some of the huge natural landmarks of the west, there is no shortage of things you'll be able to do in the southeast.

    I suspect that a National Parks pass will not be worth your money. Most of the National Parks in the southeast are either free or relatively low cost, and I'd guess you wouldn't be visiting enough of them to pay for itself. Check out the fees for each park you're planning to visit to be sure.

    Of course, National Parks are not the only places to camp. There are also state parks, and also many times county/town parks where camping will be allowed. There are also some private campgrounds that are reasonably priced.

    If you're paying for a campsite, you can camp anywhere you want on the site, including in your car. However, I think you'll find a tent is a lot more comfortable. Even if you do sleep in your car, at least in a paid campsite you can get out and move around. There are places you can sleep in your car for free with permission, like truck stops and some walmarts, however you can't appear to be camping and pull out your portable stove and start cooking a meal, for example.

    Thanks for your reply , i guess i will have to look for entrance fees before i buy the annual pass

    As i do not own tent right now, i am not sure buying a tent is a worthy investment, so i will think about that

    I heard things about camping at Wal-Mart - look for RVs and if you dont see any you should ask manager inside regarding this issue

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    You can get a small tent for about $30. The comfort of having someplace to go at the end of the day, that isn't a stuffy car, that you've already been sitting in for hours at a time, will pay for itself 100 times over in comfort and quality of sleep, in my book.

    Its worth noting especially because you'll be traveling in the south in the summer that cars can get quite uncomfortable when parked and without having the car's fans running. They just aren't designed for much air movement, and sleeping with the windows open brings up its own set of issues with comfort (ie bugs) and safety.

    You should always check with a business, including walmart to make sure it is legal to park overnight. If you see other RVs parked there, its a good sign, but you shouldn't assume that they are following the rules.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    A cooler and a stove, along with the items needed to make a stove or burner useful, is a great way to save money. Grocery stores can yield some very easy-to-cook items that are very inexpensive. Look at a thrift store or at yard sales for a fry pan and a sauce pan, or find them at a local place on sale. That's all you really need to make most things. Pick up a plate, fork-knife-spoon, and maybe a bowl if you like your morning cereal. If you're a coffee person, bring a commuter mug and some of those coffee bags (they come in caffeinated and decaf, and we find "they're not too bad".) It saves the $1.50 you'd pay at a truck stop or 7-11 every morning, or saves more than that from your local Starbucks. Don't forget to throw a few trash bags in the car -- you'll appreciate having them!

    You can pick up a tent for $30-50 at WalMart or Target that will make sleeping along the way a lot more comfortable than the inside of a car. Someone already brought up the discomfort of sleeping in the same vehicle you have spent the day in. It's nice to be able to stretch out, take a little hike, have a bathroom available that you don't feel guilty about using, and a place to set up your stove and cooler.

    Some Wal-Marts and Targets will allow overnight parking, but unless there are extenuating circumstances, it doesn't mean you can set up the cooler and the stove outside. Truck stops, same deal -- might be okay to sleep in your car, but don't set up gear outside. If you DO stay outside one of these establishments, do some business there -- get fuel (truck stop), or buy something. It will help you feel less guilty, too, about using their facilities. BTW, not all Wal-Marts are open 24 hours, which makes a bathroom run in the middle of the night VERY uncomfortable.

    Other campsites that haven't been mentioned are national forest campgrounds. They're usually less expensive than national park CG's and sometimes cheaper than state park CG's. Some city and county parks have cheap campgrounds too.

    Just remember that being able to set up a tent wherever you want isn't easily done. Some national forests and Bureau of Land Management areas have designated rules about disbursed camping. National Forests usually have those areas along trails -- walk in, walk out. BLM has some drive-in areas, but those are difficult to find.


    Donna

  6. Default

    Our family never did "fast food" but now grocery stores have improved so much that we do purchase prepared food (salads, soups, sandwiches, chicken, fish, ribs) from grocery stores. It is easier than hauling all of the cooking implements on a trip for a few meals. Even if you don't camp it is nice to have an ice chest or cooler for beverages and snacks.

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