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  1. Default Montreal to Los angeles: summer 2014

    Dear fellow road trippers,
    my friends and I (there are four of us) are planning to drive from montreal to Los angeles in the summer of 2014. we have done short road trips before (from Montreal to New york) but besides that we are newbies. I am the oldest one them and by the time we start our road trip (beginning of june most likely) i will be 23. we already have a car so we do not have to worry about renting one. two of us have our drivers licence so we can take turns at the wheel. but we have a few questions so here it goes:
    -what is a realistic estimate time for this trip? (to drive from montreal to LA including rest stops and fuel and food stops)
    -where should we stop to get nights rest?
    -where would be the cheapest places to go to stay at night and do we need to book in advance?
    -how much would the cost be per person? (including fuel costs, hotel/motel/hostel on our way, food. i should mention that we already have my uncles place to stay at in Los Angeles so we don't have to pay for hotel there.)
    -Any cities that we must go to on our way?
    -What are some items that we need to take with us on this trip?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some basics to help plan with.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums.

    Realistically you are looking at 5 over night stops to complete the journey, [5.5 days] and a minimum of 4 nights/5 days. For a multi day road trip 550 miles a day is fairly comfortable, but only leaves time for the basics and no major sight seeing.

    You can find budget Motels close to Interstate, probably from $45 per night, but I would allow for $70 average to be safe with 4 in the room. With 4 of you, sharing a Motel room will most likely be cheaper than using Hostels where they charge per person and not per room. There should be no need to book in advance but you could check out the RTA reservations to the right of the page if you want to book in advance and/or get an idea of cost.

    You need to know what gas return you get from your car before you can calculate fuel costs, how many miles you will do total and then I would average it out at $4 per gallon.

    There are City's and natural enviroments to visit all along each route choice, but you need to sit down as a group and decide what is a 'must see' for your combined tastes and then see what fits with the time you are going to allow for the journey.

    You should certainly take paper maps even if you have a GPS. The GPS is good as a back up tool and to find street address's but good old fashion paper maps are essential in making sure you are headed where you want and to understand what's around you. Make sure your vehicle is serviced, checked over and in good shape before starting out and have an emergency fund for any unexpected repairs. Joining the AAA can help give you peace of mind and assistance if you do breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

    Check out the RTA site for ideas and inspiration and once you have worked out a route by getting some dots on the map [remember there are many options] and worked on your time scale, we can offer suggestions and 'tweaks' to fine tune it if needed.

    Enjoy the Planning.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You left out one very important detail of your plan: What's the goal of your trip? Are you just trying to make this a speed run where you get to LA as quickly as possible, or is this a trip where you actually want to stop and explore some of the many things that are along the way? How much time do you actually have available, and what kinds of things are you interested in? Will everyone be over 21?

    The Shortest/Fastest way would basically route you through Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas. Route wise that would basically be ON-401, I-94, I-80, I-76, I-70, to I-15. There are plenty of variations on that, including bypassing Detroit by going through Sarnia and Lansing, or taking a more southern route through St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque going down but that's the basic, shortest route.

    Anyway you look at it, you've got a trip that's going to be nearly 3000 miles. That's 5 full days of driving, about 10 hours a day on the road, and the fastest you should attempt such a trip, even with multiple drivers. If you follow the route I originally suggested, that would put your overnight stops around Ann Arbor (or Flint) Michigan, the western suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, Fort Morgan Colorado, and Richfield, Utah. All of those places should have plenty of lower cost hotels to pick from, and while you don't really need to make a reservation in any of those places, it wouldn't be a bad idea - as you could lock in a best price early on, and you won't have to waste the time you do have looking for places to stay.

    The costs are going to depend completely on how you travel, what you'll be driving, what you plan to do beyond just driving (food, entertainment, etc), and how long you will be on the road.

    The "must see" cities are the cities and you and your friends want to visit. Of course, there's a whole lot more to see out there than just cities too....

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