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  1. Default Summer 2014 East to West Coast and back

    4 of us are headed to California from New Jersey. We have over 15 Stops total headed west on the northern end then going back down the souther side. We have started planning and putting money together, any tips would greatly be appreciated!

    Thank! Caliwali

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Who and how long?

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip forum.

    How long will you have for this trip, and when will you be taking it. Just what are your interests, and what dots do you already have on the map This information will enable folk her to give relevant advice.

    "4 of us" indicates to me that you could be friends. If that is the case, you may, this early in the process, benefit from each taking this valuable quiz.


  3. Default

    We are two couples all 18 years of age and i am 19.We have almost a full month to do the trip. So far we leave from NY to Niagara falls,
    mount rushmore SD
    then yellowstone,
    Salt lake city,
    Lake tahoe,
    San Francisco then down and along the coast on the beaches.
    Las Vegas

    then we like to take the southern route home but need some pointers, thanks

    We will be staying in tents at KOA and also a few hotels.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Car and camping.

    What sort of tips are you looking for ? What are your interests. First of all if you want to camp I would suggest looking at National and State park campgrounds, forestry commision and then private campgrounds before KOA. Not that there is anything wrong with KOA that I know of, the others will offer better value, better surroundings in most cases and an individual feel.

    Have you got your own transport ? Renting a car under 21 years of age is extremely tough, it's rare that you can and then it usually comes with limitations and extremely high costs.

    I would suggest you start by getting a big map of the USA and research your options, you will soon discover many routes and attractions you hadn't thought or heard of. You can search the forums and the trip planning pages in the tool bars above to get some ideas, but like I say it's a case of what interests you as a group. If you would like some nature then from Vegas the Grand canyon is a natural choice then it would depend on how far south you want to go, or whether you venture into some of the natural beauty of Utah and Colorado etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I would strongly recommend you go through the quiz that Lifey linked to, with all your friend. While I'm sure you are all good friend right now, it really can't be underestimated how stressful it can be to essentially live inside a tin can with 4 people over the course of a month.

    How much experience do you have camping and traveling, especially together. As Dave mentioned, KOA is hardly the only option for camping, and if you're looking to tent camp to save money, they often aren't a good choice as they tend to be rather expensive. I would strongly recommend you all go out together for at least a weekend trip before heading across the country, so you can get a feel for what you need to camp comfortably, and to get a feel for each others travel styles.

    Of course, the other big thing for first time travelers, especially if you aren't used to living on your own, is money. Traveling often costs far more than people think. What do you have for a budget? What are you doing for an emergency fund? And what will you do if your group decides that a week or two into the trip that you really would just prefer to go home. These are all things you need to think about now to ensure you have a great trip later.

  6. #6


    I did a similar trip last year from Jersey. I would highly recommend a drive on the Bear Tooth Highway. You can catch it by heading south from Billings MT through Red Lodge MT. Beyond the Bear Tooth Pass is Cooke City, MT. A great place to stay over and enter Yellowstone from.

    There is so much to do at Tahoe, but can be pricey. The West and North side of Lake Tahoe are less commercialized and nicer in my opinion. There is also great hiking in the Tahoe area. Definitely worth a couple days.

    On the return trip, Southern Utah is spectacular.

    Great advice above.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Jumping into the conversation, regarding KOA's: they really aren't designed for tent-camping. Last I knew, an individual franchisee is required to have a certain percentage of tent spots, but they may not be the most ideal. Some KOA's are located right next to a freeway, which is hardly conducive to a good night's sleep when you're in a tent with only a piece of nylon fabric between you and the world. We've seen KOA's where the main tent spots were either right next to the bathroom (convenient for a middle of the night run, but also lots of people coming and going) or right next to the pool (depending on its hours and the hours you want to sleep, that could be good or not so good). The most aggravating thing of all, when you're in a tent, is when there's a big sodium or other variety of lamp, right above your tent spot! Convenient if you're trying to cook, but NOT when you want to sleep! They're usually on at dusk and off at dawn!

    When we tent-camped, we used national forest and national park campgrounds, with an occasional state park campground. Bear in mind that California State Parks are, for just a tent.

    I echo the sentiments about taking the compatibility tests, ironing out possible problems before you even get into the car, and definitely, how to deal with the money situation. Who pays for the fuel? Who pays for the camping fee each night? (If using 2 sites, that would not be an issue.) How do you decide where to eat?

    Definitely, plan some "alone" time -- hikes in different directions, separate motel rooms on the nights you take a motel, meals in different places, etc. (When traveling with a large group, I learned to find a stop that included several different places to eat, to choose between. I also learned that I had to give a "reconvene time" so that we wouldn't spend 2 hours on a stop that needed to be an hour at most. But decide that between the 4 of you.)


  8. Default

    Thanks for the info guys! We are two couples and young i know.. but we have started planning and the we site roadtrippers works wonders and we traveling in a Mazda Tribute. The four of us have known each other for a while and often thought that we as a group are the best for aroadtrip. and we have gone on small tips together. I will have to look at other campsites and see how they will fit into our schedule. Money doesn't seem to be that much of a deal i believe our Per-person budget is just under $3,000 a piece. we have started planning so we can make sure we do not need much more than that. Is our budget ver manageable?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Should be OK.

    With your own vehicle I would say your budget is OK for a month on the road as you will be sharing fuel and camping costs which helps. Of course you will need to keep an 'emergency fund' in case you have any mechanical problems and it would be worth joining a motoring organisation such as the AAA for roadside assistance and peace of mind. Of course you can get through a small fortune [and quickly] if you want to party every night and pay to visit major attractions every day in a City, but you can fit your trip to your budget. You will also need to make sure your vehicle is fully serviced and checked over before setting out on such a trip. As long as you have enough spare money to get you home you will be fine, even if that means cutting the trip short by a few days.

    It sounds as though you are in for a great adventure !

  10. Default

    Thanks again!! We do have the highest available AAA on order and we plan to get all hoses belts replaced and a tune up done. along with breaks and new tires. We have started poutting spending limits on each stop and we are trying to camp out as much as possible as camping is $10 per person each night rather than $30 each night per person at a hotel.

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