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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Northridge, California, United States

    Default Summer Road Trip with my brother (graduation trip) Southern California to Toronto.

    My Brother and I are planning a road trip after we both graduate. He in June, and I in May.
    We live in Los Angeles, CA and plan on hopefully going to Toronto, Canada where my uncle lives.
    We are somewhat on a budget. I think we will most definitely be driving a rental car. As for staying in a motel or hotel, we might choose to sleep in the car, is that advisable?
    How much money should be invested for food? gas? This would be our first trip together. Hoping for some good sibling bonding... any ideas, suggestions? I plan on visiting oregon state for sure, Washington state.. see the sites.. etc.. food .. maybe if there's a special food place in each state.. I am right now saving up money as we speak for the trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Conflicting Goals

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The things that you have laid out, that you hope this trip accomplishes and the framework within which you'll be making it, are almost at diametrically opposed cross purposes. You say you'll be on a budget but then say that you'll be using a rental car and going to Toronto by way of Oregon and Washington. A rental car for two (presumably) under-25 drivers will cost around $75/day over and above what you're finding as quotes on typical search sites due to the additional driver and under age driver fees. And going by way of Washington state, even just cutting off a corner, adds about 30% more miles to the one-way driving distance. That's a lot of miles and a lot of gas needed to drive them.

    And the idea that you can somehow offset those additional costs by skipping a good night's sleep is counterproductive in the worst way. There is simply no way to get the rest you need while cramped in a sitting position in an unheated car parked - where, exactly? It is illegal to park overnight in most rest areas, and certainly at random spots by the side of the road. Truck stops which will allow this are well lit and noisy, and campgrounds can often cost nearly as much as a low-cost motel room. Besides which, spending all day every day, and all night every night, in the company of your brother is not a way to bond. It's a guaranteed way to get on each other's nerves in very short order.

    Realistically, if you only have to pay for your gas, food and lodging to get to Toronto and back by the most efficient route possible, you are going to need in the vicinity of $2,000 as a minimum for the two of you. And that's assuming that you have a car of your own in good shape and with a fully up-to-date insurance policy, license and registration.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    When you say you are graduating, are you talking about high school or college? If it is high school and/or you are under 21 years old, it will likely be impossible to find a rental car for this trip. Even if you are 21, but under 25, you typically will be looking at a fee of $20-25 per day. Also, you will have to make sure that you can take the car into Canada, as not all rental companies will allow it.

    Sleeping in a car is not advisable for a trip like this, because 2 people simply can't spread out enough to get the kind of good rest needed for a trip like this. Rest is very important - as is personal space - and if you both don't have it, you will likely be getting on each others nerves far more than you would be bonding. Camping could be an idea to keep down costs, while still getting a good night of sleep.

    Your costs are very hard to estimate at this point. Food could be as little as $10-20 a day, per person if you do most of your own cooking, but you'll be looking at at least $20-30+ a day if you're planning to mostly eat at restaurants. Gas depends on what you drive, and what you end up doing for a route. LA to Toronto is 2500 miles, but going via Washington State makes it nearly a 4000 mile trip. That would cost roughly $800-1000 in gas, one way, assuming an average car. Cheap motels will usually be about $50 a day, campsites can usually be found for $15-25. Also keep in mind that the cost of everything will be quite a bit higher in Canada, so if you cross the border early in your trip, you'll have to factor that in too.

    And of course, you will need passports for any trip into Canada.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not advisable.

    Unless your vehicle is set up for it, I would echo the comments above. There is absolutely no way you can get a good night's sleep and be rested and fit to drive the following day. That is if you are not roused by the authorities, and told to move on. Not only is it illegal in most States, but rest areas are probably the most dangerous places to sleep. The only exceptions would be where there is night time security provided.

    But it would still not be a good night's sleep.


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