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  1. #1

    Default roadtrip from mass to yellowstone ( Very early planning stages)

    My boyfriend and I are planning to drive from Massachusetts to Yellowstone during a summer in about 2 years. This is in the very beginning stages so I would love to hear any advice or input about what is on the way there and where to stop.

    Also, what would you rather do: drive one way and fly back or drive there and drive back?

    Thanks very much for helping us out! We have done a road trip before but not one nearly this long.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    The first thing you need to do is determine how much time you have to do this trip. Just to drive from MA to Yellowstone via Interstates without doing any sightseeing or diversions will take you 4 days each way. To effectively see Yellowstone, you need a minimum of 3 days.

    Of course, you can cut 3 days off this by flying one way, but you will have the airfare and car rental expenses, plus there can be a hefty surcharge to rent a car in one location and drop it off in another. There will also be daily surcharges to rent and drive the car if either or both of you are under 25. The most economical way to do it is drive your own car both ways.

    Assuming you will have enough time to make this an enjoyable trip, you should start your planning by getting a good road atlas and/or set of paper maps (if you are a member of AAA, you can visit your local office and get free state maps) and study them to see what is in between. If anything catches your interest, you can research these places and attractions. Be careful when using online mapping programs for planning, their time estimates are generally unrealistic - they don't account for any stops or delays. As a hard and fast rule, when traveling on Interstate highways just to get from point to point with no sightseeing or diversions, you should not plan on more than 600 miles a day. This will take you close to 12 hours with normal food, fuel, rest, and bathroom stops. I would only drive during daylight hours, you will miss a lot of scenery after dark. If driving both ways, I'd look at taking different routes to see different things.

    The next thing you need to do is plan a budget. For the 2 of you, I'd plan on at least $250 a day to cover food, fuel, lodging, and incidentals.

    Only you can develop a framework for this trip, when you have that, we would be more than happy to help you with the details.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Doing the Math

    Actually, I'm not sure that it would be cheaper to drive. Generally, the more people that are traveling together and the closer the destination is to home, the more cost efficient driving is. Conversely, fewer people and a more distant destination argue for flying. In your case, I make it roughly $1,800 in expenses (food, gas, lodging, tolls - all lowballed) to drive from Boston to Yellowstone and back. I also assumed no stops along the way which would tend to drive up costs as the more stops, the more days you'll be on the road, driving up at least food and lodging expenses.

    By comparison, in august of this year, you could fly round-trip from Boston to Salt Lake City for about $600 apiece. Say two weeks of a rental car at $250/wk and a couple of days expenses to drive from Salt Lake to Yellowstone and back, and you're looking at a grand total of $2,000 in 'travel' expenses. But then you get to spend so many more days at Yellowstone for the slightly higher cost.

    So what you'll have to decide over the next couple of years is how much time you can devote to the trip and what kind of vacation you want. If time is short and the idea of simply driving day after day doesn't appeal, by all means fly/drive. But if you can devote at least three weeks to the trip and want to explore all the land in between. Then just drive your own car.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Yes, a fly/drive loop trip like that is an excellent option, as long as there aren't things you want to see and do in between home and the fly-in city.

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