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  1. Default Three month roadie

    My boyfriend and I are planning a three month road trip starting in California down through Arizona then across the southern states and down to florida then back up the east coast finishing in New York.
    We are planning on booking a juicy caravan for the three month and will maybe stay in a hotel once a week.
    Are there many places to park up a caravan for the night? many camps? How much do the caravan parks cost generally? Is it illegal to say, park up for the night by the beach?

    How much do you estimate per day per person?

    Any great recommendations?

    Cheers from New Zealand

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Safe budget camping.

    Hi, and welcome to the great American Roadtrip Forum.

    In most of the country it is illegal to just pull up anywhere, such as by the beach (and rest areas along the interstates), to camp the night. Where it is not illegal, it would be most unwise to do so. It is usually regarded as the least safe area to spend the night. The only exceptions would be where there is night time security.

    Camping grounds abound, from free (not that easy to find) to $50 or more, depending on your requirements. Often the least crowded (and cheapest) campgrounds are those in State Parks and State or National Forests. These can be from well developed campgrounds to those with primitive facilities.

    The other way to go, especially when you are travelling friom one place to another, is to park overnight at truck stops or in some large store car park - with permission. However, in those cases you will just be 'parking' and not 'camping'. Truck stops, especially the larger ones, have (fast food) restaurants, showers and bathrooms available. Being 24 hr operations, they have people coming and going all night, are well lit and often have private security.

    I note that Jucy Campervans are based in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Are you sure you would be allowed to take one much further afield and drop it in New York? Have you checked out Escape Campervans? We have heard good reports about them, and they cover the whole country.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Lifey is right on when she speaks of where it's legal and illegal to park overnight in the US. Even a number of the large store parking lots (car parks) have signs that will say "no overnight camping", usually because of a local ordinance, or because they've had abusers in the past who roll out the chairs and the grill. If you do park overnight in a truck stop or large store lot, it's best to do some business there -- buy fuel, a meal, a shower (truck stop), etc.

    Hotels can run anything from $45-50/night up to well over $300. If you are trying to find something budget, you can go several ways. There's a hotel finder on this website, or you can pick up coupon books at state visitor centers, truck stops and rest areas along your route. These are good for drop-ins. The bad news is that often, they are not good on Friday or Saturday nights, or if you get in too late to a popular motel, "we don't have any more of those rooms available."

    Food -- well, everyone eats differently and carries different things with them. Eating at restaurants will depend on whether you are trying to survive on fast food all the time (not recommended), you love the upscale, or you are just trying to get some food in you at a reasonable rate. I usually estimate $10/person for breakfast, $10/person for lunch, and $20/person for dinner, when I'm budgeting. If you plan to do a little cooking on the road, keep snacks and lunch items in the van, you can keep the restaurant expenses down quite a bit. My hubby and I always carry juices, sodas (for him), water (for me) and snacks in a small cooler, which saves a bunch of money on these. We pick these up either at a big box store (Target or Wal-Mart) or grocery stores as we travel.

    Fuel -- you'll want to find out what kind of mileage either the Jucy Rentals or Escape Campervans get. Then figure out how many miles you'll put on the van, add 25-30% for "tourist miles" (what you'll use when touring national parks or driving to/from sightseeing to the campground), and use $4/gallon for your fuel price. Fuel will be higher in California, Nevada, Texas and Florida than it will be in other states. Mississippi is also a good place to fuel up, as it seems less expensive there too. Use (or its smart phone app) to find the less expensive stations along your route.


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