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  1. Default Road Trip from San Antonio to California 8/8 -8/17

    Hello just register to RTA found the site by mistake I am lost.. hubby said I'll get the mini van rented book us a road trip. As if I recall when I traveled to California when i was in middle school my parents drove and i slept and that trip was from Del Rio, Tx to California. Our children F 16yr, M 15yr and M 12yr old are excited about the road trip our vacation norm has been going to South Padre or Corpus. We want to do something different. I ask for your suggestions, I think Area 51 would be cool to see, a day in vegas and sight seeing grand canyon, and universal studios even a beautiful beach…. Will be taking I10 just don't know what's on our way to stop and visit Hubby feels that we could save of hotels and sleep in the mini van any parks that we could pull in and stay and sleep at thats safe. There will be 3 drivers on this road trip our daughter is excited she has her permit!! Well I hope to hear from anyone that can make my planning a bit easier and fun.

    Overwhelmed Planner!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA! How exciting, to plan a road trip even at such a "last minute"!

    While I-10 would be a great way to travel in one direction, you could also do a little more of a loop and go a slightly different way on the way back. Since you mentioned "California" but then got a little more specific and said "Universal Studios", I'm going to assume you are going to LA. Here's one thought -- go out on I-10. You could drive through the Saguaro National Monument near Tucson, stop around Phoenix and see the Heard Museum, then Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs, along the way to California. On the way back home, head back out I-15 to I-40, go up to Las Vegas if you like, then down to the Grand Canyon, stop at Petrified Forest National Park and then head south on I-25 at Albuquerque to get back to I-10 and to Del Rio. That's just one of a hundred ideas, though.

    As far as sleeping 5 in the won't find that very comfortable at all. They just aren't built for sleeping adult sized bodies in them! Besides, the drivers need a good nights' sleep, which wouldn't happen in the heat. Best off getting a cheap motel room (or two) -- someone will be along to tell you of websites that tell you about sleeping a family of 5 in a hotel room. The only other alternative that would be "cheap" would be camping along the way. Definitely do-able, IF you're so minded. You're better off, though, trying to save on your food rather than your place to rest. That can be done by eating from a cooler and at the hotel continental breakfasts, whenever possible, and bringing your own drinks (purchased cheaper at the grocery stores, and they can be replenished very easily).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Take a Deep Breath...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Planning a long RoadTrip can indeed seem overwhelming when viewed in its entirety. There seems to be so much to plan and so many conflicting objectives. But taken one step at a time, things seem to have a way of falling into place, with each large decision made making each of the subsequent decisions easier. So lets start with the basics.

    You don't list the major constraint on any RoadTrip that will define the drive: Destination. Without that we can't give you much more than generalized help, but that we'll try to do. 'California' is simply too be a target to be useful in giving advice. However, anywhere in 'California' will require more than a week for a round-trip journey. At least three days there and at least three days back, plus time spent at major attractions on the road and in your destination area. So you'll probably need a minimum of two weeks to make this trip work. Ten days is probably pushing it too much. You mention I-10 for the bulk of your drive which would indicate southern California (San Diego to Los Angeles roughly) as a probable destination, but then list Area 51 as an en route stopping point which would indicate a more central to northern California departure point for the trip back. While noting that you simply can't get to anywhere near Area 51 without being arrested (at best) or shot (at worst) I'll assume that what you're looking at is basically a 'loop' trip where you take a southerly (I-10) route in one direction and a more northerly (I-40 or even farther north) in the other.

    OK - let's assume then that you have two weeks and are going to make a loop. What's next? That's simple - what's on the way? This is where every member of the family should contribute ideas. Get out a good paper map of the southwestern US (An atlas works best, and they're relatively cheap at big box stores such as Costco or Walmart.) Mark out your home (San Antonio) and your destination (wherever that might be) and start looking at what's in between. For example, some places you might want to consider along I-10 would include (working westward from San Antonio) the Caverns of Sonora, Fort Lancaster
    state Historic Park, Balmorhea State Park, Mesilla Village in Las Cruces, Shakespeare Ghost Town, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Chiricahua National Monument, Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns, Saguaro National Park, Pima Air and Space Museum, Casa Grande National Monument, Joshua Tree National Park, and others. On a return trip following I-40 more or less there's Death Valley National Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, and then - depending on how you make the final run to San Antonio - Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns or the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo and the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock. Not all of those will appeal to everyone and you won't have time for all of them at any rate. The point is that it's up to you and your crew to pick those sites that you want to see. That's the beauty and freedom of a RoadTrip.

    As for where to stay, let's address boondocking first. I will strongly recommend that you NOT consider sleeping in your van by the side of the road as an option. First of all it will be illegal in most places, and just as importantly it will be impossible for any of you to get a decent night's sleep packed five to a car. It simply won't work. And even if it would, that much togetherness 24/7 on a continuing basis will soon have you all on each others' nerves. If you take camping equipment (minimum - two separate tents) then you can probably do very well staying at state parks, in national forests, and on BLM lands. But even then you will need to spend every second or third night in a motel if for nothing else than shower facilities. When you do, you will need to plan on two rooms as most motels have a four-to-a-room maximum. Again, as with having two tents when camping, this will also give you a chance to break yourselves up in different groupings each night so that you all get a break from everyone else, at least occasionally.

    Finally, I wouldn't count on your 16 year old daughter for much help in the driving. I'd limit her to rural Interstate driving for the most part. And you'll need to be sure that her Texas permit is valid in any of the other states you drive in. A (learners?) permit is not the same as a drivers license after all. So, good luck planning, and once you have made some of the above decisions, we can be of a lot more help.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Making a mistake and getting lost is part of every road trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by earreolaramirez View Post
    Hello just register to RTA found the site by mistake I am lost.
    Look what a gem you found with the responses so far. That's what getting lost often does, it lands you on somewhere unexpected, something you did not even know existed, and what a surprise.

    If / When you should get lost on a road trip don't panic, look for that same unexpected, surprise. Surfing the net is a bit like a roadtrip, you turn here, you turn there, and eventually, there you are, on your way having seen things you weren't even looking for.

    Have a safe trip


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