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  1. #1

    Default First Road Trip: Southern California to Washington State

    Give it to me straight, is this possible?
    Overview:
    • Distance: Around 4000 miles
    • Budget: $3000-$5000
    • Accommodations: Camping
    • Food: Ice Chest and Grocery Stores
    • Car: 2014 Chevy Sonic, about 30 mpg
    • Number of Road trippers: 2
    • Time Frame: Whole month of April
    Details:
    • Trip will be starting in southern californa, following up the pacific coast highway to Anacortes, WA. Then going from Anacortes,WA to Glacier National Park in Montana. Then from Montana back to Southern California.
    • I will have close to $5000 saved, but I would like to spend less than that if possible.
    • The plan is to camp up the California coast, staying at KOA’s, then once we hit Oregon mix camping with motels or AirBnb up to Anacortes, WA, where we will be staying at a house for free. Then more camping and motels all the way to southern California.

    This is my first time planning a road trip, any advice would be helpful. Is it doable, or do we need to be more realistic?

    Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Budget -- be sure that you are counting on $25-45 PER NIGHT for camping. Some nights will cost you less, but there will be times when you may not find an open campground. Also, KOA's are not cheap - even for tenting. For the nights when you must find a motel, budget $50-75.

    There's a fuel cost calculator to the right of this message, you can use that to figure out your gas costs. Bear in mind that you need to add 20% to the miles you THINK you will use, and that you base your cost for fuel on CA prices -- most of the time you will pay less, but in touristy areas, you will pay that. And perhaps more.

    Glacier NP is iffy at best. It's open year-round, but the Going to the Sun Highway is NOT open over Logan Pass all year and usually doesn't open until late May/early June. Grocery stores, motels, etc in the towns outside of the park will be open. Campgrounds might not be.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You might also want to reverse the direction of your trip, doing the coast southbound. This will keep the scenic pullouts on your side of the road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Reverse

    Yes, definitely take the coastal route south bound. It will make the trip so much more enjoyable. The rest of the trip looks neat.

    Enjoy

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I think your budget is a healthy number and that really shouldn't be a problem, based on your plan to keep things about as cheap as reasonably possible. A month will be a very nice amount of time for this trip.

    The only thing I'd be concerned about really, is the timing of the trip. April can be a bit of a tricky month, especially for camping. April is still basically a winter month in many high-elevation areas. Much of Glacier NP will be closed, and depending upon exactly where you're planning to go between Montana and SoCal, there could be other spots that are not available at that time of year. Even in places that are open, camping could be a little tricky, as it would not be uncommon at all for many of these areas to see overnight temperatures below freezing. That's not something that needs to keep you from moving forward with this plan, but if camping is going to be a big part of your plans, then I'd make sure you have solid cold weather gear. Speaking from experience, there are few things more miserable than camping when you're so cold that you can't sleep!

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I think your budget is a healthy number and that really shouldn't be a problem, based on your plan to keep things about as cheap as reasonably possible. A month will be a very nice amount of time for this trip.

    The only thing I'd be concerned about really, is the timing of the trip. April can be a bit of a tricky month, especially for camping. April is still basically a winter month in many high-elevation areas. Much of Glacier NP will be closed, and depending upon exactly where you're planning to go between Montana and SoCal, there could be other spots that are not available at that time of year. Even in places that are open, camping could be a little tricky, as it would not be uncommon at all for many of these areas to see overnight temperatures below freezing. That's not something that needs to keep you from moving forward with this plan, but if camping is going to be a big part of your plans, then I'd make sure you have solid cold weather gear. Speaking from experience, there are few things more miserable than camping when you're so cold that you can't sleep!
    Yea, going in April has it's benefits and downfalls. Benefits, tulip festival and migrating whales. Downfalls, camping in the cold. That's why once we move on from Washington, I think we will be renting motels for awhile till we head south, especially for glacier. Thanks for the tip about reversing the trip so I head southbound along the coast, never thought about that. Thank you everyone who has responded thus far, your advice is much appreciated!

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