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  1. Default A long road trip, Need advice how to plan it !

    Hi everyone, my name is Leeor.
    I'm planning to do a long road trip and really need some advice how to start planning it, because I'm not from here and I don't know too much.
    The main idea is that I have a car and I decided that I want to go for it. I'm living now in Miami so this is my starting point. Farther then that, I don't really have any limits like time or so.
    I thought to go from Miami to NY then to continue to the Niagara Falls. After that i'll drive more to the south and through there ( i don't know yet where. just the idea) to continue until California.
    So I want to start plan the trip and I don't really know how to start so I would like to ask you guys for the first part and hopefully after that I will continue with it.

    Where I can stop on the road from Miami to New York ? I'm not really a city guy so to stop in all the small cities on the way is not really me. I have time so I don't care if it will take 3 or 5 days.
    I know that i'll stop in Washington DC, but more then that I want to see some nature and stuff like that. I will buy here a tent and sleeping bag, that if I will need to sleep on the road sides or in the parks.
    I want to start the trip on March, i know that maybe it is cold but it will be fine.
    Sorry if it's too long, hope you can guide me some.
    Thanks Leeor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default You have started already.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Well to be honest you have already made a start by working on places you would like to see. You should get a large wall map of the USA and as you find places of interest mark them up. Once you have got that far you can work on joining the dots and a route will start to develop and then you can look closer at other places in between. Keep reading around the RTA site and you will find no end of info and ideas. With a trip of this nature it is too early to make meaningful suggestions as there are thousands of possibilities, but if you have any specific questions just ask away.

    You can't just pull up by the roadside or in a City park and set up camp, you will have to budget for designated sites to set up camp.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-06-2015 at 04:53 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default realistic constraints

    I have a feeling based on what you've said, you might be underestimating just how much it's going to take to do a trip like you're talking about.

    You said you don't have a time limit, but do you have financial constraints? Do you have an idea of how long you'd like to be on the road? Do you need to return to Miami when your trip is complete?

    If you're planning to go back to Miami, then going up to NY, back down to "the south," and then across to California seems like you'd be much better off just doing a loop of the US, and wait until near the end of your trip to get to NY, rather than zig-zagging north and south.

    As far as camping, it is a good way to save money, but it isn't free, and it too has its limitations, especially since you're starting this trip in March. Across most of the US, it will be very cold overnight yet, and you'd need some winter camping gear to even make sleeping in a tent possible. As Dave mentioned, you're going to still need to find campgrounds, as you can't just throw up a tent in a park or along the side of the road.

  4. Default

    Why can't I just sleep whenever I want ? what can I get for it ? just this is weird for me.

    and yeah I'm trying to do the plan like you said, but from here to DC I don't know what there is to do ? I would like some tips and stuff.
    I know about all the parks in Orlando, just first of all, im alone so I don't sure how much fun it will be, and second thing I want to try to save some money on the less necessary things.
    And thanks for your quick respond :)

  5. Default

    Michael I saw now you post.
    The money is the problem, I think that 2 - 3 months can be enough for me to do the road trip and the money I guess sth like the 4-5 ?
    I don't need to go back to Miami, and because I want to see NY and those places, but afterward most of the things that I though of are locate south. so i'll drive there. This is why I said that I don't have time limit, and another 3-5 days will not do the different for me so I think there is more things to see on the south \ middle side of the country then in the north

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Padi View Post
    Why can't I just sleep whenever I want ? what can I get for it ? just this is weird for me.
    Because there is this thing call private property. If you just set up wherever you want, you'll almost certainly be trespassing, and at best, you'll get rudely awaken by a police officer.

    Parks and public places have hours and rules - specifically because they don't want people turning them into their own personal living space. That's why campgrounds exist!

  7. Default

    Hate the idea that you have to pay for everything, this is the beauty of the nature. Never mind
    So there is a information spot on the national parks ? Like you see I don't have exact plan and I'm doing more spontaneous things. So they will can help we with where to stay sleep and stuff ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default A good atlas will help!

    If you pick up an atlas such as the Rand McNally, you'll find public campgrounds marked with a little green tent icon. These would be state forests, state parks, national forests, and national parks with camping facilities. They will run between $10 and $25 per night, and for that, you get a site with a parking place and space for your camping tent or RV, usually access to a water spigot, and either outhouse-type bathroom facilities, or full flush toilets. Most will offer a picnic table and some sort of grill, though we personally hated to use the grill since they were usually filthy. (Carry a picnic tablecloth for the table.) Some spots will offer shower facilities and sinks, though some will have coin machines to make the showers work. Just camping in a tent, you really wouldn't need the RV parks that some of the national parks run (such as Fishing Bridge RV in Yellowstone or Grand Canyon Trailer Village in the Grand Canyon NP). Some of the national parks will have a place you can go to find coin op showers in a central location, accessible to all of their campgrounds.

    There really isn't one site where all the campgrounds are listed. You still have to do the old fashioned way, by using many different sites the way we used to use many different books. You can find the tent-icon on the maps and then research on the Internet to see just what's available.

    From experience, though -- March is not a very friendly time to tent-camp in the north. Even here in SoCal, it can be touch and go, depending on exactly where you are going.


    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Camping Resurces.

    May I enquire what your nationality is, I take it you are not a native of Miami. Maybe you are used to different customs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Padi View Post
    Hate the idea that you have to pay for everything, this is the beauty of the nature. Never mind So there is a information spot on the national parks? Like you see I don't have exact plan and I'm doing more spontaneous things. So they will can help we with where to stay sleep and stuff ?
    I too avoid having to pay for anything I see as 'unnecessary' However, always put safety above budget. Being awoken during the night by some gun touting owner who finds you on their turf can't be pretty. I would never want to be in that situation. There will also be times when you will need to stop in a budget motel or such, just to get a decent shower and re organise for the road ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Padi View Post
    ... just first of all, im alone so I don't sure how much fun it will be, and second thing I want to try to save some money on the less necessary things.
    Tracvelling solo can be as much 'fun' as you want to make it. I love meeting people, and when you are alone you are more likely to meet folk along the way. All it takes is to go up to another camper, diner, or wherever, extend your hand with a greeting "Hi, I'm Leeor." Finding fun things to do means interacting with the locals no matter where you are. Ask them what there is locally, which fits in with your interests. They will be only too happy to share their bit of turf with you (albeit NOT for pitching a tent).

    No matter how spontaneous you want to travel, all travel takes some planning. There is a lot of information which is NOT on the internet, which you can glean locally, especially from the BLM staff, local rangers at Forest Service offices and State Parks offices.

    Before you leave gather as many as you can of the addresses and telephone numbers of all these offices. Be sure in each and every place you pass through or visit to call in at their offices. If you can't find them, the Visitor centre or the local police will know. (I find law enforcement a rich source of information.) Often just through conversations you can ask about safe free camping areas in their area. Mostly you find you will be alone, but in some of the most pristine surroundings.

    You can search sites such as free camping on the internet, but most you will find are either pretty grotty or focused on RV parking I have found the most reliable resources are the above mentioned offices (not the national parks), but be patient. Not every town has the offices, though most have at least one of the three. I aim to visit every office, just to ask the same question. Not every member of staff in each office is knowledgable enough to be helpful. The most helpful staff are often out in the field. Wherever or whenever you come across an officer from one of these organisations, be sure to engage them in conversation to find out as much as you can about the area in which you are.

    As Donna stated, State Park and State Forest camping areas are mostly marked on maps. They can cost as little as $8 in the more remote areas. I like to travel with a Rand McNally and AAA maps. (Would be an idea to have a roadside service membership during this trip, just in case.) As well I pick up State issued maps at Visitor and Welcome Centres in each State. It is not unusual to find a little information on one map, which is not on the other two.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default The cost of keeping it natural and unspoilt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Padi View Post
    So there is a information spot on the national parks ? Like you see I don't have exact plan and I'm doing more spontaneous things. So they will can help we with where to stay sleep and stuff ?
    You can find all National Park info here. Select a State and then a park and you will find everything you need to know about campgrounds and fees in each one.

    Hate the idea that you have to pay for everything, this is the beauty of the nature.
    Whereas I really do understand what you mean , nature might not be so beautiful if you had tents set up everywhere, rubbish, contanimated rivers and streams and people's washing hanging from the trees at every turn. I'm not saying you would be like that, but there are many that would without the rules. Management of such things cost money and in all honesty, I think the National Parks are very good value.

    If you plan to visit a lot of National parks [4 or more major ones] then buying the annual pass for $80 will save you money. This does not include camping fees.

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