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  1. Default Texas to California (?)

    My friend and I are planning on going to California for Spring Break (from Lubbock, Texas). Unfortunately, Texas Tech only gives us the break from March 14 to March 22. Our main objectives are as follows:

    1. Meet women.
    2. Drink.
    3. See interesting towns/scenery on the way to and from California (perhaps hit a few local bars for 30 minutes as we rest).
    4. Good food.

    We are both 21 year old men and I will be taking a driving test within the next week to obtain a license and hopefully be able to rent a car in time. Don't worry I know how to drive both stick and automatic I've just been lazy to get an American drivers license.

    What paths would you recommend to and from California meeting the four criteria above? If you have a better idea (New Orleans? Chicago?) do recommend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A few things to consider.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    (perhaps hit a few local bars for 30 minutes as we rest).
    This comment sounds ominous. Were you planning to drive straight through.... and drink at the same time?

    California is a huge target. San Diego is 1000 miles or two days driving. Chicago would be about the same. Even New Orleans is more than a day's drive away.

    At 21 you will both be up for a hefty surcharge on a rental car, unless one of you does all the driving. Then it will only be one young driver's surcharge.

    Be aware that after a night drinking, you may still be over the legal alcohol limit the next day. A DUI in a rental could get you into pretty hot water. Check the small print in the contract.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Any other non-negative responses anyone?

    A google search on driving time between Lubbock and San Diego is 15 hours and 30 minutes, not two days. Renting a car for a week shouldn't be more than $350 I believe, which we could split two ways.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default It's good advice, even if you don't like it.

    I would not call that a negative comment, perhaps it should be looked as helpful and constructive. Lifemagician is one of our most active members who gives up a lot of her free time to share her 'hundreds of thousands of miles' real world experiences. Now if you would rather listen to a computer generated map, rather than a person with 'real world' experience you will find out the hard way. The fact is a computer doesn't have to stop for food, rest, bathroom breaks, traffic congestion or construction or even fuel for that matter ! If you want to stop for sight seeing and to rest in a bar it will take even longer than the minimum 18 hours it will take and that in no way can be driven straight without becoming a danger to you and those families that share the road with you. The other points are also valid even if you are aware of them, not everyone would be.

    As for planning, you should look at a good map and get an idea of whats out there that matches your interests, other than the bars and woman ;-) Personally I would head west where you have options like the Grand canyon and of course, Vegas. In Cali you have the scenic coast drive between LA and SF and areas of natural beauty like Yosemite NP. You could get to Vegas in 2 days with a quick side trip to the Grand canyon on route. From Vegas you have an very scenic route through Death valley to Yosemite which would take a full day. From Yosemite to SF for another night and then take 2 more down the scenic coast to LA or SD and then 2 days home. This would be a busy schedule and if your real objective is to party and hang out in bars etc then perhaps making it simple and heading to SD or LA with an overnight each way would work better. Once you have worked out what you want to do we might be able to give you some better ideas, but unless you are willing to consider the advice given there is no point in asking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Add on all the extras.

    Renting a car for a week shouldn't be more than $350 I believe, which we could split two ways.
    The average young driver surcharge is in the vicinity of $25 per day, per driver, which for a seven day rental would come to $350 for the surcharge alone. Then there is the rental cost on top of it.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Reality Check

    Here's the thing, unrealistic expectations rarely make for a positive trip. You might like people to tell you that everything is awesome, but what good does that do if you're basing your plans on things that simply aren't going to happen.

    A google search on driving time between Lubbock and San Diego is 15 hours and 30 minutes, not two days
    And when you have experience on the road, you'll learn that google's estimates for a trip like this aren't even close to accurate, because in the virtual world there is no traffic, no construction, no need to refuel, basically no reason to ever slow down below the speed limit.

    In the real world, covering 1000 miles requires a bare minimum of 18-20 hours on the road. There's also the reality that driving that far in one sitting - even with 2 drivers - simply isn't safe. Professional drivers, with millions of miles of experience on the road, are limited by safety laws from going more than about 600 miles in a day, and they would be required to stop overnight for this trip. Ask yourself why you - as someone who doesn't even have a drivers license right now - think you could be safer than those who spend their lives on the road.

    I will also say that even driving 600 miles a day very much needs to be considered work. It doesn't have to be unpleasant work, and you can still enjoy your time, but it takes effort to be a good and safe driver for 10-12 plus hours a day. That means, like any job, drinking while on the clock is a really bad idea. I'm not even talking about being intoxicated, I'm talking about having a beer while taking a break from the road. Sure, there's no problem having a beer with lunch while taking a short trip where you're on the road for a couple of hours, but you're looking at being in the car all day long. Allowing your abilities to be impaired, even a little bit, when you need to work to stay focused is just a very bad idea and not something you should consider if you have any value in your own safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.

    Renting a car for a week shouldn't be more than $350 I believe, which we could split two ways.
    That sounds about right for the basic rate for a single driver over the age of 25, which is what you'll see if you just do a search for prices. But that doesn't include fees for underage and extra drivers, which as Lifey mentioned, could practically double the cost of your rental.

    And I'll tell you right now, don't even think about trying to get around the extra driver fee by just not telling the rental car company. If your friend is not on the contract, and he gets behind the wheel, he's essentially driving a stolen car. Among other things, If you get into a even a minor accident, your insurance would be void.

    Speaking of insurance, since you don't have a license right now, I'm going to guess that means you don't have a car, so you probably also need to consider buying insurance from the rental car company, which will also add to your costs.

    Don't worry I know how to drive both stick and automatic I've just been lazy to get an American drivers license.
    Do you have a license in another country? If so, then you really don't need to get a license in the US. You should be able to use a foreign license to rent the car. Also, you don't have to worry about driving stick. All regular American Rental cars are automatics.

    In any case, you probably consider a lot of what I, and everyone else, have said as being "negative." And to a degree they are, because there are significant problems with some of the things you've said so far. Now the ball is in your court. You can decide to ignore the "negative" because it's not what you want to hear, and push ahead, likely endangering yourselves and others along the way, while making it difficult to actually have a good time. Or you could listed to the voices of those who have "been there, done that," make some changes and turn those Negatives into Positives.

    But the ball is in your court.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post

    As for planning, you should look at a good map and get an idea of whats out there that matches your interests, other than the bars and woman ;-) .
    Yeah I think I'll do that. Wonder where I can find a good map (that includes details about bars and women preferably lol). But since partying is our major objective I think heading semi-straight to LA would be our best option.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post




    In the real world, covering 1000 miles requires a bare minimum of 18-20 hours on the road.




    That sounds about right for the basic rate for a single driver over the age of 25, which is what you'll see if you just do a search for prices. But that doesn't include fees for underage and extra drivers, which as Lifey mentioned, could practically double the cost of your rental.

    Speaking of insurance, since you don't have a license right now, I'm going to guess that means you don't have a car, so you probably also need to consider buying insurance from the rental car company, which will also add to your costs.



    Do you have a license in another country? If so, then you really don't need to get a license in the US. You should be able to use a foreign license to rent the car. Also, you don't have to worry about driving stick. All regular American Rental cars are automatics.
    Well I do believe Google provides estimates based on current traffic. Anyway I don't think we'll spend a lot of time resting.

    Actually the $350 figure was off of a rental car website that included the figure of the underage charge. And that was for a comfortable car. I do have a license from another country but I'm pretty sure I cant use that to drive here (it's from Jordan). If I can only rent a car with the license being pulled over by a cop would be a bad thing for my driving record I believe.

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

    Default It can be a tough learning curve.

    Is your licence from Jordan in English? If it is, you will not have a problem. If it is not, contact the AAA and get an international licence. They supply them, using your licence. An international licence is a translation of your foreign driver's licence.

    I have been pulled over with my foreign licence and not had a problem.

    While you are at the AAA get some good maps. They are second to none. For information which is not on the map, ask at the visitor centre when you get to town.

    Well I do believe Google provides estimates based on current traffic. Anyway I don't think we'll spend a lot of time resting.
    Don't believe everything you read. When you get out into the real world unfortunately that fantasy is shattered. Real world experience can be a tough teacher.

    But since partying is our major objective I think heading semi-straight to LA would be our best option.
    Why not do the trip to LA in a few shorter hops and see what is going on in the places through which you will pass?
    Have a safe trip.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Many of us who are regulars on this forum, have over 100,000 miles of road-miles under our belts. In many instances, because we did not grow up in the age of electronic information and forums such as this one, we've learned things the hard way:

    1) Don't assume that because the speed limit is 75mph, that you will be able to drive 750 miles in 10 hours. Google may say "with current traffic conditions", BUT Google doesn't have to go to the bathroom. Google doesn't have to eat. Google doesn't get stuck in a one-lane-closed construction zone behind a truck going 35 mph (when the speed limit is 40). Google may not even know about that construction zone! Google doesn't need gas/fuel, either. My husband and I learned that we should estimate 50-55 mph as an average, so it will take 12 hours to go 600 miles.

    2) Two drivers doesn't mean you'll go further. One stays awake to keep the driver awake. Driving straight through means you will be driving tired and nobody is keeping the driver awake. The driver wants to turn on the radio or the music, and the sleeper doesn't want it on. So the driver blasts the AC or opens up the window, making the sleeper too cold to sleep. We've tried this. It doesn't work.

    3) When you have 3 drivers, one may get to do some sleeping. But sleeping in a car is not very restful. A tired driver is every bit as dangerous as a drunk driver. I've done this, coming home from college one year. Bad idea.

    4) Don't try to drive at night and sleep during the day. This disrupts the body clock and you arrive at your destination feeling too tired to enjoy it. Tried this too. Doesn't work.

    Have you thought about going down to Galveston, Houston, New Orleans, or someplace closer?

    Another thought about that rental fee: did it include the insurance quote as well as the underage driver fee?


    Donna

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