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  1. Default Leaving Boston Area - traveling along coastal states

    I'm leaving the Boston area this Spring. Taking a long road trip...destination unknown, time on the road unknown...Planning to head down to Key West, FL, stopping at places of interest along the way, etc. May continue on through southern states, may continue up the California coast.

    Any advice such as what vehicle; mini van and stay at hotels? or mini van with travel trailer? I am thinking the trip may be at least 3-6 months, maybe longer? ~ Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Been there, done that.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Almost a decade ago I drove from Atlantic City to Key West on the most eastern road, all the way down. Have a good look at some good maps, and you will see which roads. This involved several ferrys, as well as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. When I drove this road, I did not do any research before hand, other than look at all the maps of the States through which I was to travel, and explored what was recommended by the locals along the way.

    Like you I did it without time restriction. Can't now recall how long I took, but it was a memorable trip. I think of it fondly.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Quite an adventure !

    It really is a personal choice as to what vehicle you use and whether or not to use hotels or a travel trailer. If you enjoy camping you could buy camping equipment [if you haven't any] and split it between camping and Hotels. Do you already own a vehicle or are you purchaing one for the trip or renting ? If you are flying solo then a mini van would not be a neccesity and a standard sedan would be both comfortable and more budget friendly. If you have other specific questions just ask away but for now, I would recommend you search around the RTA site where you will find endless amounts of info and info on the forums and trip planning pages above and of course, if you haven't got one a nice big map of the USA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I concur, "What an adventure!"

    Any advice such as what vehicle; mini van and stay at hotels? or mini van with travel trailer? I am thinking the trip may be at least 3-6 months, maybe longer? ~ Thanks!
    My husband and I have owned different types of RV's over the years: a tent trailer (pop up), travel trailer, 5th wheel (5W). My parents have also owned both a motorhome and a trailer-able houseboat over the years. So my first comment is that you'd really have to look at what a mini-van is capable of towing. Many are just not built for anything heavier than either a utility trailer or a tent-trailer. Despite today's builders trying to make everything from plastic and fiberglass, many trailers are simply too heavy to be towed by anything short of a 3/4-ton or full-ton pickup truck/SUV that is equipped with a towing package. If you try to tow something heavier than the manufacturer of the vehicle says is the limit, you risk burning out many vehicle parts before your time.

    Hotel/motel is probably about the same, cost-wise, as the extra fuel that a pick-up truck/trailer combo will burn. There's also another question that you'd have to ask yourself: if I buy a specific combo, or a trailer, do I have use for it later and the means with which to store it?


  5. Default

    Thank you so much Lifey. Like you, I don't intend to plan my trip to death, day by day or place by place; but would like some kind of idea of how I should be traveling, economically, such as driving a mini van?, or should I plan to haul a travel trailor with it? I don't necessarily plan to sticking strictly to the coast line, but could be zig zagging my way throughout some of the inner coastal states along the way (the carolinas, tennessee, georgia). I guess that's the beauty of having no destination/time line restrictions! After I hit Key West, if I find I like being on the road, I may continue through the southern coastal states, and maybe up the west coast as well. So again, I need some advice on what type of vehicle may be best for this?

    Also, did you stay at hotels? Did you visit any wonderful places you'd like to share? Thank you!!!

  6. Default

    Thank you for your response, Southwest Dave!

    This will be my first time on an extended road trip, and solo. I am so looking forward to it and am sure there will be much to learn as I go. I love an adventure, and to me some of the best things are discovering new places, meeting the locals, getting advice, and learning along the way. I will be trading in a vehicle and purchasing one for the trip, spacious, good on gas mileage, etc.

    I am not much of a camper and where I'll be a single female traveling alone, I would not feel safe in a tent, sleeping along at night...anywhere.

    I have seen many forums on road trip "across america", but what I am looking do to is travel the american coastal states for the most part, with not time constraints, Boston to Key West for sure, and possibly the southern states and up the west coast.

    I will continue to search and find advice and ideas. Thank you for your suggestions!

  7. Default


    Thank you - Thank you - Thank you!

    That was one of my concerns, pulling the extra weight of a travel trailer through many, many, many states...At first it's seems to be the common sense thing to do...but then, when you add up the risks, expenses, etc - the weight, the added wear and tear, the additional gas mileage, etc.

    Also the added risks of towing 2K extra pounds on the highways and backroads....oh dear. The dangers of accidents. I am new at this and you have helped me make my decision. Thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default As a solo female your safety is in your hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeToTravel View Post
    I am not much of a camper and where I'll be a single female traveling alone, I would not feel safe in a tent, sleeping alone at night...anywhere.
    When I drove the coast road, it was in a my son's Camry with a tent; interspersed with cheap hotels/motels. That was in 2007 - before my RTA days. I neither kept a record nor do I now recall the details.

    However, in 2009 I was loaned a Dodge Caravan. The owners removed all but the front seats. I had a camping mattress, a small cooler and a good sleeping bag. the mattress took up half the floor, my 'stuff' was on the other half. Later in the trip I bought a couple of small plastic sets of drawers (the type kids have at college) and my friend affixed them, so they would not move.

    That trip saw me taking it for about 25000 miles, including a trip to AK and back. You can check out most of it here.

    You will be safe camping in a tent, so long as you camp in an official campground, be it commercial and/or state park. As a senior female solo traveller, I have covered almost 200000 miles in North America and have rarely felt threatened. When I have, it usually ended up avoidable, once I thought about it. All part of the learning curve. Be constantly aware of your surroundings, and to whom you give any personal information. Think well before accepting offers from strangers (other than those to help pitch a tent - LOL).

    Along your route there are some really great hostels. I recall one in Virginnia Beach, which was a stone's throw from the beach and very vibrant. I stayed there for several days. Another in St Augustine FL - upstairs, Miami Beach and Key West (which was not to my liking). When staying at a hostel, asik if each bed has a locker allocated to it. Take a couple of different size padlocks with you for the purpose. [Never put anything valuable in lockers where you have to pay to lock it. Those are accessibly by management.]

    In hotels / motels ask to see the room before committing. Besides cleanliness, check that the smoke alarm has not been disabled and that the room has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside, such as the chain lock.

    There are other places to sleep safely in a van, but more suited to when you have more experience and confidence travelling around on your own.

    Remember, your safety is your responsibility. There is nothing like awareness of your surroundings that will keep you safe, both on the road and at night.

    Have a safe trip.


  9. Default Thanks for the good advice :)

    Hey Lifey... More awesome advice - thank you! I never thought of the 'hostel' aspect, really good idea. Bringing extra locks, another good idea. I am looking forward to the adventure and will try my best to keep at least one eye open at all times! :)

    I plan to have a fun trip but do know there will be pitfalls and unexpected things that may occur along the way. Any advice is very much appreciated. Really.

    If you think of anything else, please let me know. Thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Nyc??

    Are you planning to include NYC in your trip. If so, I can highly recommend the HI hostel on Amsterdam. Hostels in NYC are not cheap, and the HI is among the most expensive, but also the most secure and well organised. With over 600 beds, it has high security, fantastic facilities and is always booked out. You would need to book well ahead. It is only a short distance to Central Park.

    I am not aware of any parking near there, I do know that the subway is nearby. If going there, park in NJ near a rail line.

    Each time I have been there, there was always a queue of folk in the lobby. wanting to book in, or waiting for cancellations. Mostly these came from other hostels in the city with horror stories. Only problem my daughter and her fiance found is that they do not have co-ed rooms.

    In 2007 the common rooms had only just been refurbished. The kitchens were in the process of being replaced. I believe the bathrooms were next to be renovated.


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