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  1. Default 10 Week Roadtrip of America

    Hi All

    I just looking for some any help any help at all. I from the UK and have a friend near Chicago studying and were looking to go on a tour road tripping around america on a shoestring budget starting at Chicago moving to the East Coast down the bottom and then up the West Coast. We are in a Camper Van but will also be looking at places to stay etc.

    This is our trip at the moment

    Chicago - Cleveland - Niagara Falls - New York - Philadelphia - Washington DC - Augusta - Orlando - Miami - Tampa - New Orleans - Dallas - Austin - Denver - Vegas - San Diego - LA - San Fran

    So really what I am asking is......

    Where would some good places to go apart from the obvious places?

    Where are the places not to go?

    Which places might be the best places to stay with respect of not having loads of cash as we are students?

    How much money do you think we might need? At the moment I have around £3500 which is about $5000

    Anything we might need to know on the road to be 'streetwise'?

    Any other information which anyone could help with which would be of help?

    Last edited by Buss; 04-09-2015 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Honestly, your questions right now are so vague, we really can't be of much help.

    I mean, we don't know which places you might consider to be "obvious" stops, so how could we even guess which not so obvious ones you might enjoy? Similarly, without knowing any details of your trip, there's just no way for us to tell you how much money you'll need.

    If you're going to be in a campervan, then campgrounds will be the easiest places for you to stay, taking advantage of the campervan, with public campgrounds typically being the cheapest options. Although, I'll also note, if you don't already own a campervan, renting a car and staying in motels is actually the cheaper route to go most of the time - especially if you're hoping to visit a lot of cities.

    Beyond that, this site is filled with "other information" to help you be more "Streetwise" before getting on the road. Spend a little time looking around and reading the many articles and other items on this site, and you can learn a lot.

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

    Default Sort the basics.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With a trip that loops around the whole country the list of places to visit would run into thousands, without at least a few dots on the map that start to form some type of route it is impossible to give meaningful advice. I would suggest you use the RTA site to do some research and study a good map to see what appeals to you. Once you have some basics down we can offer some thoughts which may include "obvious places". ;-)

    Places not to go ? I would say they are the places that hold no interest to you, whatever they may be. Places not to stay that would be "Streetwise" are those you do not feel comfortable with. Use that 'sixth sense' and listen to it, if somewhere doesn't feel right, it usually isn't. Move on.

    With a campervan you can use all types of campgrounds, some perhaps free and others for good value would include Forestry sites and some State parks. You can't pull up anywhere to sleep, you could be trespassing or breaking By laws. On the odd occasion you could spend a night at a services/truck stop just to get some sleep. In the City Hostels can offer cheap accomodation or occasionally a cheap Motel with shower and comfy bed can be welcoming.

    How much money is a very open ended question depending on what you want to do and see, how many miles you will clock up, whether you own a camper van or will be renting and how many mpg etc. As long as you always have enough left to get you home and an emergency kitty for breakdowns and repairs etc then you should be OK. If you are not renting it's worth joining a motoring organisation, the AAA for example who will provide you with free maps as well.

    I would discuss with your friend exactly what you are both looking for and where your interests are and start mapping it out. As more specific questions come up, dont hesitate to ask.

    Enjoy the planning.

  4. Default

    Thank you for the info above, looking at it it is very vague....

    We are looking at starting in Chicago - Cleveland - Niagara Falls - New York - Philadelphia - Washington DC - Augusta - Orlando - Miami - Tampa - New Orleans - Dallas - Austin - Denver - Vegas - San Diego - LA - San Fran

    Also I'll edit the post so people see that trip!

  5. Default

    Hi Thanks

    Ive just edit my post to put up my trip at the moment, is there anything else which you could add to help?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    In the future, please do not significantly edit your posts after others have responded. It makes it difficult for others to read the thread, and is considered quite rude.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    In the future, please do not significantly edit your posts after others have responded. It makes it difficult for others to read the thread, and is considered quite rude.
    Sorry, I didn't realisethis I just thought it would help

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Money, money, money - it ain't funny - just a necessity.

    First thought, figure how many miles you would be driving. I'd guess about 10,000 at least! Then, divide that by the average numbers of miles per gallon that the camper van gets. Go to the Fuel Cost calculator on this page, estimate $3.50 per gallon, and that will tell you how much your fuel will cost.

    Camping. There are very, very few free camping places in the US any more. You can occasionally find them in a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area, but those are usually pretty remote. As mentioned above, you can stay in a truck/travel plaza (with permission from management who will tell you where to park) periodically, and *some* municipalities may allow you to stay in a Wal-Mart, Target, or other big box parking lot overnight. But even these aren't "free", because you should always give some business to that place such as fuel up, get your snacks for the next day, etc. Most interstate rest areas say No Overnight Parking any more, and even when it's okay, it may not be safe. As also mentioned above, your state forest and parks, and national forests, are probably your best-bang-for-the-buck camp spots.

    Food: This can be where buddies have an issue with each other. One wants to eat out a lot, another wants to cook, another doesn't want to do either. Get yourselves on the "same page". I'm the first to tell you that camp food tastes wonderful and is a lot cheaper than eating out - it's something I miss about the tent-camping experience. (Sleeping on the ground or even on a pad on the ground, is NOT something I miss.) You do have some drawbacks - either you're shopping a lot, or buying a lot of ice, or you're eating out of cans a lot (figuratively and sometimes literally). If you aren't eating out a lot, you can budget food like you'd budget at home.

    I see a lot of cities on your list. But to me (and YMMV), cities and camper vans don't always mix. Depending on the height of the camper, parking could be a bear. (We drive a long and tall pickup with a camper-shell, and there are a lot of parking garages and spaces that are either too short for us, or the ceiling is too low. Camper vans often have the same issues.) Are you planning on any national parks? Talk about "bang for the buck", THOSE are it, if you like the outdoors! The cost of one is $10-30 (for 7 days), each additional one is about the same price. If planning to go to several, it could pass for the campervan owner to buy the $80 annual pass at the first park.


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