Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: 48 States

  1. Default 48 States


    My fiancÚ and I are from southern Illinois, and we have started to plan a trip for next summer to travel the entire country. I was using this route I found as a rough draft for where we'd go. Most of our focus is on the western part of the country, so thats where we'd head first. If our budget permitted us to go further once we branched off into the east we would go for it. We planned on saving between 8k-12k staying at campgrounds and cheap hotels. Advice on maybe purchasing a van or just taking a gas efficient car would also be appreciated. I thought we may be able to buy a decent van between 5-10k and maybe focus on selling it when we get back. All aspects of traveling, I would love to learn about. Like I said we have 12 months or more to prepare for this and saving the money will be very easy. Any advice is well appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Car vs Van.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    If you are on a budget, going by car and perhaps getting a tent, sleeping bags and mats would give you the same access to campgrounds as a van. It will need to be a decision you make depending on your budget and priorities. You will probably find that selling the van at the end of your trip will not really recoup the money you put into it. Or you might decide to keep it for future trips.

    Having said that, I bought a van some four years ago and have spent 18 months travelling across North America with it, and would now not travel any other way. It's waiting in storage for my next trip. Besides campgrounds I often spend a night at truck stops, when I am on my way from one place to another alternating with cheap hotels. Just make sure the van is comfortable to sleep in. There is nothing which ruins a road trip more than not getting a decent night's sleep. I would take a van on some short trips before you set out on a long trip, just to see what needs adjusting.

    Be aware that stopping in rest areas overnight is not only illegal in most States, but the most dangerous place to be, unless there is armed security present all night. Out west you will also find that more and more store parking areas will not allow overnight parking. On the other hand there are hundreds if not thousands of public lands campgrounds where you can overnight in idyllic natural settings for very few dollars and sometimes free.


  3. Default

    Our budget is around 10,000 for the trip, not including the van. Is it as simple as just heading one direction and when your ready to stop find your nearest campground or truck stop? We are not really concerned with the trip being comfortable. We accept there will be risks and many moments that lack comfort and we invite them. We are getting ready to be newly weds and this is a building block for us as humans. I haven't really figured in maintenance which could be a big part. Either way, we won't have the opportunity for more trips till were much much older. We've been all across the midwest when we can craft enough time with our busy work schedule to do so. We don't really have an opportunity to practice for this, so I'm just going to do as much research as I can. Thank you for the reply by the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There's nothing wrong with using other people's ideas to get your own mind going, and thinking about what you want to do. But I would really caution using someone else's plan as even a "rough draft" of your own trip. I'm aware of the headline grabbing article that your map is based on, and despite the claims of those headlines that that is somehow the ideal or optimal roadtrip, it really is far from that. The biggest issue is that it implies that somehow those are the best places to go for a trip, or even that there is a generic "ideal" roadtrip. Your roadtrip should be based on the places you want to go, and you find more interesting - not what some professor came up with using a rather questionable, and at times contradictory, methodology for picking stopping points.

    Having said that, one big thing you didn't mention is how long you have for this trip? That's probably the most important factor in figuring out if you have enough money, what will be the best option for transportation, and how much stuff you can actually do.

  5. Default

    Really a destination neither of us are worried about. This route I found was just a roundabout way to get around the united states. We don't have certain places we really thirst to see. Money is going to judge the duration of our trip. We have all the time in the world, if money allows it all. We could end up just spending the entirety of the trip in the west. I guess you could say the advice I'm looking for is more road life, and the troubles you run into. The ins and outs of traveling. We don't really care where we go we just want to travel. Living in southern illinois, theres nothing but flatland and cornfields, so traveling anywhere along the west would be more than anything we've ever known. I know this trip seems like a premature idea blown out of proportion, but its an idea that neither of us will budge on. So all the advice is very well appreciated. Thanks for your time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Something you cannot foretell.

    Yes, a budget for repairs and maintenance will be essential, no matter how much you spend on a van, nor how great its condition. Within some weeks of picking up my van, which everyone said was in excellent condition, there was an essential repair of almost $500.

    Quote Originally Posted by rivers0905 View Post
    ... we won't have the opportunity for more trips till we're much much older.
    You have no idea what your future holds. A decade and a half ago, I would never have thought I would ever visit North America, let alone do a roadtrip, something I had never done alone, or in a foreign place. Yet now I have covered almost 200000 miles north of the Mexican border, and planning more. Life has many ways of surprising you.


  7. Default

    When DH and I were young and had a 18 month old we chose to buy an old van and put a bed in the back with storage underneath. This saved us from having to put up a tent or take it down in bad weather. It was easier to break camp and just move on. Back then tents were more cumbersome which isn't the case nowadays. We also spent a night here and there in motels. This was the only way we could afford to go on vacations way back then.

    This was back in the 1970's and it was so much easier to not worry where or when you would be somewhere and we always found camping in the National Parks. Now a days you really need to make reservations. It's sad but true. If you are going to have internet you can check just before you get to a park and check to see if they have any cancellations in the campgrounds. Cancellations happen all the time.

    One money saver will be the National Park Pass which is $80 and is good at all the National Parks, National Monuments, and National Forests.

    Do you know what month you will be starting this trip? We might be able to help you decide if it's better to start up north and then go south or visa versa.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Note that the parks pass only covers admission, not camping or any other incidentals.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Something to which I can relate.

    Quote Originally Posted by rivers0905 View Post
    We don't really care where we go we just want to travel.
    I fully understand that, it is very much the way I have travelled a lot of the time, and often still do. However, what a waste of money/time it would be if you spent all that money/time, and drove all those miles, and not saw the best the country has to offer.

    Like Michael, I checked out the route, and if those are the best places this person chose, then I would query very much what interest this person has. Are they exactly the same as your interests? What are the two of you most interested in?

    Do you have good maps? Check out all that the western States have to offer. It is all marked on good maps. That sort of detail you will not get on a small screen. Checking the maps you can see all the routes and roads at your disposal, how far it is from one point of interest to your next point of interest, and what other attractions can be seen along the way. Hell there is nothing worse than having been somewhere and then being asked did you see such and such - and you never knew it was there.

    Are you a member of AAA? If not, I would definitely take out their top roadside assistance plan, especially if you are planning to use a second hand van. It has saved me a fortune in towing costs. The other benefit of a AAA membership is that you can pick up free maps of all the States you plan to travel, and major urban centres. The AAA maps are among the most detailed you can find. I would get some now during your planning stage, and see what route you can come up with that covers all your interests along the way. Of course maps are essential when you are on the road. The gps is fine for finding lodgings, etc., but make sure your primary navigational aid is a set of good detailed paper map.


  10. Default

    The park passes are a good idea. I'll definitely be getting maps soon. It would be a shame to be within 100 miles of something beautiful and drive right past it. We're also mostly interested in the social aspect of it. We'd like to meet people, see how things are everywhere else. Which I guess we could just read about annual events that certain places have and try to plan them accordingly to where we'll be. And the trip would be next April or may I'm thinking. The planning is starting to be the funnest part haha. Thanks guys

Similar Threads

  1. 50 States in 2014
    By RahRah in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 11-14-2014, 07:40 PM
  2. 7 States in 16 Days?!
    By TomCoombe in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-15-2014, 03:29 PM
  3. 50 States?
    By Rollin' in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-16-2010, 09:32 AM
  4. 48 states in ?
    By in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-18-2005, 09:34 PM
  5. 50 states in 2 months
    By Veronica in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2002, 10:09 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name