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  1. Default Planning 2 Month Trip from Philly -->San Diego -->Vancouver-->Philly

    I'm a 24 year old male planning a solo road 2 month (70 days) road trip
    Here is a rough route I have planned: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...uk&usp=sharing

    I've been researching locations/expenses/other things about solo road trips, but wanted to ask some experts. I appreciate anytime you take reading and answering and of my questions. Thanks!

    Q1: First of all, is there a better way to route my trip than I currently have? Maybe list some of your favorite websites to use for this.

    As you can see I'm starting off in Philadelphia and plan on stopping at:
    Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Mark Twain Ntl Forest?, OK City, Los Alamos NM, Colorado w/ friends from NM, Grand Canyon, Page AZ, Zion Ntl. Park, San Diego, Tijuana?, LA, San Francisco area, northern cal/southern OR, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Bozeman MT, Glacier Ntl. Park w/ friend from MT, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland?, and then back home.

    I have an excel file (which I'm unable to attach) that roughly states this course, and how many days I would like to spend in each location. Many places on the West Coast I'd like to stay in for 2-3 days to get a better feel for each particular city.

    Q2: Does this seem reasonable to cover this much ground in 70 days, with stay 2-3 days at about 1/2 of the locations)


    For my accommodations I plan on spending 1/4 of my nights camping (in a tent I have yet to purchase, Q3: does anyone have good suggestions/tips?!), 1/3 of my nights using Couchsurfing, and maybe 1/6 staying with friends I have from all over. This leaves the other quarter of my nights being spent in hotels. Assuming 70 days, $10/night camping, $25 for gift for host/night couch surfing, $20/night w/ friend, and $100/night hotel (hopefully staying in cheap motels mostly) this leads to a cost of $2,741, or let's say $3,0000 for accommodations.

    For food I would say worst case scenario would be around $30/day for food. Keep in mind I'm 24 and like to grab a few drinks every now and then. This comes out to $2100. I'm sure without much effort I could cut this down to $20/day, saving me $700 for the trip. I'm not sure if the 700 is worth the preparation/worry/extra supplies I would need if I was supplementing with my own food.
    I'm a pretty fit guy, and would like to keep my health/body in best shape as possible during the trip. I contemplated on relying on my hosts to use a kitchen to prepare a decent amount of food (high in protein i.e. chicken) that I could save in an ice chest to keep me for a couple days. I figured this would be good while camping and also for saving some money. However, I'm really leaning towards the hassle not being worth the savings. Q4: Does anyone have any experience with this - preparing and preserving your food while on the road?

    For gas, with accounting for 2,000 "spare miles" and a rate of $3/gallon of gas (hopefully lower!!) and using my cars mpg (09 Ford Focus) I came out to a number of about $900 or let's say $1000. Q5:Is this reasonable?


    This put the total cost of my trip at $6100.

    Q6: Is this a safe estimate? I suppose I should be a bit more pessimistic and figure around $7,000 for other unexpected expenses.

    Q7: How tough is a solo road trip, mentally? Although I'm very happy in my life right now, I am prone to anxiety and depression. I DO enjoy long drives (have done 10 hr drive straight in exactly 10 hr (speeding) ~5 times). I figured staying with my friends and staying with a (GOOD) couchsurfing host would help a lot with this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by Physics View Post
    Q1: First of all, is there a better way to route my trip than I currently have? Maybe list some of your favorite websites to use for this.
    The best route is one that takes you to the places you want to go. However, this is a spot where it's good to think outside websites. Paper maps really give you a view you just can't get on a computer screen, and and provide a much better scope for you to plan a route, rather than having a mindless computer draw one for you.


    Q2: Does this seem reasonable to cover this much ground in 70 days, with stay 2-3 days at about 1/2 of the locations)
    That seems quite reasonable, although I'll note your plan is very city-centric. There are a ton of great National Parks and other natural wonders you don't appear to be including in your plan. Perhaps that's just not your thing, but it's worth noting.

    in a tent I have yet to purchase, Q3: does anyone have good suggestions/tips?!
    I find a 9x7 is a good size for a solo tent - although that will typically be marketed as a 4 person tent. It's small enough where it's easy to put up by yourself, while still giving yourself a little room inside the tent.

    I will say your $10 a night budget for camping is extremely optimistic. It's a challenge to find campgrounds that cheap these days. $15-25 tends to be more typical.

    Q4: Does anyone have any experience with this - preparing and preserving your food while on the road?
    A cooler is very much your friend. Even things as simple as making sandwiches for lunch can go a long way towards keeping costs down. When I'm on the road, I do tend to stop at grocery stores very frequently, because things like raw meat are a bit tricky to deal with in a cooler. Some sort of propane grill or campstove can make it quite easy to enjoy normal healthy meal on the road.

    I will say I wouldn't cut your budget below the $30/day you had planned, especially if you plan to do a fair amount of restaurant meals and are including drinks in that budget. Just doing bar food, it can be very easy to spend more than $20 on a single meal if you get a meal and a couple of beers. Even cooking your own food, $20 is about as low as I'd ever plan to go. Little things add up quickly when it comes to food.
    This put the total cost of my trip at $6100. Q6: Is this a safe estimate? I suppose I should be a bit more pessimistic and figure around $7,000 for other unexpected expenses.
    You're certainly in the ballpark for all of your expenses - but you left one key factor: entertainment. I'm using that term very broadly, but there are other expenses that will come up beyond just food, fuel, and shelter. You'll want to spend $80 to purchase a National Parks pass, for example (it will pay for itself based on the parks you want to go). I imagine there are going to be other things you'll want to see that have admission fees, or costs for parking, and that sort of thing. Perhaps that's what you're thinking in terms of the "unexpected expenses," but if that's the case, then you also need to have some sort of emergency fund for things that actually would be unexpected, like an emergency car repair.
    Q7: How tough is a solo road trip, mentally?
    It depends upon your personality to a degree, but the other key is how you interact with people. There are always opportunities to meet people while on the road, and being by yourself can actually make it a bit easier to interact with new people and locals. Add that in with the people you already plan to meet, and as long as you are comfortable in your own skin, I don't think you'll find it to be too bad. I'm assuming the fact that you've come up with a plan like this, you must be at least somewhat excited by the idea in the first place!

  3. Default

    Thank you for taking the time to answer each one of my questions Michael.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!
    The best route is one that takes you to the places you want to go. However, this is a spot where it's good to think outside websites. Paper maps really give you a view you just can't get on a computer screen, and and provide a much better scope for you to plan a route, rather than having a mindless computer draw one for you.
    I like this idea. It will also be nice to have something physical as a memento for my trip. Do you have any suggestions/favorite paper maps you use, or are they all about the same?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    That seems quite reasonable, although I'll note your plan is very city-centric. There are a ton of great National Parks and other natural wonders you don't appear to be including in your plan. Perhaps that's just not your thing, but it's worth noting.
    I didn't write them all in, because I'm still deciding which ones to go to. But I definitely plan on adding more/taking away from the cities. I would like to hit Sequoia and Los Padres Ntl forest. Do you have any must-see's that are not too much deviation off my route? (Particularly in California area)


    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    A cooler is very much your friend. Even things as simple as making sandwiches for lunch can go a long way towards keeping costs down. When I'm on the road, I do tend to stop at grocery stores very frequently, because things like raw meat are a bit tricky to deal with in a cooler.
    Does the food (meats, raw and/or deli) keep for a few days in a cooler? Would a cooler capable of that be very expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I imagine there are going to be other things you'll want to see that have admission fees, or costs for parking, and that sort of thing.
    Although that would be nice, I really can't think of much other than parking, beach, possibly a bar cover that I'd be paying admissions/extra for. Since I'm traveling solo I highly doubt I'll be stopping at amusement parks/concerts/sporting games. Not a huge fan of museums either. I'm worried I'm naivety will come back to bite me here though. A lot of my trip will just be 'seeing the sights', filming the trip, enjoying nature and meeting new people .What is some other common 'entertainment' I might not be accounting for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I'm assuming the fact that you've come up with a plan like this, you must be at least somewhat excited by the idea in the first place!
    Very excited Michael! It's always on my mind when I have free moments. Thank you again.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physics View Post

    I like this idea. It will also be nice to have something physical as a memento for my trip. Do you have any suggestions/favorite paper maps you use, or are they all about the same?
    I'm a big fan of the regular old Rand McNalley Road Atlas. You can usually pick up one for around $10 at a big box store. If you decide to join AAA - and it's always good to have some kind of roadside coverage for a trip like this - you can get "free" maps that are included with the price of your membership. Although, I'll have to note as a personal preference, I'm not a fan of AAA's maps. I like RMs format much better.

    I didn't write them all in, because I'm still deciding which ones to go to. But I definitely plan on adding more/taking away from the cities. I would like to hit Sequoia and Los Padres Ntl forest. Do you have any must-see's that are not too much deviation off my route? (Particularly in California area)
    This is really a case where paper maps will be very helpful to you. I will note that Sequoia National Forest is not the same as Sequoia National Park - and if you want to see some of the world's biggest trees, then you should go to the National Park. There's also Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Redwoods, and Crater Lake, just to name a few.

    Does the food (meats, raw and/or deli) keep for a few days in a cooler? Would a cooler capable of that be very expensive?
    You can get a decent cooler for $20-30. I think it's actually easier to have 2 smaller coolers than one big one. As long as you're keeping stocked on ice, foods should keep as long as they would in a fridge - with meat you just have to be careful about contamination from cooler water. Plastic containers are helpful.
    I'm worried I'm naivety will come back to bite me here though. A lot of my trip will just be 'seeing the sights', filming the trip, enjoying nature and meeting new people .What is some other common 'entertainment' I might not be accounting for?
    Are you going to want to go to Alcatraz while in San Francisco? Up in the Space Needle while in Seattle? Go inside the Arch in St. Louis? Play a slot machine or some blackjack while in Vegas? Maybe do a brewery tour at some point? Even parking while in major cities to tour the sites could be factored in here. There are lots of things along the way you might want to do, but would cost money, and you should factor that into your plans.

  5. #5
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    Don't forget to budget for ice. At $2-3/bag for a 7 lb bag, it adds up in the budget for a 70 day trip!


    Donna

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