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  1. Default Boston to Los Angeles One-Way Roadtrip in October 2016 - Advice & Insight Please?


    Hoping to get some advice/insight about planning my FIRST cross country road trip. I will be transitioning to California and wanted to drive over and make it an adventure instead of something tedious. I don't necessarily have a time frame other than that this will be happening in October and that I want to limit the amount of driving to 13-14 days, with breaks and stops in between.

    What can I expect for weather conditions? Should I be going further south during this time? Route suggestions?

    Approximate budget I should be planning for?

    I'll be driving my 2006 Mazda which is pretty well maintained. It's an older car though so I plan on getting it serviced for the road before leaving. Any tips on maintaining a car for continuous driving?

    Also, I'm looking to try amazing foods and to stop and experience culture and geography, so any recommendations would be very appreciated!
    Last edited by Ms Silly; 05-20-2016 at 07:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So many options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With a couple of weeks for a cross country trip you have time for some exploring but the possibilities would be in there thousands so it's tough to make meaningful suggestions other than to do some research and see what places really grab your attention. Once you have a few dots on the map we can help fill in the gaps and make suggestions.

    October can be a lovely month to travel but it's impossible to predict weather this far in advance. Planning to drive south to avoid bad weather is not worth considering until a day or 2 before you travel. It's quite possible you will drive into poor weather and miss the sunshine further north !! You should have no real issues so I would plan on going where you want but one word of warning is that winter can come early to places like Yellowstone National park. Colorado, Utah and Arizona are wonderful States to explore although in Colorado you will again need to watch the weather forecasts, especially at high elevation.

    As for the car, if it is serviced and checked over for a long trip, all you will need to do is check the fluids and top up where necessary, including screen wash. It's always worth carrying some oil, water and screenwash with you. Just make sure they know you are doing a long trip when inspecting so they can look at brakes and belts as well and check that the spare is in good order and it is at the correct pressure as well as those being used. Having roadside assistance package such as AAA is also a good idea, just in case.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default So Far, So Great

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    For someone planning their first major RoadTrip, you've done an amazing job setting out the basic parameters of a great one. Plenty of time, a relaxed approach, attention to your equipment, and a desire to learn more both before and during your trip. So, let me first address the concerns you raise and then offer a suggestion on how to proceed from here.

    As to the weather, October is generally early enough that snow should not really enter into your planning. It may occur certainly, but it can occur anywhere. Going 'south' is no guarantee that you'll miss a freak fall storm. Your best defense against having to drive in unsafe conditions is just to have enough time to sit out any inclement weather, let the road crews do their jobs, and get back on the road once the sun is out again. You also might want to be on or near an Interstate for crossing the Rockies as those roads get first priority during any storm.

    Once you have a route, you can compute a likely budget for fuel here. Lodging costs are a bit up to your own style of travel but generally range from about $40/night at the very low end to about $100/night at the upper end. The same is true (there's a range) for food costs, but is you really want to sample local cuisine, you should budget a bit more than the basic 'eat-out-of-a-cooler' minimum. As a rough rule of thumb, I generally budget about $125 for food, lodging and incidentals (not fuel) when I'm RoadTriping solo, and I travel at a mid-range level of comfort.

    Your car should serve you well. If it has shown no major problems to date and you've recently had it inspected and serviced, then you're as prepared as you can be. Remember that highway miles are a lot easier on your car than the stop and go of urban commuting.

    Now for more planning. First, get yourself a good large scale map of the entire U.S. as well as a decent atlas. Start marking places that you would really like to see on your tans-continental journey. Once you have five to ten major sites start connecting the dots (and sadly dropping one or two that don't connect well) and start looking for smaller venues along those connections. Plan on spending a fair amount of time on smaller, non-Interstate roads so as to get some local color and find those eating establishments that you absolutely won't see at Interstate exit ramps. Remember that, especially in the Midwest and West, the 'old' U.S. highway system often has speed limits only slightly lower than the Interstates and nowhere near as much traffic as you are used to at home - they make excellent cross country routes. Once you have a basic route that suits you, come on back and we can offer specific suggestions for improvements/additions/deletions. But as I say, you've done a very good job so far - just keep it up.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Accommodation.

    This plan does not sound anywhere near as silly as your username suggests. You will be in for a great time.

    Two hints to add to Dave's, while at AAA pick up maps of all the States you plan to traverse, and maybe the adjoining states as well, in case of a change of plans. You will see so many more routes than you ever will on a little (or not so little) screen and scenic routes are highlighted. AAA maps are free to members. You will be needing them on the road, so may as well have them for planning. Don't be tempted to rely on a GPS for the complete trip. They are fine for locating addresses in urban areas, and then sometimes get that wrong as well.

    When booking into a hotel/motel, always ask to see the room before committing. Besides the usual, check that the smoke detector has not been disabled, and that the door has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside, such as the chain/bolt lock. And as you are travelling on your own, don't overlook hostels, as they can often be a more budget friendly bed for the night, with lots of benefits thrown in.


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