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  1. #1
    Sister Jules 'n' crew Guest

    Default Trippin across Cali- Mammoth to SF down coast to SD

    Hi everybody
    My friends and I are planning a roadtrip for the summer after we graduate high school. We are going to fly from Toronto, ON to Reno, NV. Then drive to Mammoth Lakes and snowboard for a couple days. Then drive west to San Fran, passing through Yosemite. Stay San Fran for a week then go south, hitting all the beaches on the coast to surf untill San Diego and then fly home.

    We hope to do this in a month and we hope to rent a van that will seat 8 and luggage. We plan to stay in hostels and buy food as cheaply as possible.

    My question is how much money should each of us plan to budget and if anyone has done a similar trip some tips would be nice.

    Thanks so much.

  2. #2

    Default Biggest problem

    is the van rental -- if you are under 21, no one much will rent to you. I searched for Reno, and found only one agency that had a full size van, 15 seats, 8 suitcase capacity -- the cost was $1600 + taxes and fees for one month, but they won't rent to anyone under 21. It was the only agency Travelocity referred that even had a full size van -- a mini won't do it for you and they (meaning nobody in Reno) didn't have the intermediate size at all. Hotwire didn't pull anything up either. It is possible in SOME markets to find an agency that will rent to you (as a minor); there will be restrictions and the costs would be higher, but there may not be any such place in Reno (it is a smaller market and this is hard to find even in a large saturated market).

    If you do locate a van you can rent, that size vehicle won't get very good mileage, and gasoline is high in the USA right now. I figure the fuel costs for this trip would be at least $300 (@15 mpg). It's about 1800 miles.

    Food, I figure $26 USD per day for restauarants/fast food, less if you eat from the brown bag and ice chest. How much less is up to you and your diet. Figure out what you'd eat, then go to the store and check out the prices for those items. That'll give you a ballpark figure that you can apply for each day. If you're active, don't sell yourself short on nutrition -- you need to fuel your bodies (for surfing and snowboarding and all that), so you can't scrimp on food.

    You should be able to find hostels in most of the places you are planning. These places book up fast in the California summertime, so reserve as early as you can. You won't get hostel beds if you don't. Costs are mostly between $15 and $30 USD per bed if you are a member, slightly more if you're not. Keep in mind that for several people, you could also rent cheaper motel rooms for near the same costs or even less (2 rooms at 4 people to a room). It will be easier to get lodging in such places if you have a credit card to use -- since you are young you might be looked on as a higher risk by some. It may help if you all look fairly respectable! :)

  3. #3
    Sister Jules 'n' crew Guest

    Default thanks bob

    thanks bob for your research and advice. You raised a good point about the fact that we are minors and unfortuneatly we are deemed to be higher risk. The renting of the van seems to be the biggest issue as you stated.
    I'm wondering if this ageny (the one you said which had a 15 seater but won't rent to minors) will negotiate if we call them in advance and set up an arrangement or insurance, something which will make them less hesitant about us being minors. If you think something along those lines will work, please bless us with your knowledge :)
    If there is no way around this van rental situation, then would it be ridiculous to rent one in Toronto (where we're from) under our parents name and then drive it to Mammoth and on from there?
    Too expensive? Not worth it? or good idea..??
    Just some questions :D if you can't find the answer, no worries, just seemed a knowledgeable source!! :)
    Thanks again.
    Jules n' crew

  4. #4

    Default Try it

    I'd try the first suggestion you spoke of -- call around in Reno and see if you can get someone to do it (I found that one with, but you might try looking online for yellow pages listings for Reno and see what else you can come up with).

    Renting in Toronto won't work UNLESS you find someone who WILL rent to you at your age -- if your parents rent, at most agencies there will be stipulations that no one under 21 drive the van, etc, and if you violate the rules, their coverage and perhaps even your own insurance will not cover you (and this could result in a huge "disaster").

    If you can find an agency that will rent to you in Toronto as an 18 year old, perhaps with your parents backing you up, then you want to find an unlimited mileage deal or else the extra miles charges will KILL you! I don't know, but Toronto could be an easier market to find something than Reno (try them both?). Bob

  5. #5
    Sister Jules 'n' crew Guest

    Default buy?

    I was talking to some other sources and it was suggested that maybe we should buy a van (in Toronto) and then drive the whole way to Mammoth......ending in San Diego and then driving another route home.

    Also I was thinking maybe to sell this van in SD and then fly home.... or as said, drive back on another route.

    The bad thing about driving all the way is that it would probably take more than a month, which means it would be that much more expensive, and that much money lost when we could be working back home.

    It's certainly possible if it's the only way to do it, I'm just wondering your take on this. Flying? or Driving? which is cheaper... more do able?

    Thanks a million.
    Julie -- and crew.

  6. #6

    Default Maybe a good choice

    First, you'd have to be able to come up with the funds to buy the vehicle. If you get a really good deal on a lower mileage van, you might actually be able to do this for little out-of-pocket costs once you re-sell it -- or at least the costs could be less than renting.

    My suggestion is to shop around and see what kind of deals can be found, then add your expected mileage and see what the thing would be worth after the trip (you can use one of the online auto-pricing services like to try to get some ideas. The best solution is that you'd be able to sell the vehicle privately after the trip rather than wholesale it.

    The extra driving will cut down on the recreational time by about 7-8 days -- but if that's the only way you can make it work, I'd say it is worth it. And you'll enjoy the journey coming and going anyway. But do your homework first -- to find out if this is feasible, you need to do the math on the vehicle purchase (and find out what other costs it will involve (license, registration, insurance), etc.

  7. #7
    Sister Jules 'n' crew Guest

    Default or this third option...

    Thanks for your input Bob,

    so far we have discussed two options (fly rent fly back) and ( buy drive drive- back sell)

    Another idea has come about among us and it is to take a bus fro, T.O. --> Reno, then bus to Mammoth, stay there for an few nights, bus Mammoth --> SF, then rent a car in SF and drive the way down the coast as planned and fly home.

    We thought that the market in San Fran is bigger than Reno for renting and this way busing might be cheaper (no gas cost for that part)

    what's your take? which of the three is the most ideal? most do able? makes most sense? any other options?

    Thanks Bob, you're helping us more than you know!
    Jules and crew


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