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  1. #1
    imported_Vicky Guest

    Default Road Trip hitting every state.

    Hey, I'm from England and in a year or two I'm planning to take a road trip across the whole of the USA (I know that's a long time away, but I've got to save some money first!) I was just wondering if anyone could give me an estimate on how many miles it would be to go through every state, visiting a few towns etc. I don't know if that's too random for you to judge? I'd just like to know, so I can plan how much money I'm going to need! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Planning a 50 states roadtrip

    it's hard to tell how much time and how much money, because it depends a lot on what you're expecting to visit and on how many hours you're willing to drive without putting too much pressure on yourself. And it also depends on how many time you've got for the whole trip and how many drivers are involved. Remember one thing though, the US is a huge country, and when I say huge, I mean really huge. You can drive for days within Texas and never cross the border to another State.

    Many Europeans come here and think they can go cross-country in 2 days and they're sometimes deceived because they couldn't stick to all their original plans. I don't know if you're used to drive for many hours on a daily basis, but I can tell you it is definitly a pretty ambitious trip for a first timer in the US! But if you're really willing to make it, then why not?:-)

    If you want to see the whole US, you have to consider that you're gonna have to fly to Hawaii (can't get there by car) and Alaska is pretty far north, so don't forget that on your budget! Personally I did a 3 weeks roadtrip and I only saw 30 states (sometimes went through it and sometimes just followed the border) but I was almost always driving. I would've love to visit more places and stay longer but I had a time limit.

    I stayed in cheap motel rooms (Motel 6, Interstate Inns, Mom & Pop motels) and I was driving a 2003 Cavalier and the whole thing costed me about 1 800-1 900$ US including souvenirs, entrance fees for museums, State Parks, etc. I don't know if it'll help you on budgeting... Of course, my trip could've been even cheaper if I stayed in campgrounds, official or not. If you're going to visit a lot of National Park, I suggest you buy an annual or 6 months pass, it cost only 50$ US and you have access to all NP and SP I think (someone tell me if I'm wrong). Going to only one NP will cost you 20 bucks, so the Pass will come handy after the second NP!

    Check out the post called "Lodging for the budget traveler" in the Gear Up section of the forum. It'll give you ideas on how to save on lodging. About saving on food and eating healthy you can read the post "Eating Healthy" in the Summer roadtrips section of the forum. You'll also find many posts about safety issues if you're a woman travelling alone. If so, don't worry the US is definitly safe, but of course, you have to be careful about certain things (bars, walking at night in a dark alley, accepting drinks/rides/gifts from strangers...) but that's just common sense for women in every country, right?

    If you want to have an idea of distances between A & B, go to and click on Driving Directions, it'll give you a great idea.

    Good luck on planning your trip!


  3. #3

    Default A big undertaking

    Hi Vicky,

    I ran a couple of different routes and to hit all of the 48 continental United States you are looking at about 12,000 miles. That's about 200 hours of just driving time. All will depend on how long you have to spend in the U.S. If you have a months time that means you will have to be averaging 400 miles and about 7 hours of just driving per day.

    You would be much better off not trying to hit every state, but insead select a route from one coast to the other and include some of the more scenic and intereting locations that the U.S. has to offer.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Sevierville, Tennessee, United States

    Default I've taken 2 50 state trips

    I've taken 2 separate 50 state trips since 2001 . The first was with 3 other family members, was acomplished in 2 months, and covered roughly 17,000 miles plus 2 plane trips ( Anchorage & Honolulu ) We saw many beautiful locales , some National parks, and met many new friends.
    Last year, my son and I were a bit more ambitious and visited all 50 in 8 days with 1 plane trip. ( Seattle to Maui and back in 12 hours). It was a fundraiser for fire victims in RI. We covered 49 states by driving 11,000 miles (7500 miles for the lower 48).
    The first trip cost the 4 of us roughly $12,000 and the second trip cost my son and I about $4,000.
    Feel free to contact me if you need any help planning your trip. As stated above, your pace will be determined by your own circumstances and experience with long distance driving. Good Luck!


  5. #5
    imported_Vicky Guest


    I have about a year to do this trip, January till Early December really. I'm not used to long distance driving... I haven't actually learned to drive yet - but I'm so determined to take this trip, I have wanted to do so for a long time so the driving won't be a problem. I've worked out that I have about 350 days (50 weeks) for this trip, meaning I can spend about a week in each state.

    How of a state do you think i can see in 7 days? I'm hoping to see as much as possible, especially in Tennessee, California, Florida and New York - the main places I want to go.

    Another question (might be a bit silly, but I have absolutely no idea!) - do you think it would be better for me to hire a car for this trip, or buy a cheap one once I get there? I would love to have a 1970 Caddilac Seville (any idea on a price for that car?) but I'm unsure which would be cheaper/better etc.

    Thanks so much everyone for all your help, you have helped alot!!

    From Vicky x

  6. #6


    For a one year roadtrip, it's better just to buy or lease a reliable car rather than renting. Renting can get very expensive for more than a couple weeks. The key word here is reliable, not cheap. Although there are a lot of affordable reliable cars here.

    A 1970's cadillac probably costs next to nothing, which is exactly how much it's worth. My family had a seville at one point, I wouldn't trust driving that to the grocery store without a mechanic in the trunk.


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