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  1. Default Are we out of our minds??

    After graduation, my best friend and I plan to take a massive road trip. From Ohio through Route66 to Santa Monica, and back via Vegas, Utah National Parks, Yellowstone, and Rushmore. We've budgeted about 14 days for the whole trip, although trip calculators have told us it should only take 11. Our obvious concerns right now are safety and money.
    How do two 18 year old girls stay safe on the road? I've read a few articles but any tips would be helpful.
    Also on saving cash, we're mostly camping or staying in hostels, and eating food via Walmarts along the way, occassionally stopping at a mom and pop place.
    If you have any tips on safety, or saving cash, or if this is even reasonable please share!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelina
    Our obvious concerns right now are safety and money.
    How do two 18 year old girls stay safe on the road? I've read a few articles but any tips would be helpful.
    Also on saving cash, we're mostly camping or staying in hostels, and eating food via Walmarts along the way, occassionally stopping at a mom and pop place.
    If you have any tips on safety, or saving cash, or if this is even reasonable please share!
    Life is not safe but that's no reason not to get out and see things. The single biggest item to work on is DON'T LOOK LIKE PREY! Don't dress, talk or behave like PREY.

    Two business-like young ladies who know where they are going (but don't tell strangers anything the strangers don't need to know) who watch each other's backs and have their eyes up and out (instead of being totally focused on the little jokes between companions) aren't prey. The self-confidence of having a plan, having a backup plan (for mechanical problems) having worked out how to handle scenarios between yourselves and keeping a travel plan going with a trustworthy source doesn't look like prey.

    The predators out there are like mountain lions. They stalk quietly from the shadows and look for clueless targets of opportunity who are careless and inattentive to the situation.

    See them before they see you and they'll probably slink off to capture somebody else as prey.

    It's a mindset more than anything else.

    noFanofCB
    (prey doesn't keep pepper spray ready at hand either :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default It Comes Down to Your Mindset

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    No, you're not crazy and young women make solo, cross country road trips every day. That notwithstanding, the questions of safety and budget come up with fair frequency on the forums, so let me point you to a few of the relevant threads (besides the ones that the software suggests at the bottom of this thread). For budget travel, be sure to start with the tips from a couple of our seasoned pros at the Art of the Cheap Road Trip. A couple of good threads on safety for travelling women can be found here and here.

    The bottom line is that any trip is, to a certain extent, what you make of it. Approach this as an adventure that, yes, while it needs planning and forethought, will be fun mixed with the unexpected, and that's most likely what you'll encounter.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    I thought of another question:
    When camping, what should we leave locked in the car? What should we keep with us? Overnight, and if we might go for food, etc. Any tips on not getting your car broken into/things stolen?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    You're looking at roughly 80 hours driving time to do this round-trip. Personally, I don't think 14 days is really enough. 3 weeks would be better. You could definitely drive it in 10 days but that's 8 hours per day in the car. You won't have any time to really explore things. If that's OK with you, go for it.

    I would consider dropping Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore off your itinerary. They take you a bit out of the way, add miles and hours of driving, etc. I would save them for another trip.

    As for safety/vehicle issues.....
    1. Do a search here for safety issues. There have been many discussions about this issue and you might glean some good ideas by reading through them.
    2. Join AAA. Great for when you have mechanical problems with your car, a flat tire, etc.
    3. Have good cellphone service and a car charger.
    4. Know how to do basic vehicle maintenance and how to check your tire pressure, oil, etc.
    5. Carry some basic things with you: good spare tire, tire-changing tools, emergency flashers and/or triangle, flashlights with extra batteries, basic tools (and know how to use them)
    6. Carry extra water, blankets, raingear (just a lightweight poncho or jacket would be fine)
    7. Maps for each area you plan to travel through and guidebooks. Know how to read them. (AAA is a great resource for free maps and books)

    Personal safety issues
    1. Have a basic itinerary and give this information to loved ones
    2. Hopefully your cellphone plan has free nationwide long-distance with no roaming charges so that you won't hesitate to use it. Keep your family informed of where you are. When you stop for the night, let them know where you are staying. Have a scheduled check-in time each day/
    3. As NoFanofCB said, keep your personal safety radar on. This doesn't mean that you have to be afraid or paranoid. Just be aware of your surroundings and use good common-sense....same as you would doing anything in your home town. Just kick it up a notch.
    4. Don't go anywhere with strangers (unless it's a group activity in public).
    5. I think it's best if you both/all have cellphones. You might want to spend some time alone exploring things and you will want a way to keep in contact with each other.
    6. I've never bothered with them but some people carry pepper sprays or small items that have a loud siren that you can press if needed to summon help.

    For saving money:
    1. Eat out of a cooler stocked with fruit, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, granola/protein bars, water, etc. (whatever healthy snacks you like) that can be re-filled at grocery stores along the way.
    2. Hostels can actually be more expensive per person than inexpensive hotels. Motel 6, Days Inn, Econolodge, Super 8 are just a few inexpensive motel chains that might be worth checking out.
    3. Camping....for young women I would suggest established campgrounds that aren't too secluded
    4. If you need to sleep in your vehicle, find a truck stop/travel plaza. Gen, a frequent solo traveler here, will go in and buy something and alert staff that she is sleeping in her vehicle so that they keep a bit of an eye on her. You might do a search for Gen's posts as she has a wealth of good info that you might find useful.

    If you've never travelled before, it might be a good idea to do a couple of weekend trips together before you go so you can work some of the kinks out before leaving on your big trip. This will also give you ideas of what you need to learn to be safe, and will probably also make your parents more comfortable with the idea of a longer trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Kelina,

    When camping, what should we leave locked in the car?
    Any bag or cooler that contains food and anything you used to cook food (ex. : camp stove), unless you want small (ex. : squirrels) or big visitors (ex. : bears) during the night. Any valuables.

    What should we keep with us?
    A whistle to scare animals away, kleenex, flashlight, pepper spray/personal alarm or small knife, air pump for your mattress if you have an air mattress, warm clothes, hat, gloves and scarf (for when it gets cold and humid in the morning), warm clothes, ear plugs if you need them.

    I always put a canvas sheet under the tent to neutralize humidity. I also use a candle lantern designed specifically for camping. you can hang it in your tent half an hour before going to sleep to eliminate humidity and to warm up the tent a little bit. It's also very handy for candle light dinners, it's more pleasant than a flashlight and the glass protects the flame from the wind.

    Any tips on not getting your car broken into/things stolen?
    Just use the same tips you use at home : never leave the doors unlocked or the windows opened, put as much stuff as you can in the trunk or at least out of sight (ex. : under the seats), if possible try to park your car in well lit public areas.

    Judy already gave you very great advice so I won't repeat it all over:o)

    Happy planning!
    Gen

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    I've moved cross country many times, and have never had a problem with items getting stolen... same goes with camping. For the most part, although it's a broad generalization, those that go camping really aren't big into crime. Just lock any valuables in your car, and don't leave anything out in your tent that is very valuable.

    Another way to save money, I found on my last trip, is making a big bag of Road Trip Trail Mix: You can add what you want, but here is my basic "cascadian" style:
    Large canister of Cocktail Peanuts
    Bag of Sunflowerseat Kernels
    Raisens... lots of them!
    A medium bag of M&M's...
    Feel free to add dried fruits and walnuts, etc. Makes a great snack!

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