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  1. Default A good question....

    Hello everyone,
    my name is kevin and i am new to these forums. I am in the early stages of planning a road trip throughout america. I am trying to iron out some of the big questions i have about such an endeavor. This is the first of probably many! Heh. I was wondering what do i do with my car in big cities? I mean, where can i store my car for a week or two in places like New York and Chicago? Any advice on what to do with my home on wheels while in the big city would be greatly appreciated. What did some of you road trippers do with your wheels?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just off the Top of my Head...

    While I've never had to do this, I think the first places I'd be looking at are the off-facility long-term parking lots near the airport(s). Not only is this what they're there for, the cost is usually reasonable and they offer connections to public transportation into the city.

    And welcome aboard the RoadTrip forum - ask away.


  3. Default LONG term road trips

    Hey guys,

    Ok, before i ask any questions let me explain what I am planning to do. I want to see the country. Not pass it going 70, but see all that i can see. I am willing to spend about 3-4 months on the road, and wish to traverse the entire country about twice. I want to hit a few of the major, quintessential american cities, but also save time and money for the vast expanses in between. I will sleep in my car probably two nights, then get a hotel on the third. Eating will be a mix of ice chest sandwiches, fruit, etc. and resturaunts. My car is a four cylinder that gets decent milage. Now to the questions.

    1. How much money do you guys think i might need, considering you are more familiar with how much it takes to road trip?

    2. What was your longest trip? What are the pros and cons of said venture?

    and finally

    3. This sounds like good fun, doesn't it ?!?

    Thanks for taking time to read this, and your expertise and advise are greatly appreciated. - Kevin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You're living my dream!

    I would love to have the time to do a trip like that. My longest roadtrip has only been 2 weeks. My hat is off to you and anyone else who is able to find a way to schedule an adventure like this.

    It does sound like fun!! And I can't think of any con. I suppose the only potential con might be if you're traveling solo. I love to travel solo but it might get kind of old after a few weeks? I don't know. I've never done been solo anywhere that long. Although this also means it's easier to strike up conversations with folks in restaurants and campgrounds and other places along the road. That can be a whole lotta fun! So, no, I'm not aware of any cons. As long as you have the time and money, go for it!

    Just for fun, I plugged in the following into MS Streets & Trips: a trip from Boston to Key West to San Diego to Seattle and back to Boston. This trip would be roughly 8900 miles. If you average 25mpg in your car, and gas costs, $2.75/gallon, you would need an absolute minimum of $915 for fuel. Obviously, this doesn't include sidetrips, explorations, etc. You could easily double your miles doing that so I would plan, at minimum, $2000 for fuel. I hope someone with more experience with a long trip like this will pipe in as they might have better advice.

    For lodging expenses, are you actually planning on sleeping in your car...and possibly doing this for free at truck stops, etc....or are you planning on camping? If you camp, you may not feel the need to stay in hotels much at all. Unless, of course, you're in a city where camping opportunities are poor or the weather is wicked. To figure out lodging expenses, I would take into consideration where I'm going, figure out how long I'll spend at various spots, and then decide whether I will be doing a hotel at that location or camping. An internet search should give you an idea of costs for hotels and campgrounds in those areas and help you come up with a budget for this.

    Food is obviously the biggest variable. If you're eating out of your cooler, you can have a lot of control over this. Quite likely, your expenses for eating won't be any more than they would be at home. After all, you have to eat wherever you are, right? I typically figure about $10/day for food. I rarely spend that much when I'm doing the eating out of a cooler thing. But it's nice to have a buffer in case it's hot and I want to splurge on a good ice cream treat or liquid refreshment at the end of a long day. But it's easier to be frugal for a week or two. You might want to bump that up to about $15/day so you don't have to be so frugal the whole trip. I budget an additional amount, separate from my normal frugal eating budget, for restaurant meals. I'd rather eat real cheap for 2-3 days and then eat out at a very fine restaurant, then eat at restaurants more often but only get mediocre food. I usually budget for these splurge meals separately in my entertainment budget.

    As for entertainment, definitely get a National Parks pass for $50. It will quickly pay for itself. Budgeting for entertainment is tough. The price of museums, tacky-tourist traps that I find hard to resist, etc. really add up. And there's always things like river-rafting trips, shows, what have you. And I love amusement parks. These things really add up fast. I can't really advise you here. You will just have to think about what you like to do and see if you can figure something out. If there are things you know you want to do, you might do an internet search for prices so you can determine whether or not you can cover these expenses and than add a good buffer for unidentified and serendipitious things.

    You might consider a AAA membership. It's good for breakdowns, you can get free guidebooks and maps, free trip-planning assistance, and the AAA card itself is good for discounts at lots of hotels and some restaurants and entertainment venues. You have to remember to ask if they have a AAA discount as it's not always posted. The savings can really add up.

    I look forward to hearing more about your planned itinerary/route. I'm excited for you!

  5. Default

    Thanks for the very thorough response, Judy!! So much good advice in there!

    I will definately look into AAA. My car is a bit older, and although it has proven to be a workhorse, it is better to be safe than stuck in the arizona desert (although i would welcome said adventure!).

    As far as traveling solo, im 85% sure that is what im gonna do. My thinking is that if i wake up one morning and want to head to (insert random place), then nothing will be stopping me. Plus it would force me to talk to other people, because im not the most outgoing person, and in a group setting, i tend to stick to people i know.

    My early estimate to do this trip is 6000. Im thinking the 2000 you suggested for gas, 2000 for food, and 2000 for loding and entertainment. I'm sure i can budget that for a while.

    Do you know if the national parks pass works for all parks?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It is a totally different dynamic

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin of Bauxite
    As far as traveling solo, im 85% sure that is what im gonna do. My thinking is that if i wake up one morning and want to head to (insert random place), then nothing will be stopping me. Plus it would force me to talk to other people, because im not the most outgoing person, and in a group setting, i tend to stick to people i know.
    I would recommend the solo approach. I have done it many types of ways, but as you point out, you will meet many more people if you are on your own. I, too, love the freedom of making routing decisions without the input of other people. I do at least one major solo trip a year, and take about 10-15 smaller ones as well during a normal year. My partner and wife, Megan Edwards, shares my appreciation for solo roadtripping and she also takes 2-3 significant solo trips each year.
    Do you know if the national parks pass works for all parks?
    The national park pass works for all national parks and if you get the additional sticker you will have access to all Federal preserves. State, Regional and local parks are independent of the Golden Eagle (NPS) pass. Click here for more information.

    Happy Planning!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default I'm so jealous!

    Hi Kevin,

    You're going to have a blast! I wish I could take as much time off to go on a nowhere trip like that.

    As far as traveling solo, im 85% sure that is what im gonna do. My thinking is that if i wake up one morning and want to head to (insert random place), then nothing will be stopping me. Plus it would force me to talk to other people, because im not the most outgoing person, and in a group setting, i tend to stick to people i know.
    Exactly! Because of all the reasons you mentionned, solo road tripping is one of my favourite ways to travel. I'm mostly an introverted person as well and solo travelling helped me a lot to come out of my shell. I am also a pretty hardheaded person from time to time and when I want to go somewhere and have a goal, I just do it! I don't want to wait in case somebody will want to come along, I just go for it (most of the time) and my stubborness helped me more than once to explore places I normally would never been by myself.

    Plus, road tripping gives you a new perspective on people. Everytime I dared to defy the stereotypes, it turned out to be a very positive experience and I met so many great people I never would have talked to if I have had a travelling partner. And you have the advantage of being a guy, that makes it a little bess worrying for safety issues!

    I'm sure i can budget that for a while.
    To stretch your budget a little, you should really try to sleep in your car if you're comfortable enough with the idea. You can use a little imagination to redesign the interior of your car to make it more cozy (blinds, camping fan, mattress, etc.), make sure you stay in relatively crowded areas (major truck stops, 24h parking lots), put ear plugs and you've earned a free night! For more info on how to save money on the road, read that article and that post.

    Have a nice trip!

  8. Default

    Editor - Thanks for the solo advice and the link to that pass. I am for sure going to snatch myself one of those! It will pay for itself in no time with the number of places im going to go. If you have one, do you have the additional tag on it?

    Gen - I have no qualms about sleeping in my car. As long as I am safe and warm, then im cool. My car has fold down back seats so im going to fold those down, lay down a mat and put a sleeping bag and a good pillow down. My ice chest will be close by. I am probably going to modify a sheet or something to help cover the windows, but im also going to leave my trunk insert thingy in, which will give me some additional cover. Have you traveled while sleeping in your car much?

    Thanks for all the great help guys!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I always get it

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin of Bauxite
    If you have one, do you have the [additional tag on it?
    I wouldn't recommend it, if I didn't use it myself. That is how everything works on RTA. If we recommend a book or any other product mentioned on this web site -- you can be assured that we own it and have used it.


  10. Default

    Ok, ill keep that in mind! Thanks!


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