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Thread: USA Road Trip

  1. Default USA Road Trip

    Well, im planning on making a little road trip through the U.S pretty soon, and personally, I don't know much of what im getting into. I'm mainly travely too see the sights, and different cities/states this great country has to offer, so my budget and spending is going to be a bit tight. Im currently planning a travel route, and all that fun stuff, but im still ignorant as to what to expect, or what I should prepare for. So if anyone has any advice on travel tips, destinations, hotel accomadations, etc. Please, do tell. It would be very much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default More information

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Congrats on planning a roadtrip though the US, however you really didn't give us enough information to help you out.

    If you tell us where are you starting from and where are you going, How much time you have, how much you plan on spending, how old you are, the vehicle you plan on using for the trip, and the number of people you will be traveling with, and other such information, we will be much more able to give you some help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Welcome!

    Greetings, Mark, and welcome to the forums!

    You're question is so broad, that it's tough to answer. I would suggest simply poking around the other parts of the website and reading various articles. Look under the tabs at the top of the page. The "Roadtrip Planning" one should be especially helpful.

    Some general tips that might help you out are:

    1. A membership in AAA or some similar roadtrip trip assistance program can be invaluable if you have car problems along the road. And AAA has a wonderful selection of books and maps that are "free" with your membership. They also have a service called trip tick (sp?) that will help you route your trip. Even if you don't use the trip tick the way they lay it out for your trip, it can give you a lot of helpful information to help with your own planning. AAA also gets you discounts for various hotels, restaurants, and attractions. I figure the books and maps pretty much pay for the membership and any services and discounts, etc. are gravy.

    2. If money is tight, camping is certainly a great way to save money. Some folks even sleep in their cars. If you do this, you might sleep a truck stops like Flying J, etc. so that you're surrounded by activity and people up all night. It's safer and you will be near a bathroom, etc. They have showers for truckers and some of the truck stops will let you use the showers as well.

    3. Eating out of your cooler is another big cost-saver. Stock up at a full-size grocery, not a more expensive mini-mart, with sandwich fixings, fruit, cheese, etc. Whatever travels well. And water!! Especially if you're traveling where it's hot. This can easily save you hundreds of dollars on your trip and you can eat more healthy. It's also more fun to stop at a park and eat outside where you can walk and enjoy the scenery vs. sitting in a restaurant. Of course, it's still fun to eat in a restaurant every few days but then I can splurge on a fancy restaurant with excellent food and atmosphere instead of eating crap every day, you know?

    4. The best routes are the ones with the things you really want to see. Get out a big map of the US and mark the places you really want to go to. Then you can start getting a good idea of routes.

    5. Don't be too over-ambitious. Especially if roadtrips are fairly new to you. Unless you really like marathon-driving, shorten your trip but enjoy it more. It's better to have a 1,000 mile roadtrip and enjoy it than to go 2,000 miles and be tired, stressed, and not have enough time or money to enjoy the places you go through.

    6. Don't over-plan. In fact, some of the best roadtrips I've ever taken were those where we simply pointed the car in a direction and then went wherever our whimsy took us. Left or right? Flip a coin. This can lead to serendipitous discoveries and adventures.

    7. To reserve lodging or not....I only make reservations if I suspect that lodging might be tight. Like if I'm going to a big tourist attraction like Grand Canyon or something like that. Or if I'm arriving somewhere on a holiday weekend. I then keep close the information about that reservation including the cancellation policy. If something has delayed me or if I've changed my mind and decided to go a different direction, I then make sure I call for reservations before the cancellation time.

    8. If I suspect I'm going to end up for the night someplace where reservations will be tight, I get out my AAA guidebook or any other hotel directories I have on-hand (I typically carry a Motel 6 directory with me, too) and call ahead on my cellphone for reservations. I've even done it just a few hours ahead of when I figure I'll arrive. Again, I only do this if I suspect rooms might be hard to find. If someone is at home, I will sometimes call home and ask them to make my reservation on the internet. Especially with Motel 6 because their internet rates are always cheaper.

    9. Speaking of cellphones, don't leave home without one, imho. While I haven't gotten one yet, I am interested in getting a CB radio. Some of the most experienced road-trippers swear by them.

    10. As for safety, I think it's a good idea to have someone that you check in with regularly. I typically talk to family at home once or twice a day. Just for fun but also to let them know where I am. This is especially important if I change my route. I will let them know where I'm staying for the night, etc. If something should happen to me, it's a good idea for someone to know where you were last at. And just use your personal radar system that you use at home to keep yourself safe. In other words, don't be paranoid but also don't leave your common-sense at home. Make good choices about not going into dark alleys, you know?

    11. Make sure you stop least once every 2 hours or stretch your legs and get the blood flowing. Stop driving when you're tired. I've been known to take a 20-minute nap, or at least close my eyes and rest them break, during the day. If you find a nice park or beach, lay out a blanket and enjoy the sun and a good nap (keeping personal safety rules in mind).

    12. Go with the flow. Don't put yourself on such a tight time schedule that interruptions, traffic jams, construction, etc. stresses you out. Just go with it and enjoy the scenery while you're stuck in traffic. You may never get that way again, you know.

    13. If you suspect you're coming into a metro area during rush-hour, avoid it if possible. I will either look for a detour around the city, if possible and if I'm not planning on going into that city anyway, because I'd rather drive more miles and have them be fun than creep along on the highway. Or I will find a place for a picnic or a trail to hike or something else to do so I can have fun, explore, and get into the city after rush-hour should be winding down.

    Well, these are all the tips I can think of for new road-trippers off the top of my head. If you have any specific information you need for routes, locations, or any other questions, just ask. Someone here will know the answer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Budget issue

    Hi Mark,

    In addition to Judy's excellent suggestions, I'd take a peek at her tips on budgeting a trip and read this article about how to keep it cheap on the road.


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