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  1. #1

    Default first timer - the usual questions...

    ok so i have started planning my dream road trip for summer boyfriend and i are going to hit the open road and go from NJ to CA and back again. there was a million places i wanted to visit, but narrowed it down to this route:

    Start from NJ
    Stop at
    St. Louis
    Rocky Mountain N.P.
    Salt Lake City
    Yosemite National Park
    San Francisco
    drive down Big Sur
    LA/Hollywood, etc
    Las Vegas
    Grand Canyon NP
    Santa Fe NM
    Amarillo TX
    Oklahoma City
    Washington DC
    back to NJ

    Is doing this in 3 weeks feasible? I calculated the way there and came up with a week for driving, sleeping, and activities, but I didn't factor in meal and bathroom breaks. So I'm figuring it would also take a week to get back, and then the extra week would allow for a little extra time in CA, and a cushion for meals and whatever else i didnt figure in. We'd like to spend more time in Cali, Vegas, and maybe the NPs, but don't really want to spend more than a full day in the smaller cities. We'll be driving in shifts of course, and don't mind driving several hours at a time, though most of our stops are close enough together where we wont have to.

    I know this is hard to come up with but can any experienced road trippers tell me the rough cost of a trip like this? Car gets somewhere between 25-30 mpg, we'd be camping a least 3 times in the NPs and possibly other places along the way,and also staying with friends/relatives at least once, possibly 2 or 3 times, depending on who's around. we'd be eating some meals at fast food places, some at casual restaurants (think diners) but we'd also bring a cooler and stock up at supermarkets to keep cost down. I'm figuring that the "fun stuff" will cost less than $300 each; we are mostly visiting free and cheap attractions, and in places like SF and LA we will probably just sightsee on our own and explore the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Walk of Fame, etc. I'm thinking $1500 each right now, does that sound right? (I'm pulling that number out of nowhere by the way, haha)

    My last question is about hostelling. On the one hand it would be great to save some money, but on the other hand sharing a room with strangers seems a little sketchy. I've also heard that some are in bad neighborhoods. How safe are they, exactly? Are the majority of them seperated by sex?

    And speaking of, my Let's Go Roadtripping guide says that some Universities will offer housing to traveling students in the summer. Has anyone heard of this and know where I can get a list of the ones that do?

    sorry, i ramble on, any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Ambitious!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums.

    Your proposed trip is over 7100 miles at a minimum. It's possible to do that in three weeks. It is, in fact, possible to do it in less, but that's not really the point. The question is: How long would it take you to do this at an enjoyable rate? You can drive the 3500 miles or so each way in 6 or 7 days, but for the most part, that would leave you doing little more than viewing the great national parks through the windshield. Every day that you spend at places like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon is a day less that you get to spend on the west coast. You can count on taking two days to get from S.F. to L.A. by the Coast Highway. Take another full day each in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and you can see that you've pretty much used up every second that you have. All of that is perfectly acceptable, but this will NOT be a relaxed trip. For starters, then, I suggest that you and your boyfriend use our RoadTrip Compatibility Quiz to discover whether you're both on the same page for this trip.

    As to costs, one of our Moderators wrote a great post a while back that lays out most of the costs and variables associated with RoadTripping and would make a good place to start. Fuel costs are a big part of this and depend on your car's mileage and the cost of gas at the time.But you can test a range of these variables with our Fuel Cost Calculator. Finally, we offer a number of money saving tips in the Art of the Cheap RoadTrip. Sorry, but I just don't know much about Hostelling in the US or the availability of college dorms.

    The good news is that you have many months to alter and improve your plans. You might even want to think about taking a two or three day RoadTrip with your boyfriend to see how many miles you can comfortably cover in a day, how much you can see, and how well you do spending that many hours together in a very small space.


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