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  1. Default East Coast to West Coast

    Hey everyone, completly new to this so let me do a quick intro. I'm an 18 year old male, and me and five friends are planning on doing a road trip for our senior trip this summer. We're looking to go from Georgia to around Sacremento in July. My friends are figuring out expenses, but I don't completly trust their math skills, so I have a quick question for anyone who may have made a similar trip before. We're getting a rental car, staying in inexpensive motels, and cooking a good portion of our meals. My friends say they have figured the cost to be $350 a person (five people), and that should cover food, lodging, gas, rental car, and spending money for an 9-11 day trip. Is this feasible at all? Are they even close?

    Also, I was wondering if there are any sights along the way that we should stop and see? We honestly are not afraid at all to go a little (well..maybe even whole states) out of the way to see America. The trip is the fun part for us, so we want to see as many interesting/fun things as possible. Thanks for taking time to read this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Sorry, No

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your budget simply is not up to the task. Let's start with some basics, assuming you're going to be on the road for 10 days.

    Car Rental: The best deal I could find out of Hartsfield will let you rent a full sized car for 10 days with unlimited mileage for $281. Let's call that $300 and only deal in round figures. BUT that's before adding on underage driver surcharges of $25/driver/day. Let's say that only two of you do all the driving and the other three are content to stay cooped up in the back seat, with an occasional turn riding shotgun. Add $500. Total: $800

    Motels: Let's say you stay in Motel 6 type establishments and are willing to sleep 5 in 2 beds and share one shower between all of you. You're still looking at $50/night. Total: $500

    Gas: You will need a somewhat largish car, and you will be loading it up pretty heavy, but let's say that you can still manage with careful driving to squeeze 20 mpg out of it. Let's also say that you do no side trips since you really won't have time for any anyway, but just stick to the Interstates day after day, get to Sacramento, turn around and come back. Let's also be optimistic and say gas doesn't go over $3.00/gal by summer, even though it's already $2.70 here. 5000 miles at 20 mpg and $3/gal Total: $600

    So at this point you'll need to spend $1900 just to make the drive and you've only got $1750 in the budget. And we haven't even talked about food, admissions to any sights. or anything fun. Sorry, but you need to be a good bit more realistic in your planning to make this work.


  3. Default

    See I knew it. I keep trying to tell these guys there is no way its going to work on this budget, but they insist it will. Thank you for clearifying the expenses. We will still make the trip, but now I can tell them it will have to be more. If anyone can still recommend places to visit/see along the way, please tell me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default More problems

    I'm in total agreement with what Buck has already said, just let me add one more thing.

    Its entirely possible that you will not be able to rent a car for a journey such as this. Most places require you to be at least 21 to rent (anything under 25 gets a surcharge usually), so it will be a challenge to find a car in the first place. Even if you do find someone that will rent to an 18 year old, I doubt they will allow you have multiple drivers under 21 and the very well might not let you take the car out of state.

    I would also recommend getting at least a minivan for 5 people, since even in a large car, three people in the back seat isn't that fun after a couple of full days on the road. Minivans are often considered premium rental vehicles which means they cost more and often times are not available to under 25 drivers.

    Your time frame also doesn't leave much room for exploration. Generally speaking, you need 5 days to make it from coast to coast, and thats with full days on the road. Planning 9-11 days means you'd drive to california and would have to immediately turn back around and head for home.

    As great as the cross country road trip is, sometimes its sounds more romatic than reality, and if you set your sights too high sometimes they simply become unattainable. This might be a case where you'd have a better time planning a trip that is closer to home, but more likely to happen within your current limitations.

  5. Default

    Just to add on, one of my friends mom's is actually renting the car. Thanks for the replys thus far though!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I don't think that matters

    The rental agency is going to want to know who the drivers are. If your friend's mom rents it and says she's the driver but you have car problems or some kind of incident during your trip that requires you to contact the rental agency, they will know she's not with you. This could cause you serious problems. Or your friend's mom serious problems. Or both. I wouldn't advise it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Echoing Judy

    Having someones mom rent the car doesn't matter. You still have to tell the company who will be an authorized driver, and most rental car companies will not allow people under 21 to drive their cars.

    If your names are not on the rental agreement, then driving the car would essentially be just like driving a stolen vehicle - even if the mom give you permission - since the cars owner hasn't given you permission to drive it.

    If you don't have permission to drive a car, the insurance is generally void, so if you got into an accident, you would have zero coverage and you or the mom would be required to pay for any and all damages out of pocket.

    If you got pulled over and the cop discovered your names weren't on the rental agreement, you could be spending some quality time at a courthouse while the mess gets straightened out.

    And as Judy has mentioned, if you have a mechanical problem on the road, don't count on the rental company to be any help unless an authorized driver is with the car.

    So, I think you still very much have a problem with your plan to rent a car. You might be able to find one that will allow you to rent at age 18, but you are going to have to look beyond the major chains and expect to pay a very high price.

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