5 days and low cash...
I've got 5 days next week that I'd like to spend somewhere besides sitting on my butt in CT. I have a friend that's willing to go for a long drive with me, but I'm not sure where we could go in 5 days that would be rewarding. We're also way strapped for cash (which I don't mind blowing the little I have in my bank account for something like a road trip, but my friend is a little more money paranoid than I).
So anyone have any suggestions? I want to go west somewhere. I've been all over New England, and while it is nice I want to see something different.
Any idea where we could go and enjoy ourselves quite a bit in 5 days?
Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!
I have found many of the state roads in New York to be quite enjoyable - you could also head out to Eastern Ohio or South to Virginia. What are you planning for lodging? It is still a little bit early for many campgrounds if you are thinking of going that route, though I'm sure with a little bit of persistence you will be able to find a place to stay.
Your friend's paranoia about spending cash on the trip may become a sticking point, something you may also want to consider, since you'll be in this together.
At any rate, this is a great time to head out on the road to places that might otherwise be crowded in the Summer. What are your interests? How many hours a day are you planning on spending on the road?
See I'm wicked laid back, so I don't care if I sleep on the side of the road. lol I hadn't put much thought into it because that's how I am. I'll stay just about anywhere, or I'll even sleep in my car (unless it's unsafe. I'd like to think I'm not a total idiot, but... yea lol).
I kind of just want to drive and see stuff I've never seen before. I'm not really sure how long I'd spend driving. Personally, I wouldn't mind spending a majority of the time driving--stopping here and there to take pictures, eat, whatever. I guess I'm kind of looking for a long drive to just get away--and see some stuff while I'm out. Not a lot of planning going into it. I'm just looking for cool things to see that a lot of people overlook because of the real touristy stuff (which I wouldn't mind seeing, but there's something about the unappreciated stuff that I really get into).
And as far as hours in the car, my friend and I could swing switching off sleeping and driving if necessary because we've done it before. But I mean, that's if we need to get somewhere. I guess I'm not really looking for a final destination. Just a general direction to travel in where I could see some cool stuff, and then turn around and head home or something. lol
The easiest way, then, is to travel in a direction for two days, look around for a day, then travel back in two days. I took a four day trip a couple of years ago from MA to KY, solo, and it was one of the most enjoyable trips I've ever taken. Other than one appointment, I had no other engagements, so I was able to travel around the state and county roads, try some different cuisine, and enjoy the scenery. There was no real budget, though I did know what to expect. That trip cost $364.52 in total, with a day of sleeping in the car, and really not eating all that much.
Originally Posted by burtonbella149
Now, about sleeping in the car. It's not overall a great idea (that said, many of us have done it). The "side of the road" plan is most likely to get you in trouble with the local police force, or, worse, the landowner. I would stick to campgrounds in this regard.
Yea. That's what I was thinking of doing. I'm just worried about my companion being a little moody about not having a destination. So perhaps I'll just go alone. :-) lol
Thanks for all the suggestions!
You don't need a campground
If saving money is crucial and you don't mind sleeping in your car, you can do what one of our moderators (Gen) does. She sleeps in truck-stops along the way. Do a google for Pilot truck stops, Flying J, and TravelCenters of America. These are 3 of the major truck stops that I'm aware of. Anyway, you can find out the locations this way or you could just look for them while you're on the road. Make sure it's a 24-hour place so someone is always on-site. Gen will go in and buy something and let them know that she's sleeping in her car but this isn't really necessary. Truckers will often spend the night there.
Truck stops usually have a mini-mart, restaurant, nice bathrooms, and even shower facilities for a small fee. Some restrict use of showers to truckers but others will let other people use the showers, particularly if they're not busy with truckers at the moment.
Anyway, this is a safe, free option. But it can be a bit noisy with all the big rigs around as some leave their trucks running.
Another major way to save is to eat out of your cooler. Raid your pantry and supplement with food from a grocery store, not a more expensive mini-mart. Some of the types of things I pack: fruit, sliced veggies, cheese, crackers, bagels, cream cheese, protein bars, nuts, granola, jerky...generally whatever you like that is easy to pack and prepare quickly. You could bring sandwich makings if you want. A few cheap plastic utensils and paper plates/bowls and you can make a lot of different. I often only eat in restaurants every 2-3 days for a treat and feel satisfied with the food and variety. Add a case of water and you're set.
Maybe if you share these money-saving ideas with your friend, she'll be on-board. If not, a solo journey can be real hoot. Just get in the car and see which way it wants to go. Meander. Explore any new road that looks enticing. Enjoy!
Spring for a used one-two man tent(should be under 50 bucks) and sleeping bags (20). They're pretty easy to set up and break down. If you get a bare bones minimum to stay at a campsite you'll save a lot of money.
You have to budget fuel and figure out which states are more expensive than others. Always remember that going a few miles in to a town will save money. Map it out. You should be able to find info for rest stops and gas stations.
Any time I've slept in the car, I've stopped sleeping at rest stops, went into suburbs and parked in places that wouldn't raise eyebrows, not directly in front of a house if I can help it and I'll crash out from 11PM to 4:30-5 AM, and be gone by the crack of dawn. Rural areas can be hit and miss, depends on the sheriff. Be ready to have extra money for fines. Never oversleep, stock up on wet wipes, a couple of gallons of water, and basic toiletries.
You can't be money paranoid and do a trip like this because a lot of things can happen, at least have AAA Premium in case you get stuck.
Sometimes you can pick up a day job somewhere and have some money. Might be menial work but it's cash in hand. Make sure your car is in good running order and the fluids are filled.
For a getaway like that I'd stick within 12 hour travel distance. From there you have Myrtle Beach to the south and Detroit and Chicago to the west.
Canada for something different
One of the places we've always wanted to go, until other projects got in the way, was eastern Canada-New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, etc.
It used to be somewhere to go cheap because of the difference in currency, but not any more. Still, it might be a good place for something different that is within 5 days of Connecticut. Using the ferry from Maine to NS may be a good way to shave some time, but not dollars.
Let us know where you decide to go, and how it went.