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  1. Default Two Teachers need help with road trip homework

    Hi Everyone,

    We have been planning a 48 day cross-country road trip starting from the Boston area. We have been using this site as a resource and would appreciate any criticism, input, and/or advice that you can give us on our trip plans.

    Here's what it looks like so far:

    July 5: leave home, drive to Gettysburg, PA (stay in hotel) 447 miles
    July 6: Gettysburg
    July 7: Drive to Smoky Mountains N.P. stay in hotel that night
    July 8-10 Smoky Mnts. (camping.. leave on 10th for Nashville, TN)
    July 10-12: Nashville TN (hotel)
    July 13: Begin drive to Austin TX. On way stop in Memphis to see Graceland, continue driving to Hot Springs, AR (total driving miles 400)
    July 14: take dip in hot springs, leave to Austin (488 miles)
    When get to austin stay in hotel for that night
    July 15-17: camp around Austin, TX
    July 18: go to San Antonio, TX. begin long drive to Tucson, stay in hotel
    July 19-20: Reach Tucson, AZ stay with family
    July 21: Leave Tucson, drive to Grand Canyon National Park (340 miles)
    July 22-23: grand canyon (camp)
    July 24:Leave the Grand Canyon head to Disneyland (hotel)
    July 25: DISNEYLAND (hotel)
    July 26: drive to San Jose, CA (stay with friends)
    July 27-29: San Jose / San Fransisco (stay with friends)
    July 30: Drive to Redwood N.P. (hostel)
    July 31- Aug 1: Redwood N.P. (hostel)
    Aug 2: Drive to Yosemite (camp)
    Aug 3-5: camp at Yosemite
    Aug 6: Travel day, drive toward Yellowstone, stay at hotel
    Aug 7: Arrive at Yellowstone (camp)
    Aug 8-12: Yellowstone N.P. (camp)
    Aug 13: Drive to Mt. Rushmore (stay in hotel)
    Aug 14: Day at Mt. Rushmore (hotel)
    Aug 15:Long Drive to Lincoln, NE (family stay)
    Aug 16-17: Lincoln NE (family)
    Aug 18: Leave for Chicago, IL (hotel)
    Aug 19: Spend the day in Chicago, IL (hotel)
    Aug 20: Leave Chicago for Niagara Falls (534 miles)
    Aug 21: Spend day in Niagara Falls
    Aug 22: Drive to Boston, MA

    Some questions that we have are:
    should we reserve the campsites at the NP or will we be able to get sites the day we arrive?
    are these reasonable drives?
    any recommendations on specific camping areas in the NP?
    should we reserve hotels on hotwire/priceline in advance?

    Thank you in advance for your suggestions/ comments.
    We will start another thread for our budget, feel free to comment on that as well. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default What fun!

    I think you've done a pretty good job planning this.

    Just a few things that jump out at me are:
    * If you're doing Anaheim to San Jose in one day, you will need to stick to I-5 and miss the beautiful coastal drive. You might want to find a way to add a day here and enjoy the coast over a 2-day drive.
    * I couldn't do Disneyland in just one day. It's just too fun. One day would be almost like just teasing me. I've never gone for less than 3 days. And Universal Studios is also a great theme park. I would try to add some time here...if it were me. If you're not as into the rides and Disney experience as I am, then I suppose one day could do it. Still, there are other things in Los Angeles worth seeing. It seems to shame to not spend a few more days here.

    Definitely reserve campsites in the national parks. And do it ASAP. While most national parks seem to have some campgrounds that are reservable and others that are first-come/first-served, you could spend several hours trying to get into a non-reserved campground. Why waste the time driving in circles trying to get one?

    I think I would only bother with reserving your hotel in the Disneyland area. You'll be just fine finding the others along the way without needing reservations. While there are hundreds of motels near Disneyland and I'm sure you could eventually find a vacancy, like camping in national parks, why waste your precious time driving around to find one?

    To help you plan your budget, you might find some useful tips at this post.

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Graduate School

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    That is one very ambitious plan. At just under 9000 miles total, you will have to average 200 miles a day, day after day after day..... It shows in some of the days of driving you have planned so that you can have some time at the sights you want to see along the way. While no one day's drive raises any serious alarm bells, The accumulated stress of having to cover so much ground is going to start to take its toll on both of you. Make sure that you schedule some serious down time (preferably where the two of you can pursue separate interests) during your stops at various places along the way. The interior of a car is a very small space to share for a month and a half.

    That said, your trip is well planned. Since it is so well set up and you know where you'll be when (especially important when you're planning to 'drop in' on people), then by all means book your accommodations ahead. This is especially important if you want to stay in some of the more popular national parks in July and August. You simply cannot count on finding any camp sites if you just show up. While it's not as critical to pre-book motels, there's no point to spending more than you have to. I have always been able to do better by pre-booking and using services like Priceline and Hotwire.

    There's no need to start a separate thread for budgeting. In fact it would be more useful to the other 'students' who use this site if all aspects of this trip were discussed in the same thread.


  4. Default Budget for the teachers' trip

    Thank you for the quick replies! We are considering your suggestions. We will post our budget here as was suggested. We’d like any and all input the forum could give. A couple specific questions: Are we way off on any of our figures? Are we missing something?

    Gas: $1,575
    11,000 miles (8,800 for actual mileage plus 25% extra) x 28 mpg (98 Toyota Corolla) x $3.75/ gallon (hopefully at most) = $1,475 + $100 for tolls (???)

    Lodging: 48 nights - $1,800
    Camping: 21 nights x $25/night = $525
    Hostels: 3 nights x $49/night = $147
    Hotels: 15 nights x $75/night = $1125
    Friends + Family = 9 nights x 0 = 0

    Food: $2256
    Breakfast: $4 (cereal/fruit or free at hotel/family) x 48 days = $192
    Lunch: $12 (sandwiches in the car/cheap eats like subway) x 48= $576
    Dinner: $25 (often cooking/occasional restaurants) x 48 = $1200
    Snacks/etc: $6 x 48 = $288

    $40/day x 48days = $1920
    We will be going to many national parks (already have season pass), but we recognize that some days we will be spending money on entertainment. We think this figure is a good average.

    Total Budget: $7550

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Looks good!

    You are good planners! Both your itinerary and your budget look pretty good to me! Congrats on that.

    Just a side note, I agree with AZBuck that internet rates are almost always cheaper than what you can get when you just drive up. And since you do have such a well-defined itinerary, you might as well make reservations and save the money. However, you might also want to allow yourself some flexibility on the road. For me, sticking to a tight itinerary takes it's toll pretty quickly and I'd want to do something off-plan just for the heck of it. Think of it like playing hooky. LOL

    So that's something you might want to consider. If you make on-line reservations, make note of the cancellation policy (how much notice to get your money back is needed). You can always make the reservation but cancel if you think you might want to.

    Your budget really looks great. I would only comment on a few things:
    * Gas - I have heard a lot of rumblings that gas might be $4 a gallon this summer. I would budget for that myself. If it's high, then you just added to your fun money.
    * It looks like your meal budget is based on doing some cooking while camping and staying with friends, and some eating out. Because of that, your prices are probably about as close as can be anticipated ahead of time. We advocate eating out of your cooler while on the road. You might want to do this as much as possible. You can get far more creative than just sandwiches. This post might give you some other ideas.

  6. Default California Coast drive

    I agree with Judy about the Disneyland to San Jose drive.

    I've done the I-5 Orange County to San Francisco drive many, many times and it's boring at best. Try to fit another day (at least) in there and use the 101 out of LA north. Then cut over to Route 1 any time south of San Luis Obispo (there are several routes over the coastal range) and go through San Simeon and up to Monterey/Carmel through Big Sur. That is one of the most amazing driving highways you've ever been on. You're lucky too, 'cause going north you are generally on the "inside" lane, i.e. not perched over the cliff looking down at the rocks and ocean below. Great fun! But you will often be going slowly, maybe 30-40 mph, so factor that in to the drive time.

    Check this link out for details on the Big Sur drive:

    One last note: any time you are leaving Orange County for the north through LA proper, you must take note of major traffic times or you may miss your targets by an hour or more. Afternoon (3-7pm) is the worst hands down. Early morning is better, but you have to get up pretty early to beat the hard core LA commuters (like 5 am!). Mid day is decent, but be prepared for some pretty good traffic but at least it moves. The best time is late night, but that is often logistically difficult. Anyhow, not to overdo the point, just keep it in your planning.

    Enjoy the trip!

  7. Default Yosemite or Redwood National Park.. that is the question

    We only have time to visit either Yosemite or Redwood National Park before we head to Yellowstone for a week. We would be spending 4 nights at one of the parks. At this time, we are leaning toward Redwood National Park. Do you think there is one that is definitely more important to see before we head out of California?

    Thank you for your advice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Not much a choice for me!

    Quote Originally Posted by bethandjim View Post
    We only have time to visit either Yosemite or Redwood National Park before we head to Yellowstone for a week.
    If you only have time for one national park in California -- make it Yosemite! Here is our review of one of the best guidebooks to Yosemite published in recent years. (Look at those photos on that page....)

    Redwood NP will have considerably less people -- so it really comes down to what kind of experience is most important to you.


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