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  1. Default West Coast teen road trip summer '09 help!

    I am 15 and am planning a road trip for the summer of í09 with one or maybe a couple of my girlfriends. This road trip is very important to me. I just want a taste of what its like to be on my own. Iíve been doing as much research as possible and I really canít find the answers Iím looking for. Iím just a kid so I really have no idea about all of this traveling stuff. My mom and I have agreed that if I can get all Aís and Bís, better behavior at home and at school, and pass all my drug tests, (I got to lay off the maryjane), I can follow through with my freedom road trip. Now, Iím from Colorado and Iím planning to drive straight up to Montana for a few days then head west to Washington and cruise the coast all the way down through cali. I was thinking maybe 3 weeks would make it a super relaxed roadtrip, but I could be wrong, is that too shortótoo long? My next question, How much do you think this is going to be gas wise? (We will be in a small car). I need to start saving up and an answer would be really helpful. And now, the most important question. What are the best places to see around the west coast? I know that Iím definitely stopping in Seattle, Portland, Redwood, Sanfran, LA, Long beach, all that good stuff. I really like all the popular happening places, but Iím also all for the secluded, hole in the wall, sort of places/things. Since my friend and I arenít 18 we will have to stay at hostels and family/friends houses. I hope there are enough hostels along the way, except I wouldnít mind a few nights in the car. Answers would be appreciated!

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

    Default Starting small

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'd suggest starting with a much smaller trip than the 3 week one you are envisioning. Roadtrips, and being out on your own, requires a lot of responsibility and as you have admitted, right now you are at square one. Trying to do a 3 week trip of the west coast sounds like someone who is dreaming of jumping off a diving board before they've even got their feet wet in the shallow end.

    This article really goes through the exact kind of situation that you are talking about. If you are serious about wanting to do this, read it over with your mom. Start small and show you are responsible, by demonstrating it at home and school, and by taking a smart approach to learning how to be on your own on the road, from there the ability to do the kind of trip you are talking about will come naturally.

  3. Default

    Yes, I know that. I've already talked about that to my mom. I just need all those questions answered

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Freedom Means On Your Own

    Michael is correct in pointing out the incredible responsibility you'll be taking on. Mainly you'll need patience and self reliance. Let's start with your question about gas cost. Your trip is 4000 miles minimum, so let's assume 20 mpg and $4.50/gal for gas. That would mean you'd need at least $900 just for the drive. You should be able to do that yourself using your own values for mileage and our Fuel Cost Calculator in the left column of this page. You'll also need around $25/day/person for food or another $2200 for the three of you for a month. So we're over $3000 and you haven't done anything or stayed anywhere yet. Now it's possible to keep expenses low but a trip of this duration will set you back a bit.

    Three weeks is about right for the trip you have in mind, but I tend to agree with Michael, that it may be a bit much as a first trip, especially with three of you. There will be inevitable conflicts as you go through day after day in close proximity unable to get your own way more than a third of the time. Hostels are fairly few in the US, so you will also need to do some research on any that are available on your route. Now is not the time to be deciding what to see and do but to scope out whether you can really handle it both financially and personally. That's a decision only you can make. You've come to one of the best places to get information on this sort of decision, but we can't make it for you and you'll need to ask a lot more questions before you can make it happen.


  5. Default Wa!

    That sounds fun :) And I do hope you have lots of it. I live in Washington, so I can help :) You should defiantly hit up Silverwood theme park. It has a water park connected to it too. Which is always fun. And it's hugggeee. Okay, so It's in Athol, Idaho. Also, if you need any more tips or places to go contact me! I'm 16, almost 17 so I can relate :D Im taking a mini roadtrip maybe this summer :D HAVEEE FUN!


    E-mail address removed.

  6. Default

    I have a daughter who's going through the process of learning to drive, and I see a couple legal red flags:

    At 15 I'm assuming you have a learner's permit. At what age will you be able to obtain a full-fledged license? A newly licensed teen in my state can't drive after dark yet, which would definitely make such a trip difficult.

    Also, though it isn't illegal, it is unwise for an inexperienced driver to take on such a lengthy drive -- navigation, driving on the interstate and on unfamiliar roads, these are all concerns -- especially given that friends in the car are one of the biggest distractions on the road, and especially given that you'll be far from home in case of an emergency.

    As for accomodations, hostels are great, but they're few and far between in our country. If your parents are okay with the idea of sleeping in the car (I wouldn't be), test it out first: In your own driveway at home, you and several friends snuggle down for the night. See how comfortable it is in the small car. Remember that you cannot cheat -- you cannot come into the house to use the restroom or shower -- because your goal is to see if this is feasible for you.

    I'd suggest that you focus on the things your mom has outlined for you: grades, behavior, and especially the drugs. Then look for a short trip close to home. You'll learn a great deal from taking a long-weekend trip, and you could take multiple long-weekend trips for less money than one three-week trip.

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

    Default look at the date

    Welcome to the Forum, dellmelissa!

    This thread is from last year, and the original poster hasn't been active since then, so I doubt you'll see any contact from her.

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