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  1. Default Help planning spring road trip!!

    My partner and I are planning a coast to coast road trip for Spring 2009. I am from the UK and he is from New York. We want to start the trip in San Francisco and end up at his family's place on Long Island NY.
    I want to drive down the coast in California then go to the Grand Canyon, then drive through Arizona and New Mexico (visiting Santa Fe), then to Texas specifically to Austin. I would then like to find the most scenic way to drive from Texas to New York.
    My questions are; is this a reasonable route or is there a better way to go and see these things? Are there any sights we should definitely see on this route? Our main task at the moment is to try and budget this trip. We do not want to stay anywhere flashy nor do we need to eat in restaurants every day. Delis and diners will do or cheap fast food/take away. We will probably be staying with friends in San F, San Diego, LA and Austin so this will reduce our costs! We would like to spend 3 weeks to a month on this trip. We also need to hire a car - a small one will do! I read in another thread that a road trip for three weeks on a reasonable budget could cost around 1,500 dollars. Is this a good guess?
    Thanks to any one who can help me. This is the 1st time I have signed up to anything like this which means I must have been impressed with this site :)

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

    Default looks good

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a very solid outline of your plan. The best route is the one that takes you where you want to go, and you've got a very nice list of places to see. 3 weeks will give you a very nice amount of time to cover the ground you are talking about.

    I think $1500 may be low, especially if that's the total for both of you. Your rental car alone, for three weeks plus a one way drop fee, could easily eat up more than half of that. I don't know if you are including your airfare too, but I think that would put you well over that number.

    Food you can probably get by on $30-40 per day for the both of you. That's mostly eating cheap, with a few midpriced restaurant meals thrown into the mix. Motels on the cheap side will be around $50 per night, so if you spend 2 of your 3 weeks in motels, and eat, you'll already be up at $1500. Gas is tough to judge, but I'd probably guess about another $500 if you've got a small car. Rental cars you'll have to shop around to see what prices you can find, but $1000 including all of your fees (unless you are under 25) would be a pretty decent guess.

    That's a real rough estimate, but you're looking at about $3000 for the 2 of you, plus airfare and extra spending money for admission fees and other entertainment expenses along the way.

  3. Default

    Wow, thanks so much for the quick reply.
    Yes luckily I did mean 1,500 per person. We would be able to spend around 3-4000 dollars between us. We are not counting the airfare into that either as it will be part of a round the world trip so flying is a seperate issue.
    I am glad that this trip can be done on a reasonable budget. I looked on the Lonely Planet website and they quoted 250 dollars a day for a road trip in the US! I think 3 weeks will probably be enough time and will keep the cost a little lower.
    Thanks for your help. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions near to the departure date. Your site has saved me loads of time, thanks again :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi Ruthelen,

    Michael is pretty well on the ball as far as the car costs go, though I have never spent that much... I have mostly driven 'driveaway' cars. I also had difficulty when I wanted to rent a car, that many will not allow you to return it to another location... not even with a fee. So watch that.

    As far as accommodation and meals are concerned, you can cut down drastically on those if you look at hostels. (Here's one site).
    Most hostels have private rooms and / or co-ed rooms. They vary greatly, from the grotty to the most luxurious. I just take what comes in my stride. Most are really great.

    But the greatest benefit is that you can prepare and cook your own meals. Shopping sensibly at the supermarkets, you can keep your food costs to as little as $10 per day. That allows you to have the occasional splurge on a meal out. If you eat cereal for breakfast, you can buy a large box and carry it with you in the car. In fact you can carry almost everything with you in the car, so long as it is not perishable.

    I always have coffee, tea and sugar with me. Almost every fuel stop has boiling water, and most will let you have some for a minimal charge... or free.
    I also always carry my own mug, plate and cutlery. I take lightweight Tupperware ones from home, but you can always pick up some at the first Charity shop you see.

    In a hostel you can also make your sandwiches or rolls for lunch. If the weather gets a little warm, and you do not have a small 12v fridge (that is my most valuable possession), place a couple of bottles of drinking water in the freezer overnight (most hostels have freezers), and then wrap them and your food in a couple of plastic bags, then in your bath towel and wrap your polar fleece jacket around that. It will keep your food cool, and supply you with cold drinking water along the way.

    At hostels you also meet many other travellers who are doing what you are doing, and will recommend routes and places to stay.

    Lifey who has never let the lack of resources stop her
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 12-24-2008 at 01:22 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format and added some white space for clarity

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