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  1. Default Cross Country Road trip. Clueless!

    hello there folks :)

    I am just beginning to plan a road trip across the country. And in great need of advice. The trip will include 2 maybe 3 people. The car we'd be taking is most likely a 2004 mazda tribute. There is no time limit. We are young and want to get this in before commiting to college.

    We have a rough idea of where we want to go. We'd be starting in PA, probably then towards NY, then places such as Boston, Washington DC, working our way towards Florida. Then pretty much keep heading west through Texas, Arizona till we reach California. And then make our way all the way back to PA.

    Opinions of different routes would be of great help! Im open to ideas!
    We want to see as much as possible! National Parks, Cities, ect.

    We thought saving 3,000 each would be enough, but now im thinking that it may not. How much would you recommend is needed?

    We dont want to stay in expensive places. Motels and camping is what we were generally thinking. And then staying with friends or family we know in certain places along the way.

    Does this sound completely ridiculous? or is it do-able?
    Were setting out for the adventure! The experience! Just in need of some guidance

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

    Default realism

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think you've got a bit of work in front of you still. Really, the first thing you need to do is figure out how much time you want to spend on the road. While its nice to be able to say you've got unlimited time, the reality is that most people prefer to have a rough idea of how long they want to be gone, and how long they will be comfortable away from home. There is also the element that while a roadtrip is fun, being couped up together with 2 other people can start to take its toll on even the best of friendships after awhile.

    The time element will also help you get a grasp of what you really can and can not do, and makes the trip much more real. Without knowing when and how long you'll be gone, its very easy to fantasize about the trip as happening someday, but the time puts an actual sense of urgency that the trip will actually happen and everyone must have everything ready to go by that time.

    I'd say you'd probably need at least a month to do the route you've listed, but even that might not give you enough time to really see everything you want. Without a timeframe, a budget becomes very tough as well, since one of the biggest factors in a budget is how long you'll be on the road. Having said that, if you are gone for a month, $3000 each sounds about managable.

    I would also say that you can have a great time on a roadtrip, no matter what the destination is. There is a bit of a myth that the cross country roadtrip is the great coming of age adventure, but the reality is that many times there are just too many obsticles to let that actually happen for most people. On a very practical sense, you could very easily have as much fun, if not more fun, on a smaller trip where you are only gone for a week or two and might focus only on the eastern half of the US.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    I agree totally with all that Michael has said.

    There is one further obstacle which I wonder if you have considered..... lodgings. How old are you?

    There is not a hotel / motel which will admit unaccompanied under 18 year olds. The same goes for hostels, and most campgrounds.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Lodging costs

    One note that may come as a surprise to you is that some campgrounds charge what I would consider to be a high fee for offerings that aren't any different than a good state park. I've had great tent sites for $3/night at state parks and just so-so sites at private campgrounds where the cost was many times that.

    How much time do you want to spend? Are you looking to just drive, drive, drive, or to get out of the car and take a look around? It's nice to say that you've "been" to a place when you've driven through, but it's quite another to say that you've actually experienced a location.

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