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  1. #1

    Default Winter Trip from FL to CO

    Hi, everyone. Feel free to call me crazy, as I've gotten it many, many times in the last couple of months from this desire to travel to colder climates.

    The starting point would be southwest Florida, and the endpoint would be around the Boulder area in Colorado. I've kinda left it open-ended, as long as it's close to that. No ski resorts for me, I'd probably end up in a tree somehow...

    I mostly want to see if this is doable, because I've gotten such mixed responses thus far. Except for the people calling me crazy, that's kinda unanimous. I graduated last year from high school, and have heard all these stories from people (from adults looking back, not peers) about how wonderful it is to travel, to get in your car and go, and how it's really worth it (most of the time).

    Of course, I've gotten this "do as I say, not as I do" response, too.

    I'm not looking for anything especially fancy, because I'd be going by myself. I asked others if they were interested, but it turned out they didn't have the time. I had kinda already made up my mind that I was going to do this, though, so that didn't really kill anything for me.

    I've gotten a few maps from AAA, as well as pamphlets on what there is to see and do along the way, and I would really like to try to do a road trip like this before summertime.

    I have the option to just fly there if it's entirely too dangerous/impossible and, as I've heard, insane, but then I'm restricted to taxis/shuttles/buses to get me anywhere I want to go. The rental car isn't possible, due to my age (18). So, I'm determined either way, but the reliance on others does detract a little from the charm, I have to admit. Then again, if it's the marginally better approach in a case like this, I could understand that too.

    I do have money saved away, but I'm not one to spend all of it in one place, so the maximum I would want to spend is about $1200-1500. Mostly, what I'm looking for is an opinion or advice that won't fluctuate day to day! It's difficult to be told one day to go and live life, and then the next to be told that it's completely stupid and irrational. I can take criticism, don't get me wrong, but not when it's all over the place.

    - Is it possible, given the budget? I could certainly use a bit more, but I do try to stick to budgets as much as I can.

    - What things are there to see, on any given route? I was given 3 possible routes by AAA, but they suggested for me to use the Southernmost route, simply because of the bad storms around Kentucky and Arkansas right now. That would be I-75 until I-10, taking that and getting off along I-49, I believe, and then driving through the mountains.

    - Am I just being crazy like everyone says? On the up-side, my car just had its brake pads replaced, two new tires, a convertible top repair, and an engine flush, so it's as up-to-date as I can make it.

    - I know I can drive for a minimum of 8 hours without becoming tired. I'm sure I could go more, but I tend to have to make stops a lot, for better or worse. I get nervous when my gas tank dips below half; no matter how much I remind myself I'm not close to running out of gas, I just have never been able to get rid of that nagging worry. Maybe that's good, though?

    If I can, I'd like to have part of it planned, and leave part of it to be open. Is it unreasonable?

    Thanks for reading anyway, sorry that I'm really not good at being concise!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you take I-75 to I-10 to I-25, that's 2600 miles, and you will need to allow at least 5 days to make that drive. You need to budget at least $100 a day for gas, food, and lodging, and $150 may be more realistic depending on what kind of gas mileage your car gets and whether you can find cheap lodging that's safe. Eating out of a cooler for that long a period may or may not be possible or healthy. That makes the round trip at least $1000 to $1500, not counting what you spend in Boulder. Please be aware that not all hotels/motels will rent rooms to people under 21 - Motel 6 is notorious for that in many areas.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply! I knew that some won't rent to people under 21, so that's something I know I'd have to work around or have a loose plan for.

    I also know there are other ways, but that this was the suggested one due to weather conditions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The fastest route cuts off 600 miles - I-75/I-24/I-57/I-64/I-70. This is a whole day less. If you wait a couple of days, this route looks like it will be clear.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Limiting Factor

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Of the items that usually limit or preclude a RoadTrip, the one that you're going to bump up against first is money. You're probably doing to need around $650 just for the fuel to make the trip. That will very with gas prices, how many side trips you take, what kind of mileage your car gets, etc., but that's a fair ballpark estimate. You should not count on doing it for less. That's nearly half your total budget. Like glc, I tend to guesstimate around $100/day for all other travel expenses. Again you can cut down by buying food at supermarkets rather than restaurants and convenience stores, camping rather than motels, and other measures, but even minimal bare-bones travel is going to be $50+/day. OK, that limits your travel time to 10 days, maybe two weeks. Is that sufficient time to get the wanderlust out of your system, even temporarily? Questions such as how frugal an existence you can put up with for how long, and whether that's what you want are ones only you can answer. The other monetary problem comes back to getting a motel room. Many will not take cash or will require a huge deposit to do so with as young a traveler as yourself. Do you have a credit card in your own name? Are you used to using it so that you mentally spend the money as you charge it and don't get caught next month with a huge bill and your $1500 already gone?


  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    The fastest route cuts off 600 miles - I-75/I-24/I-57/I-64/I-70. This is a whole day less. If you wait a couple of days, this route looks like it will be clear.
    That's helpful to know, thank you. I think I'll watch that one more closely.

    @AZBuck: Having lived in minimalistic circumstances, buying food at supermarkets for the most part (with the occasional warm meal to break it up) is the way I'm going to go. As far as camping, I certainly wouldn't mind it, but I don't have any kind of camping gear as far as tents and such. I've thought about car camping, but only in designated places, and only if they're well-lit.

    10 days - 2 weeks would be plenty. Like I said, I could increase that budget, but I'd prefer to keep it in those bounds if that's possible.

    As far as the credit card... I do have a debit card, and I have a credit card with my name on it, but it's not with me at the moment. I could have it sent to me if it's an absolute necessity. If I did need it, I'm okay with money and not getting in over my head.

    Thank you for the info!

  7. Default

    Another way would be I-10 to I-49 to I-20. Take that to Fort Worth, and get on US287 through Wichita Falls to Amarillo. Stay on US287 through Limon and get on I-70 to Denver.

    I must admit, I'm curious as to your choice of destination. Any particular reason for Boulder? Friends, family, etc?

    As for credit cards, definitely have one. You never know what might happen. Plus, you're insured for anything you buy. Debit cards do not, usually, offer such a privledge.

    Plus, if you do have an expensive issue arrise, that you may not have available on debit, you can at least get home and pay down the debt in time. Rather than getting stuck and hoping friends or family will rescue you.

    Two years ago, with gas being about 50-60 cents more than it is in most of the country today, I took a 16-day 10,473 mile trip to all 48 contiguous states. For the last four days, I had my wife with me and stayed in hotels those nights. My total cost was just over $2100.

    I simply slept in my car. And I did my trip in January. Take a lot of blankets with you (this helps if your car breaks down, as well). Some nights I idled my car, some nights I just used blankets (including one night when it was freezing on the continental divide near Cuba, NM). If you do idle your car, my suggestion is to have a carbon monoxide alarm with you. Handy way to tell if you're getting fumes into your car. And at the least, crack a window.

    Stay at truck stops slightly outside of town. The owns in town are probably either A) in the bad neighborhoods, or B) too crowded or busy with traffic to sleep well. Don't sleep at rest areas in your car. Generally, not safe. Infact, some states have laws against car drivers from sleeping at rest areas (you'll usually see posted signs). But again, truck stops (aka travel plazas) have amenities you may need. Bathrooms, showers, food, laundry facilities, etc. If you have a laptop and don't have an aircard, you can usually get wifi (for a fee) from Flying J, TA, etc. (Being near a motel is an easy way to leech wifi for free).

    I don't see why you couldn't, but just be prepared for contingencies.


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