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  1. Default 3 Teens - Will this be possible/enjoyable?

    So I have been planning this trip with my two buddies in a 2001 Mazda Protege for quite some time. I'm not sure exactly how to budget this realistically for time and cash considering the variables. I'll post some fast facts.

    Miles: 6222 (according to Google Maps)
    I'll plan for 7000 for city driving (is that enough?)

    Map: MAP

    Fuel Estimate: About $650 (Using the calculator on this site, the combined mpg from, and an assumed high summer average of $2.50/g from the Energy Information Agency)

    Maximum Days: 18

    Lodging: All Camping, assuming a $20/night avg. So $360

    Food: I'm not sure how to budget this. Cheapest possible. If someone could help with this.

    Incidentals: about $200 per person

    and are these reasonable driving times between 3 people per day?

    July 29th – Driving Day
    13 hours 30 minutes

    July 30-th – Liberty, Missouri
    9 hours of driving

    July 1st– Nauvoo/ Carthage Jail
    3 hours of Driving

    July 2nd – Chicago
    12 hours of driving

    July 3rd – Kirtland
    5 hours of driving

    July 4th – Palmyra
    1 hour of driving

    July 5th – Palmyra
    9 hours of driving

    July 6th – Boston
    4 hours 30 minutes

    July 7th – New York City
    No Driving – Sightseeing

    July 8th - New York City
    No Driving – Sightseeing

    July 9th – Philadelphia
    6 hours of driving

    July 10th – DC
    No Driving – Sightseeing

    July 11th – DC
    No Driving – Sight Seeing

    July 12th –Virginia to Tennessee
    10 hours of driving

    July 13th – Driving Day
    11 hours of driving

    July 14th – Roswell, New Mexico
    8 hours of driving

    July 15th Home
    14 hours of driving

    I think that puts us up to $1610, without food. Our upper limit is $2500.

    Question: Is this going to be fun, or too much in too little time?
    Will we have enough money? Food?

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

    Default a bit confused

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First, I'm a little confused about your itinerary. The stops you've laid out on your map are mostly reasonable. You've got one or two days that start pushing the 650-700 mile mark that are probably a bit too much, but then your time estimates just don't match up with what your map says. For example, your map says that you'd be stopping in Denver enroute to Liberty MO on your first two days. Those drives would be about 11 hours each, but in your post you're talking about doing 13+ hours one day and 9 hours the next. Trying to drive 13+ hours really is too much, and 10-12 hours really should be the limit of what you are trying to do on a day after day basis.

    Otherwise your plan is mostly solid. For your estimate, you'll likely end up driving more like 8-9000 miles once you factor in driving around places, so that may drive your gas costs up a little bit. For food, I think I'd estimate $15 a day per person, if you plan to eat out occationally, while making some of your meals at your campsite. You should probably also plan to spend a couple nights in a motel just incase you get bad weather or simply need a night in a real bed.

  3. Default

    Oh, some of the placemarks were just a way to get the route drawn. We'll be driving through Denver and on to mid-Kansas that day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Thats too much

    In that case, you need to scale back your plans a bit. Trying to drive much more than 600 miles a day just isn't safe or sustainable for a multi-day trip. Remember, Google map estimates don't reflect real world travel times where you occationally have to stop for gas, food, or traffic. Trying to make it out to Kansas your first night is just going to set you up to be burned out before your trip really gets going.

  5. Default

    Even if its split between 3 people, 600 is the limit?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default everyone is different

    As a general rule of thumb, yes. Now everyone is different, but since you don't have experience in doing long haul travel and don't know your own limits, I wouldn't expect to do much more than that. Having multiple drivers helps a little bit, but ultimately, sitting in a car for hours at a time is draining, whether you are driving or not.

  7. Default

    That makes sense. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Minneapolis Metro


    I took a trip kind of like this when I graduated from HS (only we went from East to West), we did 7200 miles in 13 days from Milwaukee to Seattle and back via Denver. At the time we had a lot of fun and didn't really mind all the driving, but looking back at it now I wish we had taken a few more days and cut back on the driving so we could stop and see more stuff. You will learn your driving limits pretty quick on this type of road trip.

    Also one note on driving/camping on the East coast. It is not like the Denver area in terms of traffic or camping availability. Traffic from Boston to DC is pretty horrible all the time and it is basically one large city so I would definitely make plans ahead of time for camping/lodging locations.

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