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  1. Default Planning Summer 2010 Road Trip

    Hi there...
    I am beginning to plan a US road trip for my husband and I for this upcoming summer. I am very new to all of this and I don't know where to start exactly.

    We will be leaving from the west coast (Oregon) and heading across to the east coast. I would love to see as many states as possible, specifically southern states. I would love some help calculating a route and finding out how much all of this is going to cost me.

    We are going to rely on staying with people we know in other states and camping, to cut costs of motels. I am curious as to how much gas would cost for a trip like this, so if someone has done something similar I would love to hear about it.

    We are planning on stopping at Yellowstone for sure, other than that I have yet to figure out where all we will be stopping. I would like to start in Oregon, go down the west coast, through Arizona/Texas/Florida/etc, up the east coast, and back through the northern states. Although this is probably going to end up being too expensive. I really don't know what kind of a budget to set. A few thousand dollars? Would that be enough?

    Please share any ideas, tips, stories, or anything with me. I am trying to learn as much as possible, but I am just beginning. Thanks so much!!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Research

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    At this early stage in your planning and the fact that you are covering such a large area all I can suggest is that you get the map out and start researching to find places that you would really like to see and get some dots placed on the map. You can use the search button to find your way around the forums and road trip planning pages that are full of great info and routes. Until you get an idea of how long you will be on the road, how far you will get in that time, the vehicle you will be using it's not possible to answer those questions. When you have done a little research and got some dots on the map we can certainly help you join them together but untill then and not knowing what your "goals" or interests are makes it impossible to offer any meaningful advice.
    RTA's fuel cost calculator is a great tool for working out the gas costs, once you have the answers.
    Have a look around and gather ideas and as you start to build your trip keep asking questions, enjoy the planning.

  3. Default

    Ok great, thank you for the feedback!

    I've been researching a bunch today and have decided on some important factors. First, we're going to be taking my 2000 chevy malibu, which gets about 30 miles/gallon. I did the fuel calculator and it came to $700 for gas, because I estimated that our trip would be roughly 7,000 miles.

    The routes I chose are number 8 (US-20) for the way there (except we'd be starting in Eugene, OR) and number 9 (US-50) on the way back on Road Trip USA (

    Destinations we plan to see are: Yellowstone, Niagra Falls, Boston, Chicago, WA DC, Mt. Rushmore, Virginia City... and that's all I have so far, but of course there will be more. We are going to get a national parks pass which seems to be a great idea. Pretty much all of those destinations are pretty close to the routes we chose.

    We are planning on bringing a portable stove to cook food and mostly living off of groceries, and occasionally going to restaurants. We are hoping to camp and stay with friends/family for the most part, and occasionally staying in cheap motels.

    So far I'm anticipating $700 for gas, but what would be a good estimate for food and lodging costs, according to what we have planned? I like to break things down and look at them separately. Hopefully this is enough information to answer my question... again any advice, ideas, things to see, etc would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks :)

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

    Default my standard warning

    There is nothing wrong at all with the Roadtrip usa site and book, however, I get really concerned when people use those route suggestions as the letter of the law.

    Roadtrips are about being able to get out there and make your own adventure, not simply trying to recreate someone else trip. Too often, I see people act like The 10 routes there are the only 10 options for roadtrips, and never explore beyond what becomes a very very narrow path.

    Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of letting the destinations pick the route, and not the route force your destination. Use those routes as a starting point, not the be all end all - because there's a whole lot more out there than just whats listed on those handful of routes.

    For budgeting, I'd round your fuel figure up to $1000 to factor in both the potential for fuel cost to rise, and to factor in inevitable driving within town that will almost always increase your overall mileage by at least 20% from your point to point distances.

    Cheap motels will usually be around $50 for an average, while a campsite will usually be in the $15-20 range per night. For food, you can keep things around $10 a day per person if you are doing most of your own cooking, with only an occational stop at a restaurant. Increasing that to $15 to $20 will probably be needed if you plan to eat out more than a couple times a week.

  5. Default

    Ah, yes that does make sense. I just came across that site and it seemed to know what it was talking about, so I thought those routes would be a good place to start. But it definitely did limit what I was hoping for... so I will be looking into other things as well. I just got freaked out of the idea of starting from scratch haha. So is there a way to create a route through mapquest, or another similar tool?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Before using software or online mapping programs, I believe in doing your preliminaries the old-fashioned way. Go buy a US road atlas - I personally prefer Rand McNally. Visualize your trip on a paper map first, then you can use something like Google Maps to plan it in more detail. The paper maps will have all the points of interest.

  7. Default

    Ok, I will definitely do that! Thanks for the idea :)

  8. Default Coast to Coast roadtrip...

    Hi, I posted some questions on here about a month ago regarding a summer roadtrip with my husband. Well, I've been doing my homework and I have come to a conclusion that it's pretty impossible to do what I would like to. So I am hoping for some alternatives or some advice on how to make it work.

    We're going to be leaving from Eugene, OR on June 27th. We have 3 weeks.
    I am hoping to start out on 1-5 S, and get on the 101 and see Redwood NP, down to San Fran and then LA. We'd love to see the Grand Canyon and also some of the N. parks in Colorado. Those are the main sites in the west... but then on the East coast I am dying to go to Maine (Acadia NP), as well as DC, NYC, etc. But going all the way up to Maine seems pretty impossible with our time limit, because on the way back we'd like to take a more northern route and hit Yellowstone for a couple of days. Is there any way that we could see all of these places, including Maine in 3 weeks? I don't want to be super super rushed so I'm thinking no. I've heard and seen photos of Maine and it looks so beautiful... but if we have to cut it out then I'll deal with it.

    I don't even know if this is doable in 3 weeks with cutting Maine out anyway. I would love some advice/thoughts on this. Thanks so much! Also our budget is around 3k if that helps at all.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-19-2009 at 04:13 PM. Reason: please don't start new threads about the same trip

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Anything is 'doable'

    In your first post you mentioned that you would like to see as many States as possible.

    There is a huge difference between seeing a place and enjoying what it has to offer. For me three weeks would not be enough to just see the main national parks west of the Rockies.

    Lifey would leave the east coast for another trip

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default choices

    I really do think you need to choose between touring the West and the East.

    The West has so many places and covers some much area that while 3 weeks is a very nice amount of time, that amount of time will fly by just going to all of the places you've said you want to see in the west.

    On the flip side, the east is a smaller area, but its going to take a lot of time to get there. You really are looking at about a week of travel each way just to travel cross country, leaving you just a week to see NY, DC, and Maine. You could certainly stop and see a few things as you make your way across country, but those stops really would have to limited - perhaps a day in Yellowstone and a quick swing through Mt Rushmore and the Badlands one direction and a quick tour of a park or two in Colorado on the way home - but doing much more than that is going to make your time out east extremely rushed.

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