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  1. Default Epic Cross US RoadTrip; Need Advice and Tweaking

    So my family moved from Florida to British Columbia and have offered to pay for gas if I drive their car up for them. I finish my finals in Montreal, QC on May 4th and am flying down with three of my best friends from highschool who all live in Vancouver but are attending McGill with me. Airtran Tickets from Buffalo to Pensacola were $99 so this is easily the cheapest/ most fun way for us all to get back to Vancouver. We plan to spend most nights in tents to save money; also I get employee discounts at Hiltons and Holiday Inn related hotels ($40/night). So when we crash in a big city we will stay in a nice hotel for $10 each. We are recently 21 so we can enjoy meeting locals in bars along the way.

    Primary Route:

    Start -> Pensacola, Florida, USA (Leave on May 10th, 2010)
    Midway -> Los Angeles, California, USA
    Finish -> Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Arrive before June 1st, 2010)
    ~4600 Miles Including all the Secondary Stops

    Secondary Stops:
    New Orleans (Bourbon Street)
    San Antonia or Austin (Texas Culture/Bars)
    Arlington/Dass (Six Flags)
    Ohklahoma, Kansas, Colorado (See the Midwest)
    Colorado Springs (Nature Hike/Camping)
    Santa Fe (Walk in the Dessert)
    Grand Canyon National Park (White Water Rafting/Camping/Sight Seeing)
    Las Vegas (Gambling/Drinking)
    Las Angeles (Fancy Club/Rave/Nightlife)
    San Fransisco (Friends/Nature)
    Vancouver (Friends/End Trip)

    Points of Interest:
    Grand Canyon (Essential Tourist Destination)
    Joushwa Tree Park (Go on a walkabout in the desert)
    Driving up the West Coast (I want to see the ocean as I drive)
    Bars (We all love meeting randoms in bars so this will be a great way to meet locals)
    House/Electro Music Shows (Coming from Montreal we all love Electronic music)
    Campling Sites (Save money and be closer to nature)
    Swimming (Lakes, Rivers, Waterfalls, Etc...Very Important as we wont shower the days we camp)
    Small Hikes (We want to see all the natural angles of the the US and its varied climates)
    Route 66 (After a dozen or so roadtrips I want to drive a stretch of this famous road)
    ??*Anything Else You Can Think Of*??

    2007 Toyota Camery (Sports Edition)
    Plan on averaging 82/MPH for the 4600 Miles.
    I'm guessing this will mean 7 "Driving Days" of 8 Hours Each. This is very flexible however.
    New Tires. Tune Up.
    Driving Days will start at 8am and go till the afternoon (3-4ish)
    4 Passengers

    2 Double Sized Tents
    4 Sleeping Bags & Foam Mats
    Propane Stove/Lamp/Toaster
    4 Backpacks of Clothes & Toilitries(Two with Camel Backs for Hikes)
    2 Nice Flashlights
    Large Refillable Water Cooler Thing
    Multi-Tool Knife
    Spare Tire & Jack
    Windshield Reflector
    iPod Full of Essential Mixes
    Road Map Of the USA (We are not brining Mapquest maps or anything like that. Takes out the adventure)
    ??* Am I Missing Anything *??

    Oats & Protein Powder (Cheapest/Healthiest Meal So We never have to be hungry)
    Gatorade Powder (Electrolytes!)
    Beef Jerky (I want to buy this bulk though becuase its $$ and I always eat so much on the road, haha)
    Breakfast will be Oats & Whey (~$1/person/day)
    Lunch probably Cheap Diners and Such Types of Road Food (~$7/person/day)
    Dinners will Range from LA fancy to Cracker Barrells (~$12/person/day)
    Sub-Total -> ~$20/person/day
    Total -> $400/person (Sound Reasonable?)

    8 Nights in a Hotel fror $40/night = $10/person/night = $80/person
    Six Flags = $50/person
    Camping Sites = $20/night = $5/person/night = $60/person
    National Parks = $20/Person (Pass)
    Gas = !! Free !! (Moms Paying for it!!)
    Concert/Club in Austin/LA/San Fran/Seattle = ~$50/preson
    Alcohol = ~$170/person (This could be significantly lower but I know how bar tabs can add up)
    Sub-Total -> ~$250

    Grand Total Costs -> ~$730 per person

    So are we crazy? If you have any tips or have made a similar trip please tell me what roads to use/avoid where to eat/see/party/etc. This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing so I want to make the most of it and see every aspect of the US we drive by. I want to remember elelments of each culture we drive to and use it to broaden my horizons.

    Thanks so much!!
    Last edited by xJolt; 03-28-2010 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Budget need some serious tweaking

    Even with your plans to eat out of your cooler and some camping and your mom paying for the fuel -- I don't see any way you can do this trip for less than $3,200 USD for the four of you. If you get a national parks pass -- it will certainly pay for itself.

    But the real problem is that even with four drivers -- unless you are all professionally trained race car drivers, and have a full police escort -- you can't physically cover that much distance in time allotted. Top average speed in national parks is 32 mph and even if you drove 20 mph faster than the stated speed limits on the most of the highways, you'd need to be in the car and hammer down about 12-15 hours per day to even reach all of these places in this time limit. (With no time for camping, hiking or club-hopping). Seriously, you need to cut your itinerary a bit!

    And, close friends or not... you need to make sure you're all planning on the same style of roadtripping. Take this quiz and talk about it!

    But it sounds like a great adventure!


  3. Default

    Thanks Mark.
    We agreed our upper limit is $4k between us for the whole thing so your right about my budgeting being off. Especially since camping is about $20/nite (looked it up) and national parks cost money...damn.

    As for the close friends part your totally right. Seeing as how we all grew up in boarding school together though one month together will hardly touch two years locked in a boarding house...hahah... memories!

    I also linked them to this thread and theyre probably reading it now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I hope you meant 82 KPH, not 82 MPH. 82 KPH is a reasonable average, 82 MPH will put you in jail. 4600 miles is more like 10 10 hour driving days, not 7 8 hour days.

    Does your mom have all the paperwork you need to bring the car across the border? Do all you guys have passports?

  5. Default

    We're Canadian eh? So were all good on passports and the paperwork and insurance on the cars all good. Ill go 82 on the highways so I guess 60 is a more reasonable average including smaller roads.

    but thats all good.

    can anyone reccomend more points of interest and highways and stuff?

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

    Default missed the point

    I think you've really missed the point about your speed. Even if you drive 82 mph on the highway (which will get you a $200+ ticket most anywhere if you get caught) you can't average that over a full day of travel even if you completely stick to the interstates. Just factoring in the quickest possible stops for gas, food, restrooms, etc you still won't average much more than 60 mph over the full day of travel.

    To average 82 mph, you'd need a police escort and spend nearly all day traveling well beyond 100 mph.

    When driving on smaller 2 lane roads with 55 mph speed limits, your overall average speed will quite frequently be under 50 mph, and well under that on days where you are traveling through national parks.

  7. #7


    check out Bryce, Zion, Lake Powell. All of which are near the grand canyon and Vegas. Those are some pretty cool areas.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xJolt View Post
    Ill go 82 on the highways so I guess 60 is a more reasonable average including smaller roads.

    but thats all good.
    I don't know what it's like in Canada, but this is completely unrealistic on American highways. 60-65 is reasonable for the highways. Some smaller roads -- especially those within national parks or in the mountains -- will be as slow as 25 miles per hour, and most smaller roads will average 50-55 miles per hour. Big cities will bring your speeds down significantly as well.

    My husband and I are "commando style" travelers, figuring that when we're away from home we want to go-do-see as much as possible. We do not scoff at long distances. We can sleep at home for free . . . and we can't come close to the speeds you're suggesting.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xJolt View Post
    We plan to spend most nights in tents to save money; also I get employee discounts at Hiltons and Holiday Inn related hotels ($40/night). So when we crash in a big city we will stay in a nice hotel for $10 each. We are recently 21 so we can enjoy meeting locals in bars along the way.
    If you can stay in Hiltons and Holiday Inns for $10/person/night, you should ditch the tents.

    Consider the money first: A tent site will cost you $15-30, depending upon the area. In addition to this, you'll need firewood, propane for a stove, and ice every day. You're going to spend almost $10/person/day to camp. On the other hand, many hotels -- especially Holiday Inns -- provide complimentary breakfast, which will really help your food budget. With your discount, the cost'll be about the same, but the hotel will give you comfortable beds, air conditioning, access to workout rooms and pools and laundry rooms.

    Then consider the stuff you'll need to pack to camp: You're talking about a small car. Test it. Pack those two tents, four sleeping bags, four mattress pads, a lantern, and anything else you'd consider essential into the trunk. It's full, isn't it? Where are your clothes going to go? Given that you can get good discounts on hotels, your limited car space would be better devoted to a cooler so that you can save on meals.

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