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  1. Default Four years of hard work and 3 great friends: Post Graduation Trip Planning

    This site has been a great find as my friends and I plan our post graduation trip around the country. I would really appreciate any input from experienced members of the forum. The budget is very flexible as I think that we will receive funding from our family/friends in the form of graduation gifts (AKA Money). There would be 3 drivers in an Audi A6. I figured with 3 drivers that there would be a few days or nights that we could take out 16-17 hours of driving given we rotated in shifts. We have the following destinations in mind:

    Chicago - One of our good friends lives here and would love to catch a Sox game (Spend 2 Nights)
    Badlands/Mount Rushmore
    Yellowstone and Jackson Hole - Was too young to appreciate Yellowstone last time I visited
    San Francisco - Stay with another good friend and checkout Alcatraz/SF Giants games (Spend 2 Nights)
    Los Angeles/Orange County - Uncle lives in the area and love the weather (Spend 2 nights)
    Joshua Tree
    Las Vegas - Always a good time (Spend 2 nights)
    Grand Canyon
    New Orleans
    Nashville - Potentially spend 2 or 3 nights here for CMT Fest

    I know there is so much that goes into planning these trips and a lot that I am probably not thinking about. I just wanted to get a rough estimate on how long this trip would take to complete? This is a much needed detour from the normal hustle and bustle of the east coast, especially considering I'm going to be chained to my desk at an investment bank starting July 8th. We graduate May 16th and would consider leaving on the 17th or 18th. I would ideally like to be back to Villanova June 17th/18th, but would consider extending it if it meant a more enjoyable experience.

    There are probably some hidden gems in between these mostly large cities that I would love to hear about and incorporate into my trip, so feel free to suggest places. I appreciate the input and look forward to making this trip happen with all of your help!

  2. #2


    16 - 17 hours is not recommended. Usually 10 hours is the recommended driving time per day. Professional drivers usually don't drive for that many hours. This trip would take a minimum of 20 days driving 10 hours a day since you are leaving from Philadelphia (included the time it would take to spend 2 nights in previous locations) Those days are filled with just what is ever outside of your window. If you want to see more along the way then slow down the pace. With the month that you have available there is no need to drive 16 - 17 hours in a day anyway. You could drive less than 10 hours a day and still be able to do this in a month's time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Even with 3 drivers, we don't recommend driving more than about 600 miles a day. You just don't get adequate rest trying to sleep in a moving vehicle and this will have a residual impact. If you must do it for whatever reason, use speed run procedures and don't do it if you are planning on doing anything meaningful the next day.

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

    Default counter productive

    With 3 drivers, you could safely drive 16-17 hours at a time if you really needed to, however, it would be a lot of work. You'd really have to follow speed run procedures and focus to make sure you're sticking to a rotation where one person is resting while the other two focus on the road.

    The problem is you're not doing a speed run, you're doing a month long trip where you're trying to get away from work, so trying to drive such distances ends up being counter productive, and when you do arrive at your destination, at least one of you is going to be so tired from the drive that you're not going to be in any condition to have fun and enjoy yourselves. That sort of pace also just doesn't make it possible to stop and explore any of the hidden gems you'll find just by being out on the road.

    A month should give you enough time where that really shouldn't be necessary anyway, and you should be able to have a nice trip without pushing yourself so hard. On a trip of this size, its very difficult to come up with a list of must sees or hidden gems, simply because there are so many possibilities and narrowing them down is the challenge. Some things you didn't mention that are close to your current route would include the rest of the Black Hills (there's far more than just Mt. Rushmore), the Pacific Coast Highway, Death Valley, Zion/Bryce and the other National Parks in Utah, and the Mississippi River Road or Nachez Trace. That's just the tip of the iceburg of course.

    I will say the one bit of curiosity I have is choosing to go to a Sox game in Chicago. I've been to about 20 major league parks (some which no longer are in use, plus more minor league, winter league, and spring training parks) and of the two parks in Chicago, one is among my all time favorites, and one is probably my least favorite of all the parks still in use. It doesn't sound like you're going to the one that's my favorite.

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