My name is John, i'm 21 years old, and I'm from Philadelphia. My two best friends and I will graduate from Penn State in May. After 4 years of living together, we are all moving back to our respective hometowns...for good (Philly, Long Island, NY, and Annapolis, MD) As a last college hurrah, we have decided to spend summer 2011 road tripping across America before we have to enter the "real" working world.
We will be trying to keep costs as absolutely low as possible. We will be camping as much as possible, using couchsurfing.com, buying groceries instead of eating out, etc.
Our mission is to "Escape from our suburban, mid-atlantic bubble and in the process discover and experience as many new places, people, and things as possible. What we want more than anything is a true adventure."
Since none of us have any long roadtrip experience, I was hoping that you experts could lend us some of your wisdom, tips, and suggestions.
We have alotted 35-40 days for the trip. Money is our only constraint, so the better we budget, the longer we can travel.
Are any locations on this list below not worth the time/hype?
Are we forgetting any "essential" destinations?
Is $1500/person, $4500 total enough for 35-40 days and 10,000 miles? If not how much would it take?
What not-so-obvious items should we bring with us? We have tents and other basics covered.
How can we make this as much of an adventure as possible?
Any other ideas or suggestions for beginners?
This is our prelininary itinerary:
Day 1. Sunrise on Atlantic Ocean (Long Island NY) to Niagara Falls (7 hour drive)
Day 2. Cedar Point, OH
Day 3. Chicago (5 hours)
4. West towards South Dakota (7 hours)
5. West to Badlands, SD (7 hours)
6. Black hills/Rushmore
7. West towards Yellowstone (8 hours)
8. Yellowstone (REST DAY)
9. Yellowstone/Grand Teton (2 hours)
10. Salt Lake City/Salt Flats, etc (5 hours)
11. Arches national park (5 hours)
12. Bryce canyon National Park (5 hours)
13. Zion National Park (3 hours)
14. West towards California (10 hours)
15. Sequoia national park (REST DAY)
16. Yosemite National Park (3 hours)
17. San Francisco (3.5 hours)
18. Pacific Coast Highway (8 hours)
19. San Diego REST DAY
20. San Diego (Zoo and Beach) REST DAY
21. Northeast to the Grand Canyon(9 hours)
22. Grand Canyon REST DAY
23. Albuquerque (6 hours)
24. Carlsbad Caverns (6 hours)
25. My Uncles House, Allen, TX (9 hours)
26. Allen, Texas REST DAY
27. Allen, Texas REST DAY
28. Austin TX, (3.5 hours)
29. Austin, TX (REST DAY, friends house)
30. New Orleans (8.5 hours)
31. New Orleans REST DAY
32. Nashville (?? ?)
33. Washington, DC (???)
34. REST DAY at friends in MD
35. Back to the beach we started at in NY
Considering the fact that I have never been west of Pittsburgh, PA, I know that this will be one of the best experiences i've ever had.
Thanks so much for the feedback and advice!