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  1. Default Planning in Advance - Help?

    Hello all! We (three teenage girls) are currently planning a very ambitious roadtrip for the summer of 2015. We figure that if we plan now, it is more likely that this whole scheme will workout. Our plan, though a little crazy, is achievable, we believe. We would like to visit every contiguous state of the US in one summer. Some of these states we plan to just snap a picture at the "Welcome" sign, or hit the nearest Starbucks for a little boost, while at others we would spend a few days. At the time of the trip, we'd be 19, 18, and 17-soon-to-be-18. We plan to pack as lightly as possible, taking only the necessities. We'd like to save as much money as possible, although we are working to get a good sum raised in the next two years leading up to the trip. We plan on calculating the expenses ourselves once we figure out exactly what we need. Any estimates for an approximate price? Is this scheme even remotely possible? Also, what sort of vehicle would you suggest? Money shouldn't really be an issue, but cheaper is better! In our idealistic, shining, sparkly dreams we see a beautiful VW bus and a summer of a lifetime. Could a dated, vintage VW bus even make this journey? (Many of these questions are probably unanswerable, but sill worth asking...) Our parents are most worried about our safety on this trip. Any suggestions regarding safety during this journey? Any route suggestions, or favorite places you suggest seeing? We plan on hitting both national parks and big cities. We will also be starting our trip in South Florida. Thank you in advance and peace out!

    *NOTE: We are very responsible, mature, and intelligent young women. We believe we can do this and understand that there will be many obstacles in our way. No matter what, we still want to do this. (And we already filled out the compatibility quiz! :) )

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

    Default Dreams can come true !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Well passing the compatability test is a step in the right direction ! ;-)

    With the right attitude and imagination almost everything is possible, with time and money being two major factors and are closely related, the more time you have the more money you need ! Having a vehicle is a major investment and something you need to talk about. Are you going to buy a vehicle between you for the roadtrip and sell it afterwards, or perhaps one of you are looking to own their own vehicle longer term and the others can help with the servicing and running costs of the trip. The main problem with going purely with "The cheaper the better" is that you are at a higher risk of mechanical failures and a "cheap" vehicle can soon turn into a expensive money pit. As young drivers the insurance costs of a larger vehicle could be an issue, fuel costs higher etc. What about lodging, do you plan on Hotels, camping Hostels or a mixture of them. Camping can save money but you would need a vehicle big enough to carry the equipment and luggage as well as the 3 of you. You will need a good sized emergency repair fund in case of break downs and it would be wise to join a motoring organisation like the AAA.

    Until you work out these issues it's going to be hard to work out the costs, but one things for sure, living on the road is more expensive than being at home and on a long trip you need a nice bed, good food and the occasional night out, which can quickly break a daily budget.

    As for safety, everywhere is someones home town where Kids go to school and adults to work, just like at home. If you use common sense and trust your own instincts it's not much of an issue, if you feel uncomfortable in an area [wrong side of town] it's usually for good reason and it's just a case of move along. You can't just pull up in a rest area and expect to sleep in the car, not only is it unsafe, it's illegal in many places so always make sure you are safe at night in a Hotel or designated campground and get a good nights sleep, which is important to road safety.

    I'm not sure about any possible problems you might have travelling with a 17 year old as I believe they are classed as a 'minor' in many respects, I'm sure someone else may comment on that if need be.

    Apart from that I would get a good wall map of the USA and do some research and get dots on it that include your collective 'wish' lists and then you can go about joining them up. Searching around RTA will bring up many ideas and roadtripping tips and as new questions come up, just ask !

    One more thing I would suggest is that perhaps you dip your toes first and take a couple of long weekends away together to gain a little experience and find out more about living together, then jump in the deep end ! lol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    To respond to Dave's comment about travelling with a 17 year old: that could be a problem in two areas. First would be in the event that the 17 year old needs medical care, as parents signature would be needed. (A lawyer may be able to help with that, but that's another expense.) Another issue would be if you go into a motel. Some owners may not rent to a group that includes a minor that is not related to the rest of the party. Camping, though, that's not usually at issue.


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

    Default not-so minor issues

    Donna touched about what are probably the two biggest issues with traveling with someone under age 18, although there are a lot of other potential issues that could also come up. It really would be a whole lot easier for you if you could wait until the "soon-to-be-18-year-old" is actually 18.

    I'll also say the VW bus idea really is not a good one. Those old things were far from reliable when they were new, and having 30 years of wear and tear on them isn't going to make that any better. Not to mention, when it did break down (not really an if) its going to be pretty hard to find parts at this point. Finding something modern is going to be far better, far safer, and ultimately much cheaper.

    It's hard to provide a generic estimate for cost, because there are so many variables, including how much time you'll be gone, what you'll do for transportation, food, lodging, etc. At the minimum to hit 48 states, you're going to need about a month of time, minimum, and more if you plan to spend a few days at some places along the way. Having said that, money is something you really will need to think about. It is very easy to underestimate just how much things cost, and how much little things add up, when you're not used to having to pay for everything yourself. Without doing any real math, I'd say you'll each probably need around a couple thousand dollars, and that's just to live on the road for a month+, and does not include money to obtain a car.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Some more research.

    This post could be redundant, since you have obviously already spent quite a bit of time looking around the site, and may already have found them. But if you go to the Saving Money on Your Trip forum, you will come across a whole lot of other suggestions as to how to budget. Just be aware of the date of the posts, as everything seems to get more expensive, every year. You may also find the Road Trip Field Reports forum informative.

    Keep the dream alive.


  6. Default

    Thank you for all of the advice! We will take all of your thoughts into account!
    We do actually have a 50" x 32" map of the US that we'll be sticking pins in shortly...
    And, yes, the VW bus was a fantasy. That dream has passed haha.
    It has also been decided to leave on our 17 year old's birthday... Then she'll be 18 and it'd be the best birthday gift ever! The trip has also been shortened a bit. Rather than try to hit every state, it seems that the best course of action would be to find the places we really want to see and go specifically there, where we will have the most enjoyment and get the most bang for our buck. Thank you again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Seems like a very smart plan!

    Let us know if you have any more questions as you continue in your planning.

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