I have had the dream of going across America for a long while now, and I am a Junior in High School and have no clue what I want to do and be in life. I have the small town syndrome and am dying to see what else is "out there" I have 2 more people going, one as dedicated as I am, and another i'm not sure about, but we are determined to do this. We want to hit route 66 to santa monica (Im in South Carolina) and drive the Big Sur coastline. Then if we have the money I personally would like to go to seattle and see Jimi Hendrix's grave ( 1 path i am thinkign about is musician) We want to hit the big points liek the grand canyon, and maybe yellowstone. Of course we want Vegas, butt he big problem is we are all 17. I would like any advice on planning this trip which will be this summer. but the main thing I need to know is how much being underage will set us back. I have heard mixed things about renting motels. btw, we are taking an excursion with a matress in the back so we will be "needing" a motel or hostel about once every 3-4 days. any help would be awesome!
An Epic Adventure
There are plenty of suggestion on this Forum dealing with this issue. I would suggest using the Search function on this page and use 17 or 18 as the keywords to read them all. But there is a recent one from <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/roadtripamericaConference/Index.cfm?CFApp=44&Message_ID=5705">Laura</a> posted on the 21st of December that might be useful.
Are your folks on board with this epic adventure?
Your biggest expense will be fuel and vehicle maintenance, renting motel rooms when you are under 21 can be tricky. How much are you budeting now? What kinds of things are you interested in doing? If you are interested in other muscian's gravesites, one of the books we always keep on-hand is the <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/Tombstone-Tourist.htm">Tombstone Tourist</a>.
Have any of you spent time together on the road? Petty squables that can be dealt with easily at home could become major problems when you are a few hundred miles from home. All that said, roadtrips are life-changing experiences -- and are always worth the hassle. Although I would urge moderation in your planning. Maybe do a couple of weekend trips of a couple hundred miles and see if you guys are still friends at the end of the weekend.
I worked at a state campground in Wisconsin for a summer, and if you come across as mature you may be able to get campgrounds. I dont remember having a rule with needing someone who was 18 to sign for a campground, however I also dont remember the issue coming up. If there is a such a rule where you will be traveling, you probably will be denyed because you will most likey need a drivers liscence to get a site. Call ahead to a state campground and ask.
However checking out smaller county campgrounds might be to your advantage. I cant speak for all states but in Wisconsin most of the county parks dont have a ranger on duty for you to check in. It's a self check in thing. And some state parks here on the off season dont have rangers either. However if you do get a site, make sure you "behave." Obey quiet hours, and dont draw unncessary attention to yourself, b/c if you do you may get kicked out.
Take to heart Marks and my other advice. I was just like you when I was your age. I grew up 7 miles outside a town of 1000, in the backwoods of Wisconsin, and as soon as I got that liscence I wanted to go everywhere. And at 24 I still want to go everywhere I have not been, and some places I already have been. My first roadtrip on my own was when I was almost 19, camping in the Porcupine Mountains in the UP of Michigan -- about 5 hours from my parents house. It was a good time but it also was far enough for a first 'unsupervised' roadtrip.
Take it slow, your young. You have pleanty of time to "get lost in the USA."
One final thought, do you or your travel mates have relatives in towns a few hours away you can visit? That's one way to cut costs, avoid the underage issue, and get the parents onboard.
Sorry I havent replied in a while, I've been having some computer trouble!!!!!Thanks for the book ideas and such. We figured 2000 bucks a person with 3 people will cover everything. We HOPE to keep as much as we can safe in a bank account. (also need some info) The hardest part of planning this is sorting out the people who are passionate about the trip, with the people who just say they are. I think we have a good crew together, but I am sure with us being teenagers we will get sick of each other in a hurry. But I dont see that has being a HUGE problem (I hope!)Our parents have suggested not going all the way to California to start off with. I can see their points. They also suggested taking a "Trial Run" if u will, to say chicago, on Spring Break. I am seriously considering that because even I am skeptical about cutting loose on an excursion like this.There are sooo many questionable things and unplanned things that I think we need to learn how to react to before we head out for the West. Like i said I think we have planned out of good bit of the expenses, but I dont want to dive into this and regret on the side of the road in Flagstaff. Thanks for the support and I love the website. BTW, Mona Lisa Smile is one of the best movies I have sen in a while. I strongly suggest seeing it. Thanks again!!!!