Hitting the road!
My girlfriend and I are quitting our jobs and hitting the road.
We want to experience the freedom of the open road.
We're leaving from Massachusetts, going to California and back.
We have friends and family we can stay with some of the nights, but unfortunately we'll have to rent a car (our car can't handle the trip).
We will have no time restraints, but not too much money. Does anyone have any advice for us?
How can we get by inexpensively?
What are the best things to go see?
live out of the car.
buy groceries ate the store,cook(backpack stove is what i use).thats the only way i would travel. i like cheep.i dont mind the comfort thing.maybe once in 2 weeks a motel or campground.but mostly we just find a quiet back road,and get lost.carry lots of water(5gal jus at wallmart is a few bux)dry food goes along way,bagels wont get crushed.the food is boring,but cheep is good.lucky for me the wife aint picky either.instant coffee/tea.pretzels,instant oatmeal,so.... rent a big car,or a large utility van,a huge box,perfect for sleeping bags in the back. if you remove the worry of money,youll have a much better time(least we do).
good luck,have fun,
I've taken many solo trips (single, female) and occasionally with a girlfriend along on a strict budget. We sleep in the car most every night (horrors! as my mother would say). Never had any problems.
Advice not to stay at quiet highway rest stops; personal preference is busy truck stops, or a 24-hour restaurant like McDonalds or Denny's parking lot (handy for bathroom facilities!).
Bring the sleeping bags will really cut costs.
You can buy coolers that plug into your cigarette lighter to keep stuff cool. Pick up fresh fruit / groceries as you go for light eating.
Check www.hostels.com for the occasional break from camping & stay at a hostel. They have shared bunkbed type rooms sometimes mixed dorm-style, sometimes female/male separately for under $25.00 per person per night, with kitchen use and showers.
Buy a National Parks Pass. This is a must-do! Get into as many national parks as possible. You won't be sorry. You'll see amazing spectacular scenery at each one across America. You can buy the parks pass at the first park you come to at the entry gate (or purchase it online in advance). $50 gets you & your vehicle into every national park, and national monument, national historic site & expires after one year.
If you need itinerary / route help, let us know on the forum.
rent a car?
If you are going to rent a car for an unlimited time, it could easily use up most of your money. Rentals aren't cheap and they sometimes have a cap on mileage and will charge you extra for the miles above that cap so check on that. AVIS would charge you $830 for a 1 month rental for a Geo Metro or similar sub-compact. I know they have cheaper rates for longer-term leases but it still won't be cheap.
Why not sell your car and use that roughly $800/month you could easily spend on car rental toward upgrading your own car? Then you will have complete control of your time to travel and won't be tied to what you can afford to spend on rental/leasing fees. Even if you have to take on a small car payment, it would definitely be much less than $800/month.
As for getting by inexpensively, I concur with the advise you've already gotten. Camp, eat out of a cooler, shop at grocery stores, concentrate on hiking and other outdoor activities that are free or low-cost for entrance fees, and get a National Parks Pass if you plan on seeing more than 2 national parks along your route.
Through Colorado and Utah is some of the most spectacular country you'll ever see.
Hwy 50 through Nevada (The Loneliest Road) is a treat. The state of Nevada has a promotion where you can stop on one end of the road and get a "passport", which you get stamped in the little towns, and at the end you get some fun stuff, like a poster and a certificate of completion. Besides the neat little towns and the stark desert beauty, 50 has some worthwhile sites, like Stone Age rock carvings at Grimes Point and Hickinson Petroglyphs.
hitting the road
Trade your car for a used very small RV then follow all the suggestions already posted. Gas shouldn't be any more than a hotel room. Camping is cheap at National Parks, especially with your Parks Pass. Towns and cities in the midwest often have parks for you to camp in for a nominal fee. You will meet a lot of very friendly people along the way.
moving from mass to cali
i am moving from boston to san diego this coming summer. i want to go all out and drive my 87 jeep wrangler out there but im not sure if the ol jeep will be up for the challenge even after a major tune up... any advice?
Easiest way is to take the car to a trusted mechanic, tell him (or her) you are going on the road with the vehicle, and have him do a general inspection.
If the car seems to be sound for the most part (no major problems apparent), then the USUAL breakdown on the road is likely to be something stupid -- a hose, a belt, a water pump, etc. Stupid, but nonetheless often expensive when a mechanic in "Smallville far from Somewhere" has you by los cojones. That said, I've discovered many more good, honest mechanics on my various journeys over 35 years than I have bad ones). In all my journeys, I've never had a breakdown horror story happen to me -- a few comedies perhaps (like one day up by Shiprock...) but never have I been abused that I know of.
Take a look at the following:
1. Tires (also make sure your spare has adequate air in it!) 2. Brakes 3. Fluids 4. Fresh oil and filter 5. Belts 6. Hoses 7. Charging system and battery 8. Cooling system including a radiator check (under pressure). 9. Do the simple stuff -- check the lights, horn, etc. 10. Listen for strange noises (whirring, clicking, shrieking, rumbling, etc.) 11. Check underneath and in the engine compartment for leaks, and make sure the running gear is in sound order.
Finally, once you've done all of this, take off and go. If it breaks, it breaks, and it won't be the end of the world (usually). You can't possibly check every single thing that can go wrong!
Also, think about what you might need on the road -- and put these things in your vehicle -- water, air pump, fix-a-flat, flashlight with fresh batteries, rags, hand cleaner, duct tape, coat hangar, jack, lug wrench, spare belts etc. I used to drive an MG-B, and the one part I always needed was a spare set of points -- if I broke down, chances were good that was going to be the cause. So I had the points in one pocket, and a tool to install them on my keychain! If there's anything that breaks regularly on your Jeep, throw that in too, like a good boy scout!
Fellow posters, if I've missed anything important, feel free to add your thoughts! Bob
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